Show of hands. Who has ever ruined a relationship? Personally, I’m raising both of my hands. I tend to ruin relationships through assumptions. (And you know what they say about assuming things…) I’ll assume that my roommate remembered it was her turn to clean the bathroom and chose not to do it. I’ll assume that my co-leader purposely didn’t communicate something to me to make me look foolish. And so on and so forth.
In Genesis 3, we witness the first ruined relationships. Adam and Eve have just eaten the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – the one tree God commanded them not to eat from. There was a lot of assuming going on there. Eve assumed that God hadn’t really meant what he said. Adam assumed that Eve would use good judgment and ate the fruit she gave him.
Everything changed once there was no longer trust between Adam and Eve, and between the two of them and God. “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (verse 8). Hiding is always a sign of a ruined relationship. If you can’t even bring yourself to face a person, something is very wrong.
“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate’” (verses 9-13).
Notice the responses of Adam and Eve to God’s questions. At no point do they take responsibility. They are not penitent for their actions. They know they did wrong, but they are not going to admit that it was their fault.
Isn’t that how we are so often? It was her. It was him. It wasn’t our fault, God. They deceived me. They did it. Look at them. All in all, it’s astonishing that God still wants to use us. We are naturally horrible at relationships, but God the Holy Spirit still chooses to work through us. The Spirit still encourages us to go and tell, and he gives us the words to say. The story in Genesis 3 ends with a reminder that there is hope: the first messianic prophecy. We, too, have hope in our relationships because of our Messiah. Although we will mess up – we can assume that – we are not alone, and the Spirit will use our relationships to further the Kingdom.