Survival of the fittest. Darwin coined the term after noticing that nature seems to kill off the weak allowing the strong to survive. The TV show Survivor, where the rules of the game are to outwit, outplay and outlast to become the sole survivor, has capitalized on Darwin’s theory.
Those who have played it know it’s lonely at the top. Players never know who to trust because lying is within the rules of the game. More than one leader has gone to tribal council imagining they are safe, believing their friends have their back–only to discover they have been double crossed and eliminated. Despite their initial anger, when all is said and done most of the players laugh and say, “It’s just a game.”
Versions of the game are played out in homes all across America every week. People who once pledged to love each other for life compete to destroy everything they have built up. They try to outwit, outplay and outlast the other. There is lying involved. There are alliances built. Territories are claimed. The end result is much like the TV show where people will stop short of nothing to destroy the other. The ending is lonely for everyone involved and unfortunately, there are no winners.
Some people believe this pattern is natural. They say life on this earth would not have survived for millennia without such a pattern. But the Bible seems to indicate that this is not how God intended our lives to be lived. At the end of each day of creation week, God pronounced His work good. There were no crippled frogs or limping zebras. There were no distorted genes to cause disease. Everything was good.
The family unit was also pronounced good. Home was meant to be a place of safety. Parents were designed to reflect God to their children by nurturing and providing for them. They were to model other-centered love by putting each other first and serving their children before themselves. A husband should always know that his wife has his back. And a wife should always know she is cherished. Yelling and the use of force had no place in the Eden home. Family members were intended to speak and treat each other with respect.
When Adam and Eve opened the door to sin, our genes were changed. Sin brings fear and fear brings the survival of the fittest mentality. Fear inhibits our ability to think because it causes us to live in flight or fight mode. Fear causes us to blame and lie and distrust everyone else. (If you don’t believe this read the Genesis account of what happened to Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit.)
So fear is how the game gets started. Long before the divorce someone becomes afraid. Afraid they will not be treated as they deserve. See how selfishness sneaks in through the side door? Selfishness leads us to placing our self above another. Selfishness is the direct result of fear. In order to protect we say “I am the one who deserves better, I will outwit, outplay and outlast my spouse.” Most people cannot begin such a game without wanting to win. When all is said and done love will be sacrificed in exchange for being right. And once love has left the building, there is no way to get it back. Once we have lost our capacity for love, we cannot find our way home. Unless.
Unless we take all the broken pieces of our lives back to the Creator. Unless we ask Him to remove sin’s curse of fear and survival of the fittest. Unless we ask for a new heart. Unless we allow Jesus to take our heart of stone and make it into a heart of flesh. Only then can we see what we have done in the name of the game. Only then can we realize how fear replaced love. The way back home has only one rule — honesty. Only when we can become honest with ourselves and God will we find our way home to love. Without love, we got nothing. When we play the game, even the winners will die. With God’s other-centered love, we all can survive.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
How is fear affecting your life today?