There is an old saying, “Discretion is the better part of valor.” Today’s First Reading is a perfect illustration of this in that Eve would have been much better off ignoring the serpent and walking away – sometimes it is more fruitful to walk away from a discussion and “live to fight another day!” There is no doubt that sin and the devil do not play fairly. The Church recommends that we NEVER enter into dialogue with the devil as he is capable of almost anything. About the only thing we are sure that is beyond his powers is to act with humility.
Eve’s choice to dialogue with the serpent only leaves her open to falling prey to his lies and deceit which is exactly what happened. The devil did not seduce her with an outright lie, just a slight exaggeration of the truth – namely he adds that God forbade them to even touch the fruit making the command sound unreasonable. All God said was that they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden. The wise person on hearing this would refrain from touching it lest he/she be led into further temptation. The even wiser person would accept the truth and validity of God’s command and leave it at that. What is the point of discussing the matter further?
I am not advocating a non-intellectual approach to our faith. I am merely suggesting that there are some things that God has revealed to us that we can seek to understand further but this does not mean that we have to question them. We can grow in understanding of the truth without having to put the issue in doubt.
The description of Adam and Eve hiding from God in the Garden indicates to us the fundamental nature of the change that has occurred in the relationship between God and humanity because of sin. We are no longer fully open or fully comfortable in God’s presence because we KNOW without doubt that we have done something to harm our relationship with God. This is what we call sin and with sin we will do battle for the rest of our lives in the ultimate hope of eternal redemption.
How effective am I in deciding to walk away from temptation when it comes to me? Do I tend to dialogue with sin and thus the devil or do I have the presence of mind to see through the devil’s lies and walk away from him?
Lord Jesus, help me to live in the victory you give us all over sin and the devil. Grant me the humility to live under your grace and protection and stop thinking I have to endure temptation in my own strength.