When I was a teen and young adult, I remember my mom telling me what to do – my clothes, my hair, my boy friends, my house, my children. It was so annoying. Why couldn’t she just trust me to make the right decisions? Now I have adult daughters and I understand. Loving mothers always have a better plan for their children’s lives. Or at least that’s what they are thinking.
It is the same with our men. Now that my husband is retired, I have plans for him. He won’t cooperate, as usual.
How can I get him to change? How can I get her to see this is wrong? This is the question I ask myself but it is the wrong question.
Then I read Genesis and I noticed the first sin was about a snake trying to get Eve to do what he wanted.
Genesis is a book of voices. The first voice was God as He spoke the universe into existence and commanded Adam to eat the fruit of every tree but one. The next voice was Adam as he sung a song of delight over his new bride.
“Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
Satan was lying when he told Eve “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) After the eating the fruit, Adam and Eve thought they knew good from evil. They noticed they were naked and covered themselves from each other and hid themselves from God.
God never told them to be naked was evil. Maybe eventually God would have told Adam and Eve to clothe themselves. But while they were alone and with God, they could be naked and unashamed, and it was still good. God not only knows WHAT is good and evil, He know WHEN something is good and WHEN something is evil. The notion that sex is evil, it is not true. God’s first instruction to them to them was “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) Sex inside their relationship was good. He commanded them to engage in it often to fill the earth. It was our misguided minds that determined sex is always evil or always good.
The result of the fall was we decided we knew what was good and evil. The truth is we don’t know good from evil and history demonstrates this. Any study of history will reveal humans left on their own are bent towards evil. Moreover, they justify it as good.
We cannot understand these things apart from God’s daily direct instruction. Eating from the tree gained nothing but the revelation that we are foolish creatures not to be trusted to be left alone with temptation for a moment. Like two year olds, we must be constantly watched and guided. Maybe that is why Revelation reveals Heaven as being lit by the constant light of God Himself, where there is no darkness, no night. (Revelation 21:22-25) Perhaps that is the only way we can know and follow truth.
Even as mothers, as women who love their family and friends, we must remember we cannot know good from evil for others. We must remember God works even evil to great and glorious good! We see in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:3-6) women whose lives are stained with sin yet their sons are in the lineage of Christ. We find Tamar, a widow who tricked her father-in-law into having sex with her (Genesis 38). We find Rahab the prostitute. And Bathsheba the wife of Uriah who had a child by King David.
How do I know what is right for the people I love? How can I tell if my way is leading them to a better life? I cannot. Instead I must pray – fill their heart with the Holy Spirit, change their heart of stone to a heart of flesh; convict them of sin and of God’s truth.
Helping people is not about my getting them to change their minds or behavior. It is pointing them to God. Only God knows what is right.
The first sin was about a cunning snake trying to get someone else to do what he wanted. Don’t be a snake.
Even as I lie awake on my bed, Father, I listen to my worried thoughts, and they are about others I feel should change. Father forgive me! I have been a snake! Help me to catch every wayward desire for others and cast it at the foot of Your cross, knowing You alone know good. I can trust You with everyone and everything I love. You know best and bring even wrong to good with Your mercy, power and grace, in Your perfect time.