On most Thursday afternoons you will find me with a group of six to seven girls between the ages of 9 and 12. They come mostly from around our neighborhood, walking to one of our houses for a snack, games and a bible lesson. Our group is called LOVE (Ladies of Virtue and Excellence). Today our lesson was about the FALL from Genesis. After planting geraniums for an older lady down the street, having hot tea with sandwiches and some nibbles, we settled in to our lesson. We have spent the previous four weeks talking about creation from Gen. 1 and 2. Many of the girls had not read the story before or heard the account, so they listened in wonder as we read how God spoke, and it was good. Today the story changed. We read about how the serpent changed God’s words and how the woman and the man changed his words too. We read about how before they ate from the fruit, they wore nothing and felt no shame. We talked about how after they ate from the fruit, they felt shame, that feeling of knowing we have done wrong and have no where to hide.
Well, after LOVE group, the girls all scattered to their houses, many of them just a few doors down from me. I rushed off to meet a friend for an evening cocktail and bumped my neighbor’s car. My neighbor Earl, who hates us for using his hose, bumping into his car, and blocking his sidewalk with our grill while we painted our house. All legitimate reasons for dislike. On this day, I bumped Earl’s car–just barely– as I was hurridely pulling out and Earl lit into me for all the times I have bumped his car. He called the police, and I stood as the neighbors and Earl watched the police check out his car– and mine. There were no scratches, so they couldn’t report anything, but I asked each girl later– what was I feeling then– SHAME! Had I done something wrong– YES! Were there consequences– YES! Had I intended to do wrong–well, only if hurrying is wrong. I hope my LOVE girls remember about SHAME for a long time to come– and that God came to heal our shame– even if the consequences still exist. Earl is still very angry at me– and I have a question for you– How can I love him? I pray for him almost daily, but he refuses to acknowledge our existence except to yell or berate us? We have given him reason to dislike us, but he will not forgive? Here are our LOVE girls at our tea party