We Must Manage Against the Fall
NOTE: This is (yet) another excerpt from the new book I’m writing, Pastoring Men. This will be a “one pager” in an “alphabetized reference section” where pastors can find some talking points that I think uniquely apply to men. Your comments and corrections would be appreciated.
Teach your men about the Fall. The Bible doesn’t describe a utopian world free of pain. That would make Christianity a wishful farce. Instead, the Bible describes the world exactly as we see it—a Fallen world, but not without what Frances Schaeffer called “leftover beauty.” The Bible describes a world groaning in pain that needs a Redeemer, Sanctifier, and Sustainer.
The Fall explains why we must look at the blazing beauty of a crimson sunrise through thick glasses that grace the bridge of a crooked, runny nose. Pascal said, in effect, that the Fall is an offense to human reason but, once accepted, it makes perfect sense of the human condition.i
We must do our work while feeling the prick of thorns. To Adam God said, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you” (excerpt from Genesis 3:17-19).
We must manage our lives against the Fall. The Fall is why we have the saying, “Perception is reality.” To manage against the Fall means we work hard to “portray” what we really mean. People form “impressions” from tone of voice, eye movement, body language, and more. Because they, too, are managing against the Fall, they are watching you closely to see if they “think” you are lying. The Fall explains why we have to choose our words carefully, and why some things are better left unsaid. There are certain things I cannot say to you in public, and some things I cannot say at all.
Nowhere is managing against the Fall more apparent than in purchasing a used car or something on eBay. Consider keys and locks. I have to manage against the Fall in you, and the Fall in myself. And you must do the same. The Fall forces us to:
- Anxiously try to make a sale without appearing anxious.
- Raise desperately needs funds while acting like we don’t need the money.
- Convince the lender we don’t really need the loan.
- Get a girl’s attention while appearing to be disinterested.
- Have “special” meetings before the meeting, then phone calls after the meeting.
- Not pick enthusiastically up your ten month old grandbaby that you are seeing for the first time before the child adjusts to you.
- Promote this book while appearing to not be promoting this book.
Teach men that because of the Fall they need to be gentle with their wives. In pronouncing the effect of the Fall on women the Bible says, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). This word “desire” should be understood as a desire that borders on disease.ii It is a desire subject to corruption (e.g., possessiveness, jealousy) and manipulation (e.g., controlling).
Show men these truths, then challenge your men to walk with integrity as fallen men among fallen men.
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, Ph.D.
ii Blaise Pascal, Pensees, #133.
iiC. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, 1989, Commentary on the Old Testament, Peabody MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Volume 1, p. 103.