It All Began in the Garden of Eden
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The most fundamental trait of sinful human nature first appeared in the Garden of Eden. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Gen. 3:6, NIV).
Why did Eve eat the forbidden fruit? Because she thought it would be good for her. Self-centeredness was the issue – concern for her own well-being.
Self-centeredness motivated the first act of disobedience. In my opinion, it was the original sin and is the basis for all other sin, making it the foundation of sinful human nature. We sin because we believe it somehow will benefit us, make us feel better about ourselves or accomplish something we want.
Self-centeredness is self-focus. It makes us more concerned about our own thoughts, feelings and desires than those of other people. It causes us to defend ourselves, protect ourselves and justify ourselves.
So, what’s the solution? Humility. It causes us to consider ourselves relatively unimportant compared to others. Humility is essential to agape love, because we must first humble ourselves before we can serve others effectively. In humility, we step down from our pedestals of importance; in agape, we lift others up.
We need to be aware of our innate self-centeredness, which was the original sin and is the basis for all other sin. Jesus said “whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:4). Allowing God to help us develop true humility, the opposite of self-centeredness, enables us to develop the “lowly” attitude he honors.