My son is such a giver. He is the most selfless child I know. This morning, he cleaned a fourth of his sister’s room just to make her happy, and for lunch, he willingly submitted to, no, came up with the idea of, going to my favorite Mexican Restaurant. You might not think that’s much of a sacrifice: going out to eat versus eating at home (they hate my cooking most of the time). But my son hates Mexican food too, and it’s not something he can force himself to eat for my sake. He tried. I thought, “I’m gonna find something on this menu that he will just love!” And so we discussed his preferences and finally settled on chicken taquitos. I thought, “this should be the best Mexican meal ever for him.”
Once our food arrived, he lavished sour cream on his taquitos and bit into the first one and began to chew … and looked like he was going to either puke or cry. Possibly both. I encouraged him just to give it a few bites, and he did his best. He kept pulling sautéed peppers out of the end of his taquito, and I knew we had a problem … You see, my son has a very sensitive tongue. It’s like his mouth separates all his food the moment it goes in and picks out all the things it hates. It’s so frustrating! I’ve narrowed the list down to anything that has the texture of a cooked chili bean, and anything that feels like a string in his mouth. You wouldn’t think so, but that happens to be a lot of different things. Any bean, sautéed vegetables, cooked tortillas (his taquitos were greasy corn tortillas), and anything shredded. In fact, almost anything authentically Mexican is out, which is a big deal because that’s my favorite! Picking a restaurant to enjoy is so hard between the three of us because I’m a vegetarian, my daughter is a chicken nugget (yep, I meant that just like it sounds), and my son has an aversion to a lot of restaurant foods.
As I sat there watching him try for my sake to choke down his taquitos, I had so much compassion for him. I couldn’t help thinking about how awesome it would be if we Christians had a similar affliction, in which sin became so distasteful we couldn’t stomach it. To the degree that any time we partook of sin, we’d feel like puking. Or crying. Or both!
I guess in a sense, though, we kind of do. Titus 2:11-12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” The Holy Spirit and the grace of God teaches us to shun evil. If acquainted with the Spirit of God, we know the voice of God and therefore, the Will of God. And because sin is distasteful to Him, it also becomes distasteful to us. Our responsibilities then are to search out the Spirit to know the Will of God and to respond to His guidance. When our stomach turns at the sight, sound, smell, or taste of sinful indulgences, we should naturally be repelled enough to avoid the temptation. That’s how the scripture is fulfilled that says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Cor. 10:13)” God may provide a way out, but it’s our responsibility to take the exit. I am just blessed in knowing that the Lord does something in us that helps to separate light from darkness, that dissects our situations and leads us by an easily discerned spiritual distaste. Thank you, Father, for giving us such a sensitivity to Satan’s snares.
I also know that when we become involved in sin, the Father responds less in anger and more in compassion. Jesus fulfilled the wrath of God. All that’s left now is His gift of salvation and our limited understanding of His forgiveness. Sin grieves God because life doesn’t have to hurt so much. He provided a way out. He provided a better life for us, and He is so attentive to our lives that when Satan tempts us down dark alleys, the Lord simultaneously offers a lighted path. Our Father would prefer that the doors closed by the sacrifice of Christ not be reopened in our lives, and therefore, He has placed us within the security of boundaries. And when sin looks enticing, and we become enamored, the Lord recognizes better than us the façade. Just like my son’s mouth seemed to know better than his eyes what he could handle, the Holy Spirit becomes our guide and helps us to distinguish the good from the bad. What seems to be an affliction (Biblical boundaries) in one sense has become the most priceless of gifts! Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your Holy Spirit.