The story started out so well. The lovely garden, Adam and Eve immediately given the job title of CEO of the earth – no working their way up through the ranks like a lot of my friends have had to do! Three chapters in and we move from a “very good” God and evening strolls through the garden with the crowning glory of his creation to Adam and Eve hiding behind fig leaves filled with shame.
God’s response? Consequences. Every character in the tragic play that we have come to call “The Fall” received a consequence. Banishment from the garden forced Adam and Eve out – a tragic demotion. But here’s the thing – God went with them. It reminds me of this verse:
We all have to die—we’re like water spilled out on the ground that can’t be gathered up again. But God doesn’t take life away; instead, he makes plans so those banished from him don’t stay that way.
~ 2 Samuel 14:14 CEB
God confirms the value of delivering consequences AND he never delivers them for the purpose of breaking relationship. Instead, it is so that relationships might be repaired, restored, people might be healed, conflicts resolved.
Here are a few things that I think are reasonable principles to consider:
· God is good at healthy detachment; he is not advocating for withdrawal from relationships, harsh punishment delivered capriciously, or shaming.
· Consequences have the potential to assist us in developing our character.
· God remains present even as he allows for consequences to play out.
It makes good sense for us to consider how God loves us and relates to us so that we might consider how this might impact our own relationships choices.