For years I kept a supply of jelly-beans in my office. My attitude was that there was no need for an appointment, no need to ask; just pop in and help your self to the steady stash of multiple-flavors I tried to keep in a special blue dish located in the middle of my desk. I had some regulars however it was those who unexpectedly came in that always brought a knowing smile. For the most part I wasn’t tempted. However there were those moments when the traditional beans called out! Together with a bit of cinnamon spice and cappuccino I was a happy camper.
No matter how often I reminded myself, I didn’t find the fact that I knew what was on my desk was junk food with no redeeming food value changing my behavior. I knew it was bad for me yet on occasion I sought out the very things I knew would harm me. Even after a long absence I caught my hands dipping into the jar just last night. I wanted the temporary feeling even though I knew it would negatively impact the cold I continue to fight.
Metaphorical “jelly belly” experiences are all around. Knowing the facts doesn’t change the rhetorical questions that come as a result of the choices I make. “Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you want junk like that in your belly?” (Proverbs 26.22) From my behavior the answer is yes!
Gossip and other relationship junk are far more insidious and devastating then a bit of candy. By partaking I find myself tearing at the fibers of the very things that I hold most precious and true. I find myself enjoying life for the moment at another’s expense. This isn’t about creation; it is all about consumption and destruction! I think I know what I am doing. But do I really realize what is at stake?
Life, true life, is all about creating relationships filled with compassion, mercy, and acceptance, true soul food. God’s gourmet banquet is available to all and I’m indulging!