Friday, October 9, 2009

Fresh Spinach

"Taste and see that the Lord is good..."
Psalm 34:8a

I'm subscribed to several email daily devotional services, and I love getting God in my inbox every day. One of the devotions I read this morning talked about spinach, quoting the saying "Forgiveness is like spinach. You might not like the taste, but it's good for you."

This is how my mind works. I immediately thought 'But I like spinach -- you just don't know how to prepare it properly.' The writer went on to describe how hurt feelings had turned to anger and from anger to bitterness before she chewed on her spinach of forgiveness. It was an excellent devotional lesson about the need to forgive and the emotions that get in the way of forgiving those that hurt us. Except I kept thinking about the right way to prepare spinach.

Cooked, boiled, steamed, stewed spinach is nasty. It smells like old metal garbage cans. It's limp and slimy with the sort of mucilaginous texture garden slugs leave across sidewalks and the makers of paper mache strive for. Really, it's like wet kleenex.

But if you don't cook spinach, if you eat it fresh, it has a delightful green taste. Better than lettuce in a salad or on a sandwich, fresh baby spinach is substantive. Like 100% cotton resume paper instead of standard white copy paper. It's just richer somehow.

Which makes me think: Maybe the reason we find it hard to forgive those that hurt us is because we don't forgive when it's fresh. Maybe we boil, steam, and stew until forgiveness just looks nasty and unappetizing. If we find forgiveness difficult to swallow, could it be that we have prepared it wrong?

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