A series of quotes or quips inspired by the writing of John & Stasi Eldredge (RansomedHeart).
Spend a Weekend With Your Relatives
Something has gone wrong with the human race, and we know it. Better said, something has gone wrong within the human race. It doesn’t take a theologian or a psychologist to tell you that. Read a newspaper. Spend a weekend with your relatives. Simply pay attention to the movements of your own heart in a single day. Most misery is the fruit of the human heart gone bad. Scripture could not be more clear on this. Yes, God created us to reflect his glory, but barely three chapters into the drama we torpedoed the whole project. By the sixth chapter of Genesis, our downward spiral had reached the point where God himself couldn’t bear it any longer: “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (Gen. 6:5-6). This is the first mention of God’s heart in the Bible, by the way, and it’s a sad beginning, to be sure. His heart is broken because ours is fallen.
Any honest person knows this. We know we are not what we were meant to be. Most of the world religions concur on this point. Something needs to be done.
But the usual remedies involve some sort of shaping up on our part, some sort of face-lift whereby we clean up our act and start behaving as we should. Jews try to keep the Law. Buddhists follow the Eightfold Path. Muslims live by the Five Pillars. Christians try church attendance and moral living. It never works. It never will. For heaven’s sake—we’ve given it several thousand years. You’d think we’d have gotten somewhere. Of course, the reason all those treatments ultimately fail is that we quite misdiagnosed the disease. The problem is not in our behavior; the problem is in us. As Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matt. 15:19). We don’t need an upgrade. We need transformation. We need a miracle.
“So, you’re telling me there’s a chance…?”
John Eldredge writes…
God gives Adam some instructions on the care of creation and his role in the unfolding story. It’s pretty basic, and very generous (see Gen. 2:16-17). But notice what God doesn’t tell Adam. There is no warning or instruction over what is about to occur: the Temptation of Eve. This is just staggering. Notably missing from the dialogue between Adam and God is something like this: “Adam, one more thing. A week from Tuesday, about four in the afternoon, you and Eve are going to be down in the orchard and something dangerous is going to happen. Adam, are you listening? The eternal destiny of the human race hangs on this moment. Now, here’s what I want you to do . . .” He doesn’t tell him. He doesn’t even mention it, so far as we know. Good grief—why not?! Because God believes in Adam. This is what he’s designed to do—to come through in a pinch. Adam doesn’t need play-by-play instructions because this is what Adam is for. It’s already there, everything he needs, in his design, in his heart. Needless to say, the story doesn’t go well. Adam fails; he fails Eve and the rest of humanity. Let me ask you a question: Where is Adam, while the serpent is tempting Eve? He’s standing right there: “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too” (Gen. 3:6 NLT). The Hebrew for “with her” means right there, elbow to elbow. Adam isn’t away in another part of the forest; he has no alibi. He is standing right there, watching the whole thing unravel. What does he do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He says not a word, doesn’t lift a finger.* He won’t risk, he won’t fight, and he won’t rescue Eve. Our first father—the first real man—gave in to paralysis. He denied his very nature and went passive. And every man after him, every son of Adam, carries in his heart now the same failure. Every man repeats the sin of Adam, every day. We won’t risk, we won’t fight, and we won’t rescue Eve. We truly are a chip off the old block.
* I’m indebted to Crabb, Hudson, and Andrews for pointing this out in The Silence of Adam.
“How do you pick up the threads of an old life?
How do you go on? when in your heart you begin to understand, there is no going back.
There are some things that time cannot heal, cannot mend;
Some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold.”
~ Frodo, at the end of Return of the King.