As I was contemplating what to write for the newsletter I thought of a relational issue that I won’t have the time to develop within the current sermon series. I would love to engage a few people to hear your thoughts on it.
Here is the relationship issue: self-protection. We live in a relational world, but so often the default response is to quickly build walls in our relationships for the purpose of self-protection.
It happens in so many types of relationships where one shuts out another: children closing off real conversation with parents; spouses who settle for surface conversations with their mate; and people walking into church with little intent of allowing someone to get close enough to reveal the struggles that they have had during the past week.
Where does it come from? The Garden of Eden! Look at the very first self-protection revealed in Genesis:
“Then they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the evening. The man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (3:8)
It is revealed in the next verse that the emotion that motivated them to hide was fear.
Self-protection is about fear. Let me share a quote from a book called The Safest Place on Earth:
“The passion to protect ourselves, to keep our wounds out of sight where no one can make them worse, is the strongest passion in our hearts. And it will remain so until we experience a certain kind of relationship, until we meet the crucified and resurrected Christ, and experience a person like Christ, someone broken yet beautiful…”
I think it is safe to say that Adam and Eve still wanted God’s love, but fear overruled that desire. They gave in to the greater desire of “self-protection.”
The fixation to not be hurt by others will always block us from moving toward others to give love as well as … receive love. Self-protection cuts us off from the profound benefits of relationships and isolates the self from community and the potential to be loved.
God did not design us to be passionate for Jesus; committed to His Word; good with prayer; to be deeply involved in serving; but at the same time have poor interpersonal relationships marked by self-protection. Genesis 2:18 is really good truth—it is not good for men and women to be alone!