I love stories. So let’s tell one.
“One day, there was a family sitting down to a meal together…
Child: Dinner?! No!! I don’t want dinner I wanted treats!!!
Parent to child: I’m sorry, no treats today. Here are some vegetables I’ve steamed up for your body to grow healthy and strong.
Child: Ewwwww! Mean mommy and daddy!! Candy is yummy, vegetables are so gross!! Why can’t you just let me be happy, don’t you LOVE ME??
Parent to child: I love you so much that I am trying to help you learn things that don’t quite make sense to you yet. You see, your body is a gift. You only get one body, you can’t just get a new one. Some foods help our bodies to grow strong and keeps our bodies healthy to avoid being sick so much. Other foods slowly make our bodies more sick and even make our organs, body, and brain not work as well as they could. These foods also make can make us really hyper and then really tired, grumpy, and they can slow us down so we can’t run and play without it being really hard. These vegetables on your plate may not be the yummiest food you’ve ever eaten, but I know that they are the good kind of food. They contain things called vitamins, minerals and nutrients that strengthen your body and support a thing called your immune system which is what keeps you from getting sick so easily. This is just one kind of vegetables! There are soooo many amazing foods that work with your body to make it strong and healthy. I know that having a strong and healthy body will help you reach your fullest potential. You can be your best at being whatever you want to be- an athlete, a scientist, a teacher, a doctor, an artist, or a dancer because you will have learned how to give your body what it really needs to feed your brain and organs, skin and muscles all the things it needs to perform at its best abilities.
Child to parent: Vitamennnns and minerbles?? Ewww!! I can already run fast!! I’m not slow!! I want treats!!!!!!!
Parent to child: I know it’s hard to understand. I’m sorry you are frustrated. If you want, you can sit on my lap and I’ll play a silly game to help you eat your vegetables! One day you’ll know we set these rules about not eating treats for dinner, to help you in the long run. You’ll see. We do love you. We love you enough to teach you that life isn’t always just about being able to do what makes you happy according to what you understand right now.
Parents to each other: Consistency is key, says the father. When this child sees that we aren’t going to give in, learning will take place that this is the way it goes in our home. Maybe our sweet child will even find a few vegetables to enjoy before too long! Under moms soft, nurturing breath she whispers: It’s a good thing we started with steamed carrots, they are so sweet and soft. It wouldn’t be wise to give her some of our brussels right now, that’ll be a battle for another day when she has learned the value and importance of healthy eating through years of eating the milder and softer vegetables. (Smiles are exchanged) If we give in, or give up to these tantrums, how can this child learn to trust and listen to us? If I didn’t know or understand a concept and I looked to an educated source for answers, I certainly would NOT trust them if they kept changing their minds on the issue I was seeking solid answers to. Would you? (Thoughtful nods in agreement).
Dinner guest to parents: Oh boy, you two! See how miserable your child is? Don’t you see that you are causing these fights? You are bringing this misery upon yourselves! Why the contention? That is not what you preach! What did this child do to deserve this from you? You are not making your child happy right now, do you think this child feels your unconditional love from you, at this very moment? (Screams from child) ….
You know there’s another way, right? You know you are being very closed-minded. You are acting like you’re living in the 19th century or beyond. This is the 20th century. Things have changed!! I’m telling you this because I want happiness for you and your child. Do you really like having these ‘talks’ with your child, does dealing with these tantrums bring YOU the happiness YOU deserve? And not only that, do you honestly think that this kid understands you? No way, they don’t! We all just witnessed that! Your teaching is in vain. Stop being the “mean mommy and mean daddy” that this sweet and innocent child now thinks you to be. You see, we can really have it all now days! We have medicines for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, we have less invasive surgery for heart attacks and stints for clogged arteries, relatively quick and painless outpatient surgeries to correct obesity, cancer is being cured more often than ever before, we have chocolate bars and shakes you can buy that help you lose unwanted weight, we have steroids and caffeine to help you perform past your current capabilities, and we even have ‘apps’ to do much of your thinking for you! Who knows, by the time your child is an adult, they might be able to ‘be a doctor’ by telling a computer which surgery to perform on which patient all while they get to play video games during the procedures! Isn’t it so exciting? Get with the program and join the modern world, would you? It’s almost embarrassing to be around people who still parent like you, in today’s world… Happiness and peace, that’s all I want for you guys! -Hey kid! I hate this nasty food too! I haven’t touched it either. Want to eat some of the candy I brought with me? (Smiles and instant happiness replace the tears)
Parents to dinner guest: That is not ultimate freedom or lasting happiness for body and mind. If you’d like, we would love to teach you more about healthy living, and the offer is always yours to dine with us every night where we can offer you a nutritiously prepared meal as our welcomed guest. However, we would ask you in all our good graces, if you are uninterested in partaking of the good nutrients we would happily provide you, in exchange for the foods we know to be doing either no good or slowly causing harm, to please not come to our home offering candy at meal times. You of course have the right to eat how you choose in your home. We want you to know that regardless of how you choose to eat at home, that you are always welcome here among our family, but please, keep the candy at home.
