I know of what I speak. I have eaten gluten-free for eight years. And while the gluten-free options have greatly improved, they still can’t shake a stick to bread. Especially hot, steaming, soft bread, fresh from the oven, slathered with butter that is slowly melting into all the spongy crevices. Oh, the taste. Oh, the aroma. Oh, the joy.
Ok, I will stop drooling now. But you should understand that there is nothing I love to eat more than bread, not even chocolate. Bread is my favorite food, and the only thing worse than not eating bread is the way I feel after I eat bread.
I won’t gross you out with the details of what happens when I eat bread. Suffice it to say, it isn’t pretty. While my mouth and taste buds thoroughly enjoy the delicious delectableness of all things bread the rest of me rejects it with vehemence.
I will go months without eating any bread. And then it happens. I take a taste. It is like Pooh Bear’s attitude about honey, “I don’t want to eat it; I just want to taste it.” It is the moment of the taste that conquers me, because as I resist all the voices in my head reminding me of what will happen if I keep eating this deliciousness, I listen instead to the lies that a few bites won’t do any harm. Just a few bites. A little bit. Not very much.
But the catch is this. One bite of bread awakens all the desires of bread consumption in my epicurean mind. I start craving bread and eating bread, all the while denying the reality that is most certainly marching down the road toward me. When the pain, bloating, and general miserableness hits me I have no one to blame other than myself. I knew what was going to happen.
I have learned a lot about sin from being gluten-free, because it is a revealing picture of the same destructive cycle working in other parts of my life as well.
I am not going to tell you what my besetting sins are. And I won’t ask you about yours because it doesn’t really matter. Some people deal with really destructive ones like alcoholism, pornography, adultery, gluttony, etc. Many people deal with ones that can be less obviously destructive yet just as painful to those around them, like being impatient, angry, unkind, judgmental, slothful, cynical and more.
Just as the results of my eating bread are too unpleasant to describe in this blog, so it is with our sins.
We don’t talk about them.
We try to deny they occur.
They embarrass us.
We try to pretend we don’t deal with these things.
We don’t want to eat sin, we just want to taste it.
We deny the Voice that reminds us of the better way and of the consequences that will most certainly follow.
We listen to the lie, “just a little bit won’t hurt" or "I will be able to deny my desire for more."
And before we know it, we are knee deep into destructive behavior that is painful to ourselves and to our families.
Will we ever learn?
Paul states, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:18, 19
What have I learned about sin from being gluten-free?
- While sin may smell good and the first taste may be delicious, the cost is never worth the momentary pleasure.
- Sin has definite harms that will be manifested in my life that will effect adversely myself and everyone with whom I live.
- Just because someone else can do a thing and not be harmed does not mean that I can do it and not be harmed.
- It is impossible to taste without eating.
- It is impossible to eat without digesting.
- It is impossible to digest a harmful thing without damage.
- It is never, ever worth it.
Remember that last one: it is never, ever worth it.