THE INBORN ERROR TO MESS UP
Force Majeure is a French word. Quite mouthful, like all French words. When translated into English it means, “Superior or Irresistible Force”.
In contract law, Force Majeure is a common clause that essentially relieves all parties from liability or obligation in the event of an occurrence of extraordinary circumstance – an “Act of God,” as they say – that cannot be anticipated or is beyond the control of the parties, which prevents one or all parties from fulfilling their obligation under the contract.
Like many of you, I’ve entered into hundreds of contractual agreements in my lifetime, I can’t even begin to count. And then there are those contracts entered into on my behalf, many of which I’m not even aware. There are mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, employment, insurance (auto, health, and life), even medical procedures, just to name a few.
In many of these contracts, you are made to sign heaps of paper filled with legalistic mumbo jumbo which make no sense to anyone at all. To make it even worse, they are deliberately written in fine prints.
Here's an example of the term in a mortgage agreement…
“Subject to all valid easements, rights of way, covenants, conditions, reservations and restrictions of record, if any. To have and to hold the same, together with all the buildings, improvements and appurtenances belonging thereto, if any, to the Mortgagee and Mortgagee's heirs, successors and assigns forever. Mortgagor covenants with Mortgagee that…”
Blah, blah, blah. On and on it goes. What in the world does that even mean? Little wonder people sign the papers without bothering to read them. If not for an ulterior motive, why would anyone use so many words to tell you, “Pay up or get your clothes stripped off your back.”
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Our humanness, like dark clouds, shrouds everything we do. Inherent in every contractual agreement we enter into is the lurking intent to renege and defraud. It’s as though we have to fight, with every fiber of our being, against our inner urges to stay true to our words. We embrace any and every excuse that enables us to break promises without any repercussions. We build caveats and bury clauses into agreements to cover up our innate tendency for perfidy.
It is the base human nature – an inborn error to mess up. It is the flesh at work.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
The natural tendencies of man to fail are in stark contrast to the faithfulness of the Almighty God. God’s mindset is so different from ours. Whereas human beings actively devise new ways to break promises, God is firmly committed to stand by His words and promises no matter what.
From generation to generation, God continues to enter into contractual agreements with the sons of men. He gives His word, He swears to it by His Name, and it is done. No caveats, no force majeure, no ifs or buts.
Take for instance the contract with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the very first recorded in the annals of man. I can imagine the conversation going like the following:
“Hey guys, welcome to earth, your new home. It is custom built for you by the Words of my mouth. As you will see, it’s quite a massive real estate, more than 500 million kilometer square territory, lush and rich. The land is brimming with all kinds of animals. The rivers are crystal blue and packed with an assortment of fishes. All of these creatures now belong to you. You are to name and own them. I give you dominion over them all. Do with them as you see fit.”
Then God takes them on a tour of Eden.
“I’ve carved out the best part of the earth for you to build your home. This is Eden. It’s such a beautiful land – a Garden of Pleasure. A river flows right through it, and then divides into four tributaries all packed with abundant resources. The gold here is exceptionally pure. There are also exotic metals, so precious they make the eyes pop. And not only that, but you will also find all sorts of trees growing up from the ground – trees that are beautiful and that produce delicious fruits.”
“The two of you mean the world to me. There’s nothing I can’t and won’t do for you. When I look at you, I see myself because I made you in my image. You are the earthly representation of who I AM. You have my life’s breath in you. That’s why I’m putting you in charge of this Garden. Keep it. Nurture it. It’s all yours, everything in it. Don’t you worry about a thing; I’ll come pay you a visit each and every day. Should you have any questions feel free to ask me.”
The tour takes them to the furthermost part of the garden, far removed from everything else, here God tells them,
“We are now standing in the remotest part of your new home. It is critical that you pay attention now. Right in front of you, to your right, is the tree of life, and next to it, to your left, is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They are deliberately located at the outer fringes of your property.”
Then God says,
“You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” (Genesis 2: 16-17)
“Do you have any questions?” God asks.
It is a very simple and straightforward offer of life from the Elohim. There are no gimmicks, no tricks, no flimflams, no shenanigans, and the best part is – not a single paperwork. How cool is that? It’s a deal of a lifetime…our lifetime. Who could say, ‘No,’ to that. You would think.
Well, we all know how it turns out. Humans succumbed to their base nature, turned their backs on God, and embraced sin. The aftershock of the fall continues to reverberate through generations of the human race.
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8)
The God of mercy and grace does not forever turn His back on us. He does not renege on His promises. In our fallen state, He reaches down to pull us up. He tempers His righteous judgment with His great mercy. His love covers our multitudes of iniquities. His Word is the oxygen that keeps the flame of His love forever burning. He sits at the edge of His throne expectantly waiting for us to return – to become who we were made to be.