Even Our Kindness Is Broken

Genesis 3:6 She took from its fruit and ate, and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 

It is a natural human instinct to share what we like with our loved ones.  It is a fundamental step in bonding and in developing mutually supportive relationships.  Intentionally or not, we always impact those around us.  No decision we make is a strictly personal choice but bleeds out into the surrounding social tissue.  We have no choice in whether we affect others, only whether our affect will be for good or ill.  Unfortunately, even the best of intentions can go awry because everything inside of us comes out, the good as well as the bad, and we often lack the wisdom, maturity, and character to know the difference.

Eve did not wish to harm Adam, but to offer him a gift.  If she had not offered it to him, but only eaten the fruit in front of him, he would have been affected.  If she had eaten the fruit in secret without telling him, it would have affected their relationship as all secrets do.  If she had simply started to fantasize about the fruit without eating it, it would have had a subtle sway in her thoughts, her words, her actions.  What we harbor in our hearts comes out in our reactions, hesitations, side glances, valuations, in short, in all of who we are and what we do and say.  This is true whether we try to conceal it or share it.

Even when we seek to do good, we contaminate our own efforts with defective hearts.  As Isaiah put it, “All our righteousness is filthy rags.”  We offer help in a way that makes another feel inadequate or forgive someone without recognizing our own fault.  We offer solid advice with pride, mercy with suspicion, kindness with an expectation of gratitude in return.  Our only hope is that the grace of God will flood in, turning our defective attempts into real good, making use of us in spite of ourselves to bring light to the world around us.  We all desperately need God’s grace, and the only stipulation is that we open to it, allowing it to do its work, work that we are too broken to do ourselves.  May we be open doors to the breezes of God’s grace.

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