What a refreshing change to see a well known leader in the Christian community being transparent. Just when I thought Edward Fudge couldn’t top what he has already said about temptation I received this in my “in box” a few days ago. This illustration points out that I am not alone in loving the praise of men. God has some work to do on me!
Temptation first walks into the Bible story over a verbal bridge that links Genesis chapters two and three. As we noted earlier, the passage pivots on a pun. Mr. and Mrs. Dirt-Creature (“Adam” in Hebrew) are naked (literally, “slick”) but they are not embarrassed. And the serpent is more crafty (literally,”slick”) than any other field-beast. Although fully bare, before they have sinned the Adamses feel no shame.
Embarrassment is a subjective form of self-consciousness, not a true measure of reality. Guilt, on the other hand, is an objective characteristic, whether one “feels” it or not. The crafty serpent will play head-games with the Dirt-Creatures, fool with their feelings, confuse their perception of reality–and, in the end–watch them distrust and disobey the Creator who IS life and who gives life to them.
The crafty devil is still at it today, and I speak from personal experience. I had been invited to read a paper at a particular scholarly meeting that I considered a great honor. Driving the night before to the city where the conference was being held, I was praying when my thanksgiving began to morph into self-congratulation. I heard my voice saying words I did not know I meant. I thanked God for this honor, which not only was well-deserved but long overdue. I thanked him that I finally was getting some of the attention that He, as the just judge of the universe, fully understood should come my way.
Suddenly I was flooded with feelings of guilt and appropriate embarrassment for my hubris. My sinful pride was obvious and outrageous. Scripture is full of warnings and admonitions regarding this sin that God hates. My self-centered thanksgiving quickly turned to a prayer of confession and request for forgiveness. I poured out my heart in sincere repentance. Then I heard a little voice in the back of my head. Again it came–only asking a question, a question one sentence long. But the content of that question could have but one source–the crafty serpent we met in Genesis 3. This was the question: “Wasn’t that the best prayer of repentance you have ever heard?”
Edward Fudge – gracEmail