An Apple in a Bunch

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Bright and shiny, firm and polished, the Golden Delicious apple seemed to call to me from across the room.  I had recently gone to our local produce grocer and loaded up on fruits and veggies for the week.  To the dismay of my children, I have started a “whole foods” lifestyle change and replaced junk food with natural food so there is now an abundance of fruit in our home.  I have found that I am not as hungry as I used to be and I no longer crave the quick sugar fix that a cookie brings because my taste buds would rather have cold watermelon or, in this case, a shiny apple.
The first thing I do after purchasing fruit and veggies is to wash everything.  I rinse, sometimes scrub, and then rinse again to make sure that there is no residue left on fruit that might be grabbed to eat in a hurry.  While washing, I also inspect for any signs of damage or bruising that I might have missed in the store.  When I am satisfied that my apples are clean, to the best of my ability, I then display them in a fruit bowl in hopes that my family will get the subliminal message to eat fruit.  Sometimes it works but it is going to take a while to change bad food habits that have been in place for many years.  Today, I was the one whose eyes were drawn to the fruit and the subliminal message transferred to action when I plucked that golden apple out of the bowl and started munching.  I have a certain way that I eat apples.  I start in the middle and work my way around the circumference and the move up in the same pattern.  When I reach the top of the apple I then return to the middle and make my way down.  I’m not sure why or how I started this process, nevertheless this is my apple eating pattern.  So, I started in the middle, as usual, and ate while I read a book that I was particularly engrossed in reading.  Thankfully, I glanced down at the apple while flipping the page of my book.  I noticed that something was not quite right in its appearance.  Just below the surface, which is why I hadn’t  see this earlier, there was an area that had rotted.  Yuck!  That observation ended the eating of that apple.  I could easily have cut the rotten area out and then the rest of the apple would have been fine to eat, but once that image had made it from my eyes to my brain, my mouth subsequently lost the desire to eat.  The thought of eating something that rottenness had touched is just unappealing.  My mind made the quick leap from the glimpse of the small bruised patch in my apple to a smelly trash can swarming with flies and producing a foul stench.  Extreme, yes, but regardless, the rapid images flooded my mind’s vision and propelled me to throw the apple I had just recently been enjoying into the garbage.  Over the course of a lifetime, there are many similar events that will take place, so I am quite certain everyone is able to identify with this experience.  It’s not unusual for something to appear as perfect on the outside while just below the surface lies an imperfection.  At least with a completely rotten piece of fruit, I would have been forewarned and known not to eat it.
Sometimes it takes an experience like this to let us know, in a way that we can understand, how God feels about our behavior sometimes.  Galations 5:9 says,”A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”  In other words, one rotten apple can spoil the bunch or, in my case, a bite of apple containing a rotten section can ruin the entire taste of apple.  As Christians, we have a responsibility to live in a way that shines the light of Jesus to everyone around us.  To whom much is given, much is required and we, as those who are newly alive in Christ, have been given all that God could give.  When we act in a way that mimics regular people who have not experienced the gift of salvation then we create an area of rot in the “apple”.  As we grumble and complain to others or perhaps judge anyone but ourselves, or even just act sad or depressed then we enlarge that rotten spot.  Pretty soon we have infected those around us so that they either spoil alongside us or we repel them and drive them away from ever seeing the light of the Lord.  I know I have been guilty of this many times.  Thankfully, I belong to the God of many chances and the only One who can create a fresh and new apple from one that is bruised or rotting. God tells us in Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” (NKJV)
Even if you have experienced the Christianity of a “rotten or bruised apple”, won’t you give God a chance?  I speak from experience when I say that He has given me many chances!

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