The Lord God said to the serpent
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
but he shall rule over you.”
And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
Cursed. Enmity. Pain. Rule Over. Thorns and Thistles. Unfortunately, this sounds like the reality we live in. The language God uses to describe what went wrong at the Fall is an onslaught of broken relationships. Now, dysfunction finds its way into everything in-between – the relationship of man and animal, humanity and the spiritual realm, woman and child, husband and wife, man and created world.
We live in a world of relationships affected by sin’s collateral damage. Our friendships, marriages, and families have been warped by trauma, immaturity, and vices. Consequently, our cities, communities, and churches remain hurt by denial, unresolved tensions, and sinful strongholds. To relieve ourselves from the tension in our relationships, it’s a normal tendency for us to separate ourselves, to isolate, or to draw away from the very people we are designed to do life with. Instead of moving toward one another, we tend to run away from God and hide ourselves from others.
But… if we continue to live our lives frustrated and alone. What good does that do us? Living in desolation from God and others will only result in more despair. We need relationships – as messy as they are- because this is our only hope of leaving a life of despair. What we need is reconciliation. And God made this possible. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:18, “God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” God did the reconciling for us and offers us a way of coming into his presence with grace and forgiving. This is radical and offers our dysfunction a way of coming back into the presence of others who have wronged us or with whom we have wronged with the same quality of grace and forgiveness.
Today, listen to “No Man is an Island” by Tenth Avenue North to remind yourself that you need others and that God’s radical reconciliation offers you the freedom and pleasure of doing life in the abundance of relational unity.
By Yvonne Biel