Reach for Forgiveness vs. Chocolate
By Tamra Nashman
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses for he faced all the same temptations we do and yet he did not sin. Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy and find grace to help us when we need it (Heb. 4:15-16, NLT).
I still remember the first chocolate cake my mother made from scratch for the family at my brother Richard’s birthday party. It was one of those delicious double decker cream-filled types with the chocolate icing. The layers were so thick you had to stick your finger deep in the swooping waves of chocolate to get a stealthy taste. Pray Mother didn’t see you sneak a dip. It was absolutely prohibited to touch her cake before the unveiling, and though I was the angel of the family, it was impossible for me to resist slipping the tip of my tiny index finger into the side of that warm, silky, luscious cake! I’m still mystified as to how she could possibly know about my clandestine taste, but I’m certain God and my mother had a direct channel of communication that was second to none. Even when I was absolutely certain no one had seen the sneak, Mother always knew.
I thought perhaps God revealed my indiscretion to keep me honorable and upright, but really I think He knew that I’d have a serious difficulty with temptation-by-chocolate in my adult years, and in His great compassion was attempting to spare me from my own demise. How merciful.
The first time I ate an entire bag of fat-free tootsie rolls, I felt so guilty I couldn’t decide whether I needed to throw up or run a relay race. The only consolation for my indulgence was the comforting words fat free. And still, I wondered why I didn’t’ have the will power to put that compelling bag back in the cupboard. But, I’ve never been a girl who was satisfied with just one chocolate. It had to be at least two or three to silence the demons. And so, it stands to reason, that a whole bag of chocolate cream-filled Oreo cookies is far more preferable than a measly two or three. It wasn’t uncommon for me to skip lunch if the possibility of chocolate anything was lurking nearby. Chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner was a perfectly acceptable choice as far as I was concerned. Isn’t chocolate one of the six food groups?
We’re all created beings and are always looking to fulfill that deep-seated longing in our hearts. I don’t think chocolate is the cure. As much of it as I’ve eaten over the years, if a hole could be filled with that delectable temptation, mine would be full to the brim and overflowing. Whether our indulgence of choice is cocoa, hamburgers and French fries, foie gras, or fried chicken, the bottom line is simply this: overindulgence of any kind will never fill the longing of our soul. Whatever controls us, owns us.
Women often overeat to gain a sense of comfort, a protection from the world and its abuses. Whether we struggle in a difficult marriage, our children are testing our limits and patience, our jobs are filled with stressful demands that are difficult to meet, whatever the outside source of our distress, one of the things we can always depend on to comfort us is food. It’s readily available and accessible, it doesn’t argue with us, or test our endurance, it doesn’t cause undue anxiety – at least not while we’re consuming it, and it gives us a sense of temporary satisfaction and safety.
Food, though accessible is only a momentary fix for a deeper underlying problem. It will never be able to offer us a long-term solution to the things that trouble us. We can either continue to address our hurts by using substitutions, or we can get the help we really need to reach the source of our distress. I’ve never yet met a woman who hasn’t needed some in-depth counsel to help her deal with the offences of the heart.
When we let these abrasions and spiritual injuries go untreated, we set ourselves up for a long and painful journey. I really believe forgiveness is key to healing. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, (hurt you, misuse you) your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father God will not forgive your sins.”
Let’s examine this briefly. Forgiveness is a choice, often difficult to make, but God requires it. He knows our spirit is set free by acquittal. He understands that it is a choice of our will and one He can’t make for us. When we hold on to blame and refuse to release the ones who have wounded us, a barrier is formed between our spirit and God’s. He cannot forgive us because we have chosen not to forgive. Our hearts then become hard, and embittered, and the longer we wait to let go of the pain, the more difficult it becomes to relinquish it.
Believe me, I know it’s easier to sit down and eat a full bag of Tootsie Rolls than it is to address the areas of forgiveness that we carry in our hearts and to spiritually face those who have inflicted the injuries. It’s much easier to cover the pain with outside sources and placate our bodies with a false sense of security.
The indescribable joy of release obtained through the gift of forgiveness is worth more than gold. The spirit soars to the heights God intended when gifted with absolution. There is nothing more liberating than to be in right-relationship with the Father and nothing more valuable to our overall well-being – spirit, soul, and body.
I’ve been in the position many times to choose between the bag of Tootsie Rolls or time on my knees before God. I must admit, the allure of chocolate has been the winner more times than I care to admit, but I’m finally in a place where I realize the temptation to over-indulge is masking a deeper issue, and it’s easier now and certainly more fulfilling to choose the better path.
But let me tell you, there are just times a girl needs her chocolate! All things in moderation, so the Word says.