Monday, February 23, 2009


It began as a commitment to improve my social skills. After sitting alone in my house day after day after day, the ability to carry on a meaningful conversation was quickly eluding me. Writing is a wonderful communicative tool, and I’m thrilled and blessed to discover my calling after all these years; however, most writers are weird. (Sorry, to all my writing friends out there. Of course, I don’t mean you.) Now, I believe writers become weird because they’re alone so much and forget – or possibly never learned – how to socialize effectively. I first realized my social skills were slipping, when a woman we’d never met shuttled my husband and I from the Baltimore airport to a retreat we were attending. I’m not a shy person, but I truly had nothing to say to this stranger. My husband, on the other hand, began chatting with the woman, and immediately set us all at ease. He allowed for some silences, and then he asked the woman questions – thoughtful, probing questions. Not overly personal, but not about the weather or her favorite sports team either. I watched and listened in stunned admiration. I had become weird, and my husband had become a master of conversation. Later, I asked how he knew what questions to ask. He said questions should allow a person to open their heart to the degree a person is willing. I married him for his wisdom – what can I say? Well, after a few year’s practice, I’d love to report I’ve become a conversational master like my husband. Nope. At first, I was an inquisitionist. I pummeled everyone with a litany of questions, such that they could hardly breathe between answers. Bad form. Some questions were too personal. Rude. Some questions were contrived and obviously grasping at conversational noise. Annoying. So friends, I’m still fighting weird, but I’m fighting it with questions – better questions, timed wiser, spoken softer. God is the Master Questioner of humankind, giving us every opportunity to open our hearts – as much as we’re willing…

Gen. 3:8-9 – “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” (emphasis added)
  • God doesn’t ask a question because He needs to know the answer. He already knew where Adam and Eve were hiding. He asked the question because Adam and Eve needed to tell Him where they were.

Gen. 3:10 – “He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’”

  • Anytime fear and hiding are involved, expect to find sin at the root of the circumstance. If you have to hide the empty box of Oreo’s at the bottom of the trash can… (of course, that’s just a random example).

Gen. 3:11 – “And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’” (emphasis added)

  • Again, God knew no one had told them they were naked, but through God’s first question Adam and Eve realized the burden of knowledge. Through the next question, God gave Adam the opportunity to take responsibility for his sin.

Gen. 3:12 – “The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’”

  • Ignoring God’s first question, Adam side-stepped the second, using blame as an excuse for his disobedience. First, Adam blamed God (the woman You put here), then Eve, and then he finally took what little responsibility was left upon himself for the sin.

Gen. 3:13 – “Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” (emphasis added)

  • God’s last question is twofold. First, it asks if Eve has any concept of the scope of her sin. Secondly, she has an individual opportunity to accept personal responsibility for her actions, but she follows her husband’s example of blame – just as Adam followed Eve into sin.

Lord, I don’t think I have any idea the extent to which my sin offends You. Open my eyes to see the filth and shame of my sin. Show me the vast stain of sin in relationship to Your immense holiness, and teach me to readily accept the blame in order to fully accept Your forgiveness.

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