Insight for the Day

Stepping Up

April 9, 2024 Robert Wolgemuth—Editor

And he said, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” —Genesis 3:10

The meeting was getting hot. What had started as a session to clear the air of some misunderstandings was quickly deteriorating. People stood to express their anger. Fingers were pointed at one another, and voices were raised to hurtful decibels.

“You lied!” one man finally charged, his eyes bearing down on me.

My heart raced. I’m sure my face flushed with embarrassment as I recalled the incident in question. Had I lied? I didn’t think so. Had I been deceptive? Yes. My accuser wasn’t satisfied. He wanted a full confession of a “lie”; simply calling it “deception” wouldn’t do. Then, in a quiet moment of unexpected tenderness, he softened his tone. “I’m not calling you a liar,” he said.

For the next hour, I sat there stunned. Even though the meeting continued with pointed exchanges, I hardly spoke a word. In retrospect, I know God was speaking to me. And what I heard Him whisper to me was incredibly helpful.

I had sincerely held my ground over the difference between a lie and a deception, but the concession that “I wasn’t a liar” had pierced my conscience. The guy was wrong. I am a sinful man—a liar, a thief, a selfish and lustful man. I can rightly justify certain actions, parsing words and clarifying my position, but the Bible makes abundantly clear about me: “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Rm 3:10). Including Adam. And me. And you.

Adam got caught, so to deflect God’s charge, he blamed Eve. Adam knew better. When you read the whole conversation between Eve and the serpent carefully, it’s clear that Adam was right there for the whole thing. Instead of interrupting the exchange and protecting his wife from the sneaky words of the evil one, he stood quietly. Passively. He watched while Eve did what God specifically had told them not to do. And then when challenged by his Friend—a holy God—Adam transferred the blame to his wife. Instead of stepping up and confessing, Adam chickened out.

Like many other men that you and I read about in the Bible, Adam did a foolish thing. He tried to escape, to hide from God.

When my meeting was finished, I invited my challenger to follow me into an empty office. Through tears of confession and remorse, I acknowledged that, even though we disagreed on the semantics of this particular deed, I was a sinful man, capable of lying, deceiving, cheating, and failing to step up to defend what was right and true. I asked his forgiveness. My former adversary accepted my confession, forgave me, and then embraced me with a few tears of his own.

God’s grace is the only chance we have to be fit as men. Our friends, our family must witness our courage to do the right thing. They need to hear words of confession coming from our lips. Their forgiveness must be sought when we fail—notice that I said when not if.

When we sincerely confess, they’ll forgive. If we stand silent or try to hide, we’ll lose.