When we make a mistake, there is often a quick and aggressive attempt to cover it up. To hide. It is what Adam and Eve did in the garden. And ever since, humans have been trying to duck our imperfection. We do not have to teach our children how to rationalize their faults. This “skill” is built in.

Rationalizing, defending, and blaming breeds anger. But responding well strengthens our character, feeds our joy and enables our peace.

When we do not do well, it is urgent that we turn it around. Because sin is crouching at the door. This verse says that it desires us. The notion here is that sin desires control over us. And when we do not do well, and decline to turn from bad choices, we end up doing sin’s bidding. It demands and we obey. This can throw us into a vicious cycle of temptation, disobedience, and shame.

But, at the same time, each time we mess up creates a new opportunity. An opportunity to do well with the next choice. Make the right next step. We cannot eliminate our former choice. We can either allow the next choice to fall into the trap of the crouching sin or we can step into the countenance of better decisions.

By adopting this perspective, we can avoid being entrapped in a downward spiral of dysfunction, while admitting our human imperfections. We can accept God’s gracious invitation to do well.

“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
– Genesis 4:7