When Grace Gives Us an Unexpected Name
When my husband and I got married eight years ago, we were dirt poor. We made only a few hundred dollars a month, substantially less than the money owed on my bills. We had the cheapest wedding, but then it got time to write our thank-you notes and we were stuck. I wrote out every single note with intention of mailing them, the only problem was, stamps aren’t cheap. And when you only make $250 a month, $50 on a roll of stamps is monumental.
With much guilt, we decided to be wise with our finances and not send thank you notes. We took care of those we could (local people) and just prayed that everyone else would understand.
Then I got a nasty letter that broke my heart and heaped more guilt on my already heavy heart. My grandma had sent a letter containing words that seeped with anger, my eyes burned with tears. My new husband noticed something was wrong and I couldn’t even use my words. With shaking hands, I handed him the letter.
It’s bad enough to already feel so bad about this whole situation, but what’s even worse is that my grandma (eight years later) can’t let it go. I had sent her a thank you-note with the little money we didn’t have to appease her anger. Yet, eight years later she continues to badmouth me behind my back because she perceives me as ungrateful and selfish. Eight years later, despite my best efforts, she hangs this over my head.
Isn’t sin similar? No matter what we try to do to gain forgiveness, our enemy and even our loved ones still hang it over our heads. All these years later, if Eve were still around, I’m sure we’d hang her sin over her head, too. Don’t you think?
Eve's is a widely known woman. She's the second human to ever be created and the very first woman. She's also known for her sin, the eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (hello prepositional phrases!). The same tree that God had told both Adam and Eve to avoid (Genesis 2:16-17). There's a lot of her story that receives less emphasis.
We can actually split Eve’s story into three parts.
Part one: The Perfect Part
We get hung up on her sin. We diminish the life she had prior to her sin. We forget that she WALKED with God in the cool of the garden. We forget that she had a perfect relationship with God AND her husband. (Can we say #relationshipgoals ?!) Everything good and perfect that she ever was, her life before her sin, is forgotten.
But before we move on, let's just take a minute and soak up the perfect part. Let's take some time and imagine the perfect life, free from pain, free from grief, free from sin. Let's consider that you could lay out her every thought and her every emotion on the table and not find a single thing that she should feel ashamed for. This is what life was like before sin entered the picture.
Part Two: The Sin Part
We get so focused on her part in the sin and fail to see a woman who was unprotected by her protector. We get hung up on the fact that she talked to the serpent and was enticed by his deceitful words. We don’t stop and question Adam’s part. We don’t stop and wonder what in the world he was doing as he stood next to her, also being enticed by the serpent’s words. He didn’t do his part, he didn’t protect her, and he never once questioned the serpent.
How different could their story have been had Adam spoken up against the serpent's deceit? We worry too much about our loved one's feelings and prioritize not offending them over protecting them from the grief and heartache that come with sin. What were the consequences of Adam NOT speaking up here? Have we considered the consequences of their sin? The consequences of their sin were that it was the beginning of ALL sin, suffering, and pain, along with spiritual death and physical death for the ENTIRE human race. Our sins don't just affect us, they have the potential to hurt the people around us. Our choice to not speak up can have serious consequences!!
Part Three: The Forgiveness Part
What about after her sin? What about forgiveness? Her story doesn’t end with her sin. Her story of sin ends with forgiveness. Have you ever noticed that Eve isn't actually named until AFTER she sins and AFTER the consequences for her sin is handed to her? I think this actually makes her name even more beautiful. Adam names his wife Eve, which means life-giver. He acknowledges that she would be the mother of all the humans, all the living. Why is this beautiful?
Think about it. He could have blamed her for giving into the serpent's deceitful words. In fact, he kind of does in one part of this story (Genesis 3:12). What I'm pointing out is that when he named her, he showed no malice. When he named her, he left behind her sin and the consequences of her sin, he didn't hold it against her. He could have named her something that meant "fruit eater" or "deceiver" or "gullible" instead, her name meant life-giver (Genesis 3:20). "Sinner" or "screw up" or "mistake maker" could be the name that God gave you and me, instead (when we accept His forgiveness), He calls us "child." He calls us "family." He calls us "loved." Adam called her life-giver. To me, this is a beautiful act of love that says, "I forgive you. I don't hold your past mistakes against you."
A huge lesson in the wake of forgiveness is realizing that God still cared about her (Genesis 3:21). In fact, God still cares about all of us, even when we sin. He sent his son to die on a cross for our sin, long before we sought His forgiveness. After Adam and Eve's sin, God made clothes for them. I think this is really thoughtful when viewed in light of Adam and Eve's nakedness. They had sinned and the first thing they notice is how naked they were. It's comforting to me that God saw their nakedness and cared for their need. He cared for them and he showed it tangibly.
When you have wronged someone, do you wonder about whether or not the other person is about to walk out the door, never to look back? Do you wonder if the person still cares for you? Notice that God didn't abandon them. He doesn’t hold their sin over their head, withholding genuine forgiveness. He dealt with their imperfection. He spoke in a language that they couldn't misinterpret or misunderstand. He loved them. He cared for their needs. He forgave them completely.
His grace is big enough to cover all of our sins.
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