Dealing with the Broccoli!
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other's faults because of your love. Ephesians 4: 1-2, NLT My little Isaac is 5 years old. For a child with two older brothers he’s remarkably easy going, but poor Isaac has one recurring problem that faces him each day at around 6pm, which causes him enormous distress. You're probably thinking homework, early bedtime, bath time... but no, none of those quite reasonable 5 year old hurdles are his real problem. Isaac's real obstacle comes in the green, yellow or orange pile of nutrition on his dinner plate. His problem? Vegetables.
Vegetables are the bane of Isaac's life. What is normally a great day of fun at school or with friends can be transformed into a moment of sheer torture and anguish by the glimpse of a pan of boiling water on the stove. I think if you asked him, Isaac would declare all vegetables disgusting and to be avoided at all costs, but high (if not highest) on this list of untouchables would be the vilest offender - broccoli!
With this in mind, imagine my surprise a few weeks back when halfway through our evening family meal, I realised that we were no longer enduring the same pleas for negotiations or mercy. Not only were there no protests but there were also no longer any bright green little ‘trees’ on Isaac's plate. When I very calmly asked Isaac where the broccoli had gone, he simply showed me how he’d discovered a secret way to disguise the ‘horrible taste’. The answer for my little guy came in the huge pile of Heinz Tomato Ketchup that sat on his plate. He’d quite merrily covered his broccoli in tomato ketchup to such an extent that when he put it in his mouth all he could taste was yummy, salty, tomatoes!
As adults we may be able to rationalise how and why we have to eat our vegetables. But I wonder what you do in this sort of situation? You have to cope with a person who brings a reaction in you, similar to that which Isaac has with broccoli? I’d be surprised, if we don't all have people in our lives that we struggle with, for one reason or another. They’ve hurt us by rejecting us or offending us in some way. Perhaps they remind us of someone who caused us pain in the past. Maybe they just press buttons in our hearts and we struggle to stay in godly, healthy relationship with them. Whether they’re wrong in the way they’ve treated us, or we struggle to cope with their particular personality - the reality is, as human beings, relationships can be tough sometimes.
We try to cope. We try to figure out ways around the problem. It’s like pushing the person around our plates. We struggle with our emotions and assign blame to others or ourselves. All this seems justified, but it just prolongs the agony. But how about choosing a higher way instead of trying to fix it in our own strength? We could make a choice to forgive them, if that’s appropriate. We could quit looking at their faults and weaknesses and choose to view them through God's eyes. Our heavenly Father loves them as much as He loves us. We could ask Him to pour into our hearts His acceptance, His love and His abundant grace!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your amazing grace in my life. Your never ending love and acceptance of me goes far beyond anything that I deserve. Lord will You give me Your heart for all the people in my life. Will You help me to see them through Your eyes, and will You give me the love and grace I lack in my own strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.