Our Fallen Community
by Christina Fox
"They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers…"
Whenever our family talks about taking a trip to Disney World, my husband reminds us, “A trip to Disney isn’t complete until everyone is in tears—even the grown-ups.” We laugh because it’s true. A place that’s supposed to be the happiest place on earth ends up bringing us all to tears. That’s because we live in a fallen world and are surrounded by fallen people, including ourselves.
It’s hard to imagine what life was like before the Fall of mankind. With all the heartache and conflict we experience in this world, it’s hard to understand the harmony Adam and Eve had in the garden with God and with each other. They enjoyed sweet community together with their Maker, the intimate loving relationship that the members of the Godhead always knew. They experienced perfect love and joy with each other, speaking only words of kindness and goodness to one another. Adam desired only the best for Eve and she desired the same for Adam. Their relationship with God was perfect and complete. They loved God with all their heart. They found their joy and wholeness in being his children.
This stands in stark contrast to what our relationships are like. In my own home, we can’t make it through the day without at least one argument or disagreement. It seems as though there is always someone with hurt feelings. We fail to serve one another and more often than not, seek our own best above everyone else. To think that relationships were not always this way, that we were created to live in harmony with one another, is difficult to fathom.
The perfect love our first parents had for each other and for God ended the day they disobeyed God and ate from the tree which God had forbidden them to eat. In a moment, community was broken. They knew they were guilty and covered themselves in an attempt to hide what they had done. Their fellowship with one another was broken as they blamed each other for what happened. Instead of being selfless toward each other, selfishness reigned in their hearts. Their fellowship with God was also broken as He sent them away from the Garden to toil and suffer the remainder of their days. And as a result, they lost their intimate loving relationship with God and with each other.
This is why we struggle in our relationships with one another. This is why our efforts at communication fail. This is why we hurt and wound one another. This is why we belittle one another, gossip, cheat, lie, and harbor bitterness against each other. Because of the Fall, sin has spread and permeated everything—especially our own hearts. As a result, we seek our own good rather than the good of others. No wonder family vacations turn out to be so stressful!
Yet that day when our first parents sinned, God didn’t send them out of the Garden without any hope. In Genesis 3:15 He promised, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” In this promise, God provided a glimpse of Jesus, the redeemer who would crush Satan and restore what Adam and Eve had broken. It’s a promise that pointes to the meta-promise of Scripture that God would be our God and we would be His people (Genesis 17:7). Jesus would come and recreate what was lost in the Fall. He would remake a community of people who love God and love one another.
The Fall explains why relationships are so hard and why we hurt and wound one another, but there’s hope and it’s found in Christ.
Christina Fox writes for a number of Christian ministries and publications including Revive Our Hearts, TGC, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and Ligonier Ministries. Her books include A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope Through the Psalms of Lament and Closer than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to Flourish.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview "Alcoholism" so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
The very word conjures up sadness, broken families, humiliation, isolation, secretiveness, despair, hopelessness. The Betters talk to Steve and Tracy Wallace, who don’t candy coat their painful pathway through Steve’s alcoholism and back to wholeness.