“I love you!”
Can you imagine what Eve felt the first time Adam looked at her and whispered, “I love you”? The setting sun shone off her hair. How about Adam? He was strutting around the garden one morning, when his wife saw him and said, “Good morning, honey. I love you!”
There is no record of God saying, “Eve, love Adam. Adam, you return her love.” In our best human condition, God knew loving came natural. In our worse human condition, not loving came just as naturally.
Love was the power, which came naturally. God knew the power. He knew we needed our ability to love and our potential to “not love” restrained.
“Is it really going to hurt you to pick that piece of fruit?”
It was a simple question; a difficult decision; a history changing moment. Eve said, “Yes” when she should have said, “No”. One word said she loved herself more than she loved God. It was the perfect arrangement. She chose to throw it all away for “self” and for her husband and herself.
Before you start pointing your fingers, men, do not forget Adam was with her when the smoothing talking, slithering salesman was making the sales pitch. Her husband was there and said nothing! He did not protect her. He wanted what he wanted more than he loved God and his wife.
The perfect union, the perfect marriage, the perfect couple changed the course of every man and woman for all of history for one reason – selfishness!
On our own, we love only as far, as deeply, as relentlessly, as our selfishness takes us. How much I love “me” is the impetus and the limits for loving others. My humanness means I will only go as far in meeting the needs of others as the boundaries of love for everyone, except me, and me.
There is no serpent. There is no garden. There is no dangling piece of fruit. The snake is my own free will. The garden is my world. The fruit is anything I want. We are selfish, self-centered, self-consumed human beings, who are still picking the fruit of “self”, not God or our “other”. We choose a luscious, sweet tasting piece of the fruit of “me”. It is so tempting and tasty, but … it is deadly poison to our relationships.
We have a choice. We can choose self-denial. It may not taste as good with the first bite (or no bite, at all), but we are saved by choosing “No!”