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Genesis 2:25-17, 3:1-7

Simon Says is the classic game that can be used anywhere from a day at the beach, to a long car ride or even a simple ice breaker. One person is designated Simon, the others are the players. Standing in front of the group, Simon tells players what they must do. However, the players must only obey commands that begin with the words "Simon Says."

If Simon says, "Simon says touch your nose," then players must touch their nose. But, if Simon simply says, "jump," without first saying "Simon says," players must not jump. Those that do jump are out of the game. Listen closely as "Simon" gives you directions. If "Simon" says to do something, you better act fast. But, if "Simon" does not and you do it anyway, you're out!

As Christians, we understand death to have entered the world as the penalty for Adam and Eve's disobedience -- for their turning away from God and doing the one single thing they had been told not to do, for on the day that they did they would surely die.

Some think Adam and Eve have gotten a bad rap. Had they encountered deceit before? Did they have any idea what a lie was? Would they have had reason to doubt anyone? How could they have known what "to die" meant? These are good questions that have allowed some people to conclude that Adam and Eve were "set up" by God with no way to defend themselves. In short, they blame God for what happened. This is an all too familiar modern theme; the theme of abandoning responsibility and of blaming others for the faults that lie within us.

It is a familiar theme -- and one as old as Adam and Eve who, upon being confronted by God after they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, promptly blamed God, one another, and then serpent for their act. And whether we intend to or not we all play their game -- we take and eat the forbidden fruit. And like them, most of us, if we don't just outright deny doing the deed -- blame someone else for it. At least at first, before we finally embrace the truth,

How many times have we insisted on taking short cuts -- short cuts that have been forbidden or warned about, only to find out that there were very good reasons for the rule, very sound reasons for the advice.

No matter who you blame, my friends, the simple fact is that although the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was good to the eye and desirable to make one wise it was (and it still is) very bad for the soul. Whenever we're dealing with sin and temptation, its useful to remember that rarely does a person choose what seems an outright evil. That's why temptation's hard to resist. If it were always a clear choice between good and evil, it'd be easy.

When Temptation says, "(Insert your own temptation here)" ... use the Word of God which shows what is good and what is not. In the game, Simon says -- clap your hands. Simon says -- flap your elbows. But that's only a game.

God says -- love your neighbors as yourselves. Jesus says -- love one another as I have loved you. Listen to the Word of God -- do what it says!

•••

Editor's note: The Rev. Dr. Scott Stewart is the pastor of Pea Ridge United Methodist Church and Brightwater Methodist Church. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted at [email protected] or 479-659-9519.

Religion on 05/20/2020

Print Headline: Simon says; God says

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