This story has been around for many years in roughly the same format/text. Recently, my husband and I made a decision to disassociate ourselves from a covenantal group we cared deeply about. It was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make; we agonized over it for months, trying to find a way out of making it. We sought counsel from several wise, godly friends and then agonized some more. After the decision was finally made, I was reminded of this story and went searching for it. It is an example that each of us can relate to. We all have areas in our lives where we need to “tighten up”. This is the process of sanctification for a Christian. We work out our salvation each day with “fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12-16).
Last week, I walked into my office to find a sandwich bag on my desk containing three chewy, tasty, homemade chocolate brownies. Some thoughtful and anonymous person who knew my love for tasty homemade brownies had placed them there, along with a hand written short story. I immediately sat down and began eating the first chewy, tasty, homemade brownie as I read the following story:
Two teenagers asked their father if they could go the theatre to watch a movie that all their friends had seen. After reading some reviews about the movie on the Internet, he denied their request.
“Aw dad, why not?” they complained. “It is rated PG-13, and we’re both older than thirteen!”
Dad replied: “Because that movie contains nudity and portrays immorality as being normal and acceptable behavior.”
“But Dad, those are just very small parts of the movie! That’s what our friends who’ve seen it have told us. The movie is two hours long and those scenes are just a few minutes of the total film! It’s based on a true story, good triumphs over evil, and there are other redeeming themes like courage and self-sacrifice. Even the movie review websites say that!”
“My answer is no, and that is my final answer. You are welcome to stay home tonight, invite some of your friends over, and watch one of the good videos we have in our home collection. But you will not go and watch that film. End of discussion.”
The two teenagers walked dejectedly into the family room and slumped down on the couch. As they sulked, they were surprised to hear the sounds of their father preparing something in the kitchen. They soon recognized the wonderful aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and one of the teenagers said to the other, “Dad must be feeling guilty, and now he’s going to try to make it up to us with some fresh brownies. Maybe we can soften him with lots of praise when he brings them out to us and persuade him to let us go to that movie after all.”
About that time I began eating the second brownie from the sandwich bag and wondered if there was some connection to the brownies I was eating and the brownies in the story. I kept reading. . .
The teens were not disappointed. Soon their father appeared with a plate of warm brownies, which he offered to his kids. They each took one. Then their father said, “Before you eat, I want to tell you something: I love you both so much.” The teenagers smiled at each other with knowing glances. Dad was softening. “That is why I’ve made these brownies with the very best ingredients. I’ve made them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are even organic. The best organic flour. The best free-range eggs. The best organic sugar. Premium vanilla and chocolate.”
The brownies looked mouth-watering, and the teens began to become a little impatient with their dad’s long speech.
“But I want to be perfectly honest with you. There is one ingredient I added that is not usually found in brownies. I got that ingredient from our own back yard. But you needn’t worry, because I only added the tiniest bit of that ingredient to your brownies. The amount of the portion is practically insignificant. So go ahead, take a bite and let me know what you think.”
“Dad, would you mind telling us what that mystery ingredient is before we eat them?”
“Why? The portion I added was so small–just a teaspoonful. You won’t even taste it.”
“Come on, Dad, just tell us what that ingredient is.”
“Don’t worry! It is organic, just like the other ingredients.”
“Well, OK, if you insist. That secret ingredient is fresh organic. . . dog poop.”
I immediately stopped chewing that second brownie and I spit it out into the wastebasket by my desk. I continued reading, now fearful of the paragraphs that still remained.
Both teens instantly dropped their brownies back on the plate and began inspecting their fingers with horror.
“DAD! Why did you do that? You’ve tortured us by making us smell those brownies baking for the past half hour, and now you tell us that you added dog poop! We can’t eat these brownies!”
“Why not? The amount of dog poop is very small compared to the rest of the ingredients. It won’t hurt you. It’s been cooked right along with the other ingredients. You won’t even taste it. It has the same consistency as the brownies. Go ahead and eat them!”
“No, Dad. . . NEVER!”
“And that is the same reason I won’t allow you to go watch that movie. You wouldn’t tolerate a little dog poop in your brownies, so why should you tolerate a little immorality in your movies? We pray that God will not lead us unto temptation, so how can we, in good conscience, entertain ourselves with something that will imprint a sinful image in our minds that will lead us into temptation long after we first see it?”
I discarded what remained of the second brownie, as well as the entire untouched third brownie. What had been irresistible a minute ago had become detestable. And only because of the very slim chance that what I was eating was slightly polluted. (Surely it wasn’t. . .but I couldn’t convince myself.)
What a good lesson about purity! Why do we tolerate any sin? On the day of the Passover, the Israelites were commanded to remove every bit of leaven from their homes. Sin is like leaven — a little bit leavens the whole lump. Faith and sin don’t mix.
Edited by Susan E. Johnson
“On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?”'” Then the priests answered and said, “No.”
And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?” So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.”
Then Haggai answered and said, “‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the LORD, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.” Haggai 2:10-14 (NKJV)
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:6,7 (NKJV)
Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
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