I Blame the Apples!

I blame the apples.
It had to be them!
Twice in my life I have had food poisoning.
And both times, the food I ate had apples in it.
So I blame the apples for the misery that followed.

Will I still eat apples?
Sure, I guess.
But I am keeping a wary eye on them.
After all, you never know when one of them will turn on you.
And who needs that?
In fact, I think I may avoid them altogether.
Because, obviously, they are the cause of all of my issues.
After all, the two times I got food poisoning, apples were involved.

I blame the ____.
(Fill in here with the group of your choice. A certain political party. A certain race. A certain age group. A certain church or denomination. Even a certain family member.)
It had to be them!
Every time there is a problem, they are at the center of it.
So I blame them for all the misery there is.

Will I still exist on this mortal plane with them?
Sure, I guess. Because I have to.
But I am keeping a wary eye on them.
After all, you never know when one of them will turn on you.
And who needs that.
Actually, I think I will avoid “them” altogether.
Because, obviously, they are the cause of all my issues.
After all, every time I get hurt or frustrated “they” are involved.

The truth is, both times that I have had food poisoning, apples were involved.
But the truth is also that they were not the cause.
Bad meat the first time.
Bad meat and bad mayo the second time.

But it would be so easy to come to the wrong conclusion.
Blame the apples.
And then cut my nose off despite my face and never eat apples again.
Ignore all the health benefits and the deliciousness they bring.
And just lump them all together into the category of “bad”.

Now go back.
Think of that group or that person who you cannot stand.
The apples you want to blame for your misery.

And recognize that the poison does not come from the apple.
It didn’t come from the fruit in the Garden of Eden, either.
(Which, by the way, was not an apple.)
The fruit itself was good.
The poison came from the action – the sin that eating the fruit ushered into the world.
The choice to disobey.
And every sinful choice we have made since then.

The poison does not come from the “apples” who are
Or Democrats
White People
Or Black People
Or Conservatives
The Government
Or the Protestors
The President
Or the Congress
The Baptist Church
Or the Catholic Church
Or any Church
Your Mother
Or your Father
Your Boss
Or your Co-Worker
Your Ex
Or your Current.

“They” – whoever your “they” may be – are apples.
And they are not the cause of the misery in the world.
They are mixed in with it.
They are even carriers of it.
But they are not the poison that causes the malevolent illnesses of greed, corruption, violence, hatred, murder and the rest of what plagues our society.

It is sin.
And I cannot call you a sinner without acknowledging that I am one, too.
We ALL “fall short of the glory of God”.
And while the earthly consequences of our sin may be different, the heavenly one is the same.
“The wages of sin is death.”
Death meaning separation from God.
Which means no power.
No power to love.
None to forgive.
None to live differently.
None to look past the outer differences and see the inward similarities.

Sin divides.
It frustrates.
It separates.
And it poisons.

“That group” or “those people” are not the root of your problem or misery.
Sin is.
Your sin.
Their sin.
Our sin.
And because sin separates, we are all unplugged lamps, separated from our Power Source, desperately trying to shine by our own willpower.
Until we acknowledge the separation.
Yield to the Power Source.
And plug in to Real Life.
True Life.
Eternal Life.
Which leads to power.
Power to forgive the unforgivable.
To love the unlovable.
And to “tear down the dividing walls of hostility” that stand between us.

And yes, you plug in one time.
The time you say, “Yes, God, I am a sinner. And Jesus is the only way I will be saved.”
But then you keep allowing the power to flow.
Actively seeking out kinks in the cord.
Not allowing a sinful choice to stutter the flow of power.
Keeping that connection open by keeping short accounts with God.

So when “they” do the unthinkable and the thought occurs, “I hate ______”, you instantly counter that poison with, “but God, You love _______. Help me to forgive them as you have forgiven me. Help me to love them with Your love. I do not have it in me. But You are my Power Source, not me. Change my heart, God. And then help me to change my world by loving “them”, one apple at a time.”

Because the apples may be a common denominator.
But they are not the poison that will make you violently ill.
Don’t miss out on the goodness, the benefits, the sheer joy that comes from choosing to love the apples even while you hate the poison.
When you do that, you will shine.
And people will wonder why.
And you will have one more opportunity to share the One – the Only One – Who can change the world.
One apple at a time.


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