Monday, October 17, 2016

I'm Sorry: The Words Less Spoken

It's so simple to say, "I'm sorry," but so difficult to feel! What is it that makes that so hard to say and even harder to feel. Can it be that it can't be said because it's not felt?

Being "sorry" is feeling regret, or in effect "mourning" because of things a person had done.

Feeling is not one of the five senses because those are physical. Feeling is state which only humans can have, but because we are human. It's easier to have pleasurable feelings than those of sorrow. The difference lies in that word "pleasure". It corrupts our humanity and taints our spirituality.

Regret (aka mourning) is not pleasurable. In fact, sometimes it's unbearable! Sorrow is the emotion which leads to repentance. Before one can even feel sorrow, the person must be convicted that what has been done is wrong. That's the most difficult, and  is where the battle is waged!

Being sorry is not said because of pride and the desire for pleasure blots it out.  When the serpent said "You shall not surely die," to Eve, that's what Eve wanted to hear! She wanted pleasure from the tree and an excuse not to feel guilty for having the pleasure.

There seems to be confusion between conviction and guilt. Conviction is the decree from the Holy Spirit that a person is in violation of the will of God. Sometimes it's after the wrong and at other times before. Eve knew that she was about to sin, but did it anyway! It is no different for us!

George Constanza, in the sitcom Seinfeld, had sexual intercourse with the janitor woman on an episode. It was laughable, but so true. When his boss asked him if he did,  his first attempt was deception: "Who told you that?" When the boss said "She did," George moved on to the excuse mode, "Is that wrong? If someone had told me I certainly would have known not to do it!"

Silly as it seems, that's how our own minds work when we sin knowing full well that we're about to sin!

In a movie a farmer and a woman, as they entangled themselves in lust, said "God, forgive us for what we're about to do," and then they proceeded to copulate.

Again, most people do the same! When Eve said "And God said neither shall you touch it," she was making a defense. First off, God didn't tell Eve anything, and secondly she had no business standing under the forbidden tree.

I believe that the Holy Spirit convicted Eve before she disobeyed. She ate knowing full well that she was guilty!   The lure of pleasure superseded the thoughts of dying.  When we sin, there is the same trade-off. We think "This sin will be pleasurable enough that it's worth taking the chance that God will save me from eternal punishment." As such we play games with God's grace and take it for granted.

One sin can certainly kill us depending on the nature of that sin and at what time the sin occurs. Even one sin will make us die eternally providing it's when we, unlike George's claim, understand what sin can do and if not children of God.

Eve was not innocent even before she sinned. She deluded herself for the pleasure of it all. She flirted with sin from afar as she walked toward that tree when the serpent beckoned. That's walking into temptation.
2 Peter 2:9a "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations..."
Temptation is the path to sin. We are not to go there! If we intentionally enter the place of temptation, it's a sin. Eve knew that standing under the other tree was entering into temptation, but she walked there regardless. Like George's excuse "If someone had only told me," but thousands of excuses are not one valid reason! Adam had told her, but for her own pleasure, Eve distorted the command. That makes commands easier to violate.

"Oh, it was unclear. I thought you didn't want me to touch it," neglecting that God said that it was not to be eaten! "If I had only known what you meant, God!"

Confusing the issue is a barrier to sorrow. As long as their is a defense, sorrow is not forthcoming. Truly the first step toward sorrow is admitting guilt.

Conviction is when the Holy Spirit successfully tears down Satan's excuses.
Genesis 3:11 "And he (God)  said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"
Note that Adam and Eve had already been convicted and were ashamed when God asked this. Note that it was not the serpent who made them feel guilt. Unsaid, is that the Holy Spirit convinced them that they disappointed God. Conviction is the cause which emotes the effect and affect of guilt.

Ask, "Why did Adam and Eve cover their nakedness with fig leaves?"

Answer: Because they were ashamed!

Why were they ashamed?

Answer: Because they knew they had sinned.

How did they know they sinned?

Answer: The Holy Spirit led them to that admission. That's when they were convicted.

Do you see the process? Conviction is the step that allowed them to feel guilt. Inside they mourned because they disappointed God.

Did Adam or Eve ever say "I'm sorry"? Never. They blamed, one the serpent and the other his mate!

Did they feel sorry? Yes, they did because they were ashamed as indicated by their guilt.

The fig leaves were symbolic of saying "I'm sorry God for disobeying you," and their hiding in the garden was an indication of their guilt. The serpent never gave them that guilt. God made them feel guilty. Guilt is from God so as to allow the sinner to be shamed into seeking forgiveness.

Even as they made excuses they knew they were without excuse. Just as George just relented and took his punishment for the office sex, Adam and Eve got their punishment. They never cursed God because they knew they deserved the consequences of sin.

The process so far had been: 1) temptation, 2) allowing oneself to enter into temptation, 3) sinning, 4) pleasure, 5) conviction, 6) guilt and then 7) sorrow.  Afterward  comes 8) confession, 9) repentance and then 10) forgiveness!

Adam and Eve repented when they did something about their guilt. They hid and covered their nakedness. Their fig leaves were their repentance. They tried to cover their own sins, but didn't do it so well!

Physically, the foliage was still able to reveal their genitals even with care. It was impossible to ever ensure that their flesh was always covered. Without going into detail, just think on that impossibility. But with the skin of an innocent animal which lost it's life, God covered their guiltiness! The skin was uniform and was able to totally hide their nakedness. God saved them from their shame by his grace. They tried to do that themselves, but failed with the veil with which their shame was only disguised. God was able to cover their shame entirely!

Right then as they hid themselves in the garden they knew that there was no way that they could save themselves from the penalty of death, and accepted the sacrifice of an innocent death as they admitted, "Only God  can save me!" That moment of enlightenment was when Adam and Eve were ever truly born! Unlike them we can be "born again" with the same enlightenment!

Redemption was when Adam and Eve accepted God's grace. His grace was when he provided the animal for the sacrifice, just as he did for Abraham and he did with Jesus. In fact it was Jesus who provided the sacrifice in all cases because he was there! He was the one speaking to Adam and Eve for he is the Word!

Did Adam and Eve ever feel sorry? They truly did. That was revealed when they hid themselves from God. Did they ever say that they are sorry? Yes, but not in words. It was their way of saying "I'm sorry, God" was when they covered themselves. That wasn't enough to save them, but it was enough of an apology for God to save them!

Unlike George Constanza who was kicked out of the office and was forgotten, Adam and Eve suffered the consequences, but were never forgotten! Grace continued until their death and grace continues for their seed. Grace is free, and it's always there! However, to get it you must say those hard words, "I'm sorry, God!"

That's only the last step though. Before God accepts our apology we are to apologize to others. Adam and Eve should have apologized to each other for they brought each other to shame. I believe that concealing their flesh from each other was their apology. That's the only recourse they had to make things right with each other.

Our first step in showing love for God is showing love for others. As such reconciliation is necessary as a result of guilt. We must say "I'm sorry," to those we offend. Before we are reconciled with God we are told to reconcile with each other or our offering will be rejected. Adam and Eve must have done that because that's the rule! (Matthew 18:15-17).

Love is having to say that you're sorry, both to others and to God! Who keeps you from that? Satan. By failing to say "I'm sorry," it is Satan to whom you obey. Saying "I'm sorry" are the words less spoken. Speak them more and mean it. Saying it is a reflection from feeling the guilt which you must feel.

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