On this Friday of the First Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.
When Rudy, our Westie mix, does something wrong, she knows it. Sometimes we arrive home to find a bag of goodies shredded. The instant that Rudy notices that we see the mess, her ears, head and tail droop—her whole body seems to sag—and she crawls toward her crate. The kids find this amusing and sometimes tease her by calling her name in a low, what-did-you-do-now tone: “Rudy.” Just to watch the Walk Of Shame.
I remember growing up, whenever I broke something of my Mom’s—like a vase—my instant reaction (after failing miserably to repair it) was to hide the evidence. And then blame someone else when the crime was discovered.
Adam and Eve had the same instincts my dog and I share. When they ate the forbidden fruit, God had to know they did it. And so, I wonder if he spoke in the same low, what-did-you-do-now tone my kids use to torment Rudy: “Adam. Eve.” I’m guessing not since He is love and doesn’t revel in our shame.
But at any rate, Adam and Eve reacted as any guilty party might—they hid. Just as I would hide the broken vase, they hid themselves. And then, when confronted, they played the blame game just as I have: first Adam blamed Eve (big man! but I probably wouldn’t have done differently), and then Eve blamed the snake.
This highlights the moral distinction between light and dark. Dark is used for hiding, for doing wrong, for seeking selfish ends. This is why we tend to associate all of society’s vices with dark—dark alleys, backroom deals, under the table payments: all hidden from the light of day because we know they’re wrong.
Light, on the other hand, is associated with goodness and truth. In government and corporations we talk of transparency. In healing and recovery we talk about “bringing it out into the light.” In fact, sunlight is well known for its antiseptic properties. I have heard of a study (can’t locate now) demonstrating that the average city sidewalk is cleaner than your typical kitchen sink in large part to the sidewalk’s exposure to the sun.
The Bible recognizes this light/dark dichotomy:
“He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts.” 1 Cor. 4:5.
And so, while my tendency when doing wrong is to hide it, it is best to bring it out into the light. Better yet, when I am considering my choices, I should bring that decision point into the light. And when I fail, my failures are best exposed in the light of the Confessional.
What was the Father’s reaction to the First Couple’s transgression? While He threw Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, He also gave His only begotten Son for our salvation.