Ever wanted to forget the past? Is there something you did, when you weren’t quite as wise as you are now, that keeps coming back to haunt you? Take courage! You’re not alone.The mother of creation, Eve, takes the lead when it comes to regret!
Imagine, for a moment, how amazing life was for Eve. It all started the day she was taken from Adam’s rib and awoke by his side. Having just come out of God’s imagination, Eve had it all. No doubt she was a perfect portrait of beauty made to please Adam’s eye.
No. I don’t think Eve ever wondered if she was too fat or too skinny, too tall or too short, too bubbly or too boring. And she certainly never had to question the authenticity of Adam’s love for her, for she had no competition. Lucky for Eve, she got to skip all the dating drama and slip right into honeymoon mode.
By day she roamed the garden petting lions and picking mangoes; enjoying the ultimate beauty of uncorrupted nature. By night she curled herself around Adam, running her fingers through his thick, dark hair; embracing him as her life’s true love. Adam, the world’s first man, perfection on display; the prototype of the human race… all for Eve.
Not only did Eve have flesh and blood to keep her company but she walked and talked with her Maker and had no need for faith! Eve saw, with her own eyes, the God that you and I can only draw near to in spirit and read about in the pages of the Bible!
For Eve, life was perfect.
Sadly, Eve was just a little too perfect for her own taste. She, like most of us, needed a little drama in her life. And so, her ambitious curiosity led her to explore territory better left undiscovered. With one little taste of a forbidden fruit, she betrayed the perfection of Eden, the glory of God and the trust of her husband. In one bite, she literally ruined her life…and Adam’s… and yours… and mine. Eve’s bad choice corrupted a beautiful world that still awaits its redemption.
For most of us, our thoughts on Eve stop at the tree.
But I want us to think about Eve’s life post garden.
Is there even a word in the English language that can remotely describe the agony of the consequences Eve must have felt every single day after she sinned? “Regret” seems weak and insubstantial.
After hearing the Lord’s punishment for her choices, how in the world did she manage to pick up the pieces and move on?
Imagine God saying this to you:
“Jennifer, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.”
And to your husband:
“Wouter, because you have heeded the voice of your wife…Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground. For out of it you were taken; For dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:16-19
Woe is me.
Undoubtedly, every single day thereafter, Eve’s past was like a monstrous mirror chasing her down, riding her tail, reflecting that awful decision. Her mirror no longer reflected her beauty. Instead it reflected struggle, sorrow, grief and loss resulting from her senselessness on the day she disobeyed the Lord and betrayed her husband.
This moves me to compassion for Eve.
Because I can relate way more than I care to admit.
The moment God sealed off the garden, forbid them to reenter and sent them off to till the ground, hunt for food and find shelter, paradise was literally lost for Eve. Immediately, the wheel of consequence began turning.
I wonder what Adam and Eve’s “pillow talk” was like on that first night outside the garden? Well, divorce certainly wasn’t an option and there was absolutely no reason to wonder if their marriage was a mistake.
The only way around their problems was through them.
It seems they made amends fairly quickly, or at least agreed to live in peace. After all, they had an earth to populate. Besides, in the next verse, we see Eve giving birth to her first son, Cain, and quickly after that, her second son, Abel.
I can only speculate that giving birth to her boys was like swallowing another bitter pill of regret!
“Lord! You mean, this would have been painless had I never taken a bite from that fruit? Oh, Lord! I’m so sorry.”
Then, far worse than childbirth, was the awakening of enmity and jealousy which kindled the first sibling rivalry and murder the world had ever seen. As Eve’s eldest son killed her youngest, the sting of self-loathing hit her once again. Not only was her “baby” gone forever but God sent her only other son away to wander the earth as punishment for what he had done!
“Oh, Lord! The pain of my sin is too much for me to bear! If only I had obeyed you, Lord. I’m so sorry.”
As I look at Eve’s life, I realize that sin was her’s to discover and hardship was her lot. Eden was the backdrop on her life’s stage and every time something tragic happened, or some new manifestation of the fallen world surfaced, Eve had only to look back and be reminded of what should’ve been.
Her world became a house of mirrors.
I know what its like to deal with regret and shame over past sin. And although, by God’s grace, my sins aren’t going to alter the course of human history, they will and have already, however, effected those around me; particularly my husband and children. Because of the tremendous influence I have on their delicate lives, I must think twice before I indulge in any kind of forbidden fruit lest my actions taint their worlds.
I must decide every day to avoid the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To not even look upon its fruit with curiosity or desire. Temptation must never capture me.
Anger, bitterness, pride, impatience, disobedience to the Lord, fear, jealousy, complacency, laziness…
No. I don’t want a legacy of shame and regret.
I don’t want to be like Eve.
May my house of mirrors reflect only the beauty and grace of God who forgives much and loves abundantly.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you may not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father-Jesus Christ the Righteous. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins- and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 John 2: 2-3