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JR. Forasteros - Feb 24, 2013
What's in a Name?
From Series: "Venom"
Everyone knows the world isn't as it should be. There's a sickness deep within us, a rot in the human heart. The Bible calls that rot Sin, and even though no one likes to talk about Sin, we can't escape its reality. A snake once whispered to us that we could be like God. We believed that lie, and the venom of Sin has been killing us ever since. But God will not abandon us. Why do we talk about sin? Because then we get to talk about how God rescues us from Sin. After we tried to become like God, God became like us, to become our Sin, to save us. Join us the six Sundays of Lent (February 17-March 24) as we explore what Sin is and how God saves us!
More From "Venom"
In high school, I wasn’t very popular, and I wasn’t particularly good with the ladies. I was the nerdy kid who let popular girls copy my homework. Now, to say I wasn’t very popular didn’t mean I had no friends. In fact, I had a really good group of friends in high school. Friends who liked me a whole lot more than I liked myself. And we had this spot right in front of our lockers where we’d all hang out before school.
One morning we were all sitting there, laughing and joking like we always did, when one of the popular girls came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I’d known her since elementary, and we were in biology together, but we didn’t run in the same circles. She said, “Hey JR., do you have that biology homework?”
Like a chump, I dug into my bag and snatched out the homework, gave it to her. She flashed her cheerleader smile at me and said, “Thanks buddy!”, then walked off.
My circle of friends had fallen silent as they watched the exchange. And I didn’t make eye-contact as I turned back to my actual buddies. I felt ashamed, ashamed that I’d allowed myself to be used, to be reduced to “Homework Kid”.
Isn’t that an experience most of us have had – where someone reduces us to a function, a role?
They don’t particularly care about our whole Self; they’re only interested in what they can get out of us, what we can do for them? [let's maybe introduce the 'reducing' image this early?]
But at least for me, what’s worse is that I do the exact same thing to other people. I walk through life mainly concerned with my business, what I want to accomplish, my goals. And I have a tendency to treat other people as means to my ends. Whether that’s the person changing my oil or getting me coffee or driving slowly in front of me, it’s easy for me to treat other people like their most important job is making my day go more smoothly.
And it’s not just people I don’t know. When I’m not very careful, that’s how I default to thinking about my coworkers, my family, too. What matters most are my goals, my agenda. Everyone else should be in the business of working my plan. [maybe somehow "Me" in the middle of something?]
So when I remember that experience from High School, when I was just Homework Kid, and then I think about how I reduce even people in my life I love to some role, I feel that same shame.
Because I know I’m more than just Homework Kid. And I know the people I’m fortunate to have in my life are more than just Coffee Maker or Cleaner or Food Cooker or Dish Washer or whatever.
I know I’m better than that. We all are. So why do we do it?
Genesis 3 tells us this is a direct consequence of Sin. Sin destroys our relationships with other people as well. At the end of Genesis 3, God tells the man and woman what their punishments will be. And then, once that’s all done, the man does something very interesting. Something we usually miss. Take a look, beginning in v16:
God said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you. ” And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”
Then the man– Adam– named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live.” – Genesis 3:16-20 (NLT)
Ask someone who the first two people were, they’ll probably tell you Adam and Eve. But look at verse 20: Adam doesn’t name his wife Eve until after the Fall. Until after they’ve sinned, gotten caught and been punished.