Personal Responsibility

Our society today seems to have lost the concept of personal responsibility. Nothing is ever our fault. If so and so hadn’t said or done, we wouldn’t have. . .  This is not a new problem. Way back in the garden of Eden, God had told Adam and Eve not  to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  But the serpent, Lucifer, who had been kicked out of heaven for rebelling against God, decided to challenge God’s authority.

He saw Eve eyeing the tree and he taunted her. I can picture him saying something like, “Look at this fruit, Eve. Isn’t it lovely? Why don’t you take a bite?”

She answered, “The Lord God said not to touch it or eat it, lest we die.”

“Oh,” said the sly serpent. “You will not surely die. God is holding out on you. He knows that this fruit will make you wise. You will know everything God knows. You will be like Him.”

First of all, Eve added to what God had said. When we repeat what someone says we need to be careful to say it correctly, or tell the listener that we believe this is what was said. Otherwise we are guilty of lying, even if we didn’t mean to.

The Bible tells us that Eve caved and ate the forbidden fruit, and gave some to her husband, Adam. I believe Adam ate the fruit because he believed God when He said eating the fruit would bring forth death. If Eve was going to die then he was going to die with her. He loved his wife.

Secondly, their eyes were opened and they were suddenly aware of their nakedness, their bodies. It was the first time they felt embarassament and shame. They hid themselves. They knew God would come looking for them so they made coverings for themselves made of fig leaves. But sin requires the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. So God came in the cool of the day and called Adam and Eve. After a time they answered and told God they were hiding.

“Why are you hiding?” God asked. He knew the answer but it was important for them to confess their sin.

“Because we were naked and we hid ourselves.”

“Who told you you were naked? Did you eat of the tree of which I told you not to eat?” They answered that they had.

God killed an animal to make coverings for the couple. Scripture does not say what kind of animal but Jesus was the sacrificial lamb for our sins. Common belief among Bible scholars is that it was a lamb. It was the first time Adam and Eve had seen death.

Next, they were driven from the garden which was then barred by angels with flaming swords. Then God destroyed the tree of life which would have allowed man to live forever. Now their bodies would age, but worse than that, they would know sin and their spirits would slowly die in carnality.

How did they handle their situation? They blamed each other. Eve said, “It was the serpent…he beguiled me.” In other words, “I couldn’t help it. What he said made so much sense, and Lord, I thought you were being unfair.”

Adam blamed Eve. “It was that woman you gave me.” Suddenly he was not speaking of her in terms of endearment; he was speaking in irritation. She was ‘that woman.’ He was also blaming God: ‘the woman YOU gave me.’

Did playing the blame game solve their problem, ease their situation? No. It disrupted their relationship with each other and with God.

Taking personal responsibility for our actions takes maturity and courage. It isn’t always easy, but it is the right thing to do and breeds trust. No one trusts a liar.