“How did you get her to do that,” a shopper asked me? I was at the grocery store with my three-year-old daughter, who was sitting in my shopping cart, and she was munching on a piece of raw broccoli I’d broken off. Getting kids to see vegetables as desirable is almost an impossibility. How did I do it? I told her they were magic trees that made her beautiful, and she thought it was fun to eat a magical tree.
Gods’ ancient stories and truth look scary to many people today. It’s left a bad taste in their mouth. As believers who have experienced God’s truths and know His goodness, we often don’t get why someone can be so put off by the look of Christianity. Unbelievers who have never been exposed – tasted the truth of God are hesitant to take a bite. Jesus might just taste unsavory. Their minds reject it before they even try it.
What we allow ourselves to be exposed to makes a difference.
Each person must decide for themselves. Belief starts with curiosity and a heart that wants to listen. Jesus tells the story that makes us think – a parable of seeds. Seeds (truth thoughts) fall to the ground (one’s heart), and it is the ground (the heart) that allows it to either grow or die. Mark 3:3-8.
It all begins with curiosity and the willingness to trust.
It begins when we stop and begin to find that what is on our life’s plate is a lot of junk or lacks the kind of nourishment for a fulfilling life. Like a parent instructing a child, sometimes those who share and teach of the goodness of God must talk about God’s truths in interesting and non-threatening ways.
Jesus recognized the importance of someone’s trust, and it is why Jesus asked questions and spoke in parables.
Jesus showed us that we must taste spiritual truth for ourselves. A person’s heart must be open to listening. Unfortunately, our eyes get distracted by the candy section rather than the produce section at the grocery store of life today. Our digital devices keep our minds busy, and our eyes distracted. A life lived trusting an unseen unscientific God just doesn’t seem attractive, fun, or even make sense.
It is the food we just don’t want to eat.
As a child, my parents would serve me cooked carrots but wouldn’t peel them. I was told the skin was the healthiest part, but it also made the food bitter. It didn’t matter to me if it was healthy, I hated the taste, and I had a stubborn mindset. My parents told me that I couldn’t leave the table until I ate all of them and I could sit stubbornly for hours. But I learned that after everyone left the table, I’d come up with ways of getting rid of them. The dog became my best friend often, or I’d take a bite and cough them back into my napkin and quickly run to the trash can where I’d dispose of the bitter taste. It wasn’t that I didn’t like carrots. I did like them, especially when the carrots were raw and peeled. I just couldn’t digest the bitter outer skin. Many unbelievers might be open to the plain raw truth but instead are fed cooked and unpeeled covered up religious carrots.
Have we wrapped the truths of God in a distasteful skin?
Maybe it’s time to peel away the rules and judgment of what a Christian life consists of and expose others to the sweetness of God. Perhaps it’s time to share our faith from a clean-shaven perspective. Jesus said we would know “the truth, and the truth would set us free” (John 8:32) and that His words were sweeter than honey. (Psalm 119:103) Freedom is the constant cry of every human heart, yet Christians are known for displaying what seems to nonbelievers as restrictions. It looks like bitter fruit. The truth is, freedom comes with bitter skin. Freedom comes with struggle and suffering, and a life lived with Jesus will not be one without it. But it also is sweet. The peeled carrot is sweet, and the fruit of the Spirit of God living in the life of a believer is love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness and endurance that overcomes suffering. And it can only be gotten when we bite into it. We can only nourish our soul on the worth of God’s amazing garden of love when we bite into it.
Are you willing to peel off the bitter skin and see the goodness of God’s magical trees?
It’s food for thought. Jesus ended the parable of seed by saying, “If you understand this, then you need to respond.” (Mark 3:9).