One of my two-year-old daughter’s favorite things to do is to play in the backyard. She loves being outside, especially when our 13 year-old lab, Tex, is out there. A few weeks ago, she asked me to play with her outside. It was a nice Spring day, perfect for playing outside. I had just finished picking up after the dog, but as they so often do, he ran outside and left a nice new mess.
It was just one pile and we have a good size backyard, so before going outside with my daughter I made sure she saw where the dog pile was and gave her one instruction, “Don’t step in the poop.” As soon as I opened the door, she ran to the back of the yard, where the pile was, and began trying to straddle and jump over the poop, laughing the whole time. On her second attempt to jump over, squish.
Laughing quickly turned to crying. Playtime was over. What should have been a nice afternoon outside was quickly cut short and not only was there a mess to clean off the shoes there were also consequences for disobeying.
In that moment I was reminded of Genesis 1-3. In the first few chapters of Genesis, we read about God’s creation of the earth. After each day of creation we read that “it was good.” Then, on day six, God creates mankind in His own image and likeness, the pinnacle of all His creation and as He views all He has created it is said to be “very good.”
Everything was perfect. Adam and Eve walked with God through a perfect garden He created just for them. Even worth a thousand words, no picture could possibly capture the brilliant colors of this perfect creation teaming with life, joy, and hope. There was no sickness, no pain, no hard labor for food. No mosquitos or ants biting. No allergies to make the eyes itch and water and the nose run. God walked with Adam and Eve through the garden. They desired to be with them and He desired to be with them. But then something changed.
In Genesis 2 God gives man one command, “you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” One simple command, yet, in Genesis 3 we read that Adam and Eve are tempted and eat. They willfully disobeyed, rejecting the Word of God and rebelling against Him. They stepped in it. Play-time ended and the consequences were more than they imagined.
They weren’t just kicked out of garden. Weeds now grow in the garden & in our lives, creation groans with birth defects, disease, & poverty. Cars break down and hard drive crash, usually in the middle of important work. We have difficulty understanding and relating to our spouses, children, and friends. Insects bite and swarm, viruses attack and mutate. We suffer from heart disease, cancer, depression, unhealthy attachments, and develop addictions. Everything around us is broken. Broken because of sin.
Sin is bigger and more powerful than we know. If it wasn’t Adam and Eve it would have been you or me. We often try to feel better about ourselves thinking, “My sin is not that bad,” but it is. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus tells us that calling someone a fool or moron out of anger it is the same as murder. If you’ve sat in traffic in the past week, I’m willing to bet you may have called someone a moron (or worse). It seems small, but that is because we don’t have the same perspective as the perfectly holy and just God. Obviously, the earthly consequence is not the same, but it is in the sense that it is enough to separate us from a perfectly holy and perfectly just God. If we’re honest, we know we haven’t just stepped in it; we’re steeped in it.
While God is perfectly holy and perfectly just, He is also perfectly loving. In fact, He is love (1 John 4:8). When Adam and Eve willfully rebelled and disobeyed they soon realized they were naked and even though there were still consequences for their sin, God made a covering for them. In the same way, He made a covering for all humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 6:23” For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This gift is freely available to all who will simply trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sin.
I am grateful that God would use something as simple as a poopy shoe to remind me of the sticky, smelly messes I step in regularly and of His abundant grace in my life through His Son, Jesus.