I know this “story” is dramatized. Obviously. It’s less of a story actually, and much more of an analogy. In my life’s studying, I find that taking things out of the current context, while still appling the current principles, helps to remove ourselves from our pain and misunderstanding. It is my understanding, like represented in this story, that there is much danger in saying that to love and be loved means people need to get/be given their way according to their desires that honor only their current thought processes/knowledge. It is NOT unloving to yourself, or of God to His children, to expect to learn sacrificing our desires for something much greater. He wants us unfettered and unspotted from this world, to rise to become something we cannot fathom or comprehend in our current state of mind. He wants us to inherit all that He has, that’s how loving He is. We are here to learn to choose for ourselves. Will we make choices based on our desires and our own limited understanding? Will we throw “temper tantrums” when God via His prophets- current and ancient days- ask us to do hard things? Or will we choke it down having faith that we don’t know all things, submitting our will to trust in loving parents who do? Do we recognize that our Heavenly parents are there? Patient, loving, unconditionally merciful, full of grace and truth in dealing with the errors of mankind. Do we choose to dine with them? To learn to love their teachings and doctrine one ‘vegetable’ at a time? Do we believe that they prepare up the easiest and sweetest veggies to start to develop our tastes for it, knowing that they are competing with a world of sugar? Do we see value in a wise parent letting this child get used to a healthy diet with sweeter vegetables, holding off the more ‘acquired tastes’ vegetables until we are more ready to accept them? Is this lying or trickery of the parents? Or do we find ourselves barely eating the carrots and hearing our parent say “This is just one vegetable my child. There are so many more good foods for you when you are more ready to accept them.” Were we really deceived, or being carefully taught by our merciful God? Or perhaps, is the deception instead found within the greedy, money hungry, supportive of addiction creating, companies who developed these ways to pretend to be helping you “have it all”, but rather the simple truth is they have capitalized on this, and have learned to glut and feed off our self-loving, self-centered desires???? Would a person who has never, or very rarely, subjected themselves to eating nutritiously, only eating according to current pleasure and banking on the arm of the flesh to fix whatever problems might come their way as result of this lifestyle, be the one to seek advice on healthy living? Perhaps, not knowing of what it feels like to be completely healthy in body and mind, knowing only what it’s like to take advantage of shortcuts to dietary shortcomings, this is all they know and so far it is working out ok for them? Are they the expert in the importance of sacrificing for true nutrion? If you are having a hard time swallowing harder doctrine (the brussel sprouts), would it be wise to seek guidance and support from this person (the dinner guest) or from God directly (the parents)? If you have left the offering of the Lord, or never allowed yourself to partake, and then later stormed into His house, grabbed His plate and tried to eat the assortment of brussels, asparagus, peppers, and beets, would you really be able to proclaim to the world how delicious and desirable they were, if previously your palate had grown accustomed only to artificially sweet things? Perhaps His only defense to the world you have just mocked Him in front of, would be, “Oh, children everywhere, who do partake of things which I know have consequence to you, please know that my tastes are different than yours. I know it seems bitter to you, which is why it is easy for you to reject. However, I can promise you that if you let me feed you, if you dine with us, you will have what your souls do truly yearn for: an everlasting, unfailing way to true happiness, peace, and love beyond measure. Sit, We have prepared a nutritious meal with a plate specifically made for you. We know what things are to your liking, Can I sit right beside you, or hold you in my arms, to help you feel of our love while we help you to change your previous diet into something much more fulfilling to body and soul? We are here for you, we know it is very hard but we promise it is worth it.”
I do not believe that the way to be open minded is by doing what is currently trendy or happening all around us. Perhaps, not taking counsel and advice from truths we’ve been given for centuries and centuries before, and instead only looking to what feels good and true in the here and now, is the most close minded thing we could ever do.
“Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” “No man can serve two masters.”
Who is your master? You/flesh? Or God? You still might be tempted to serve you and the ways of man. I know it feels easier right now, less complicated, and more ‘free’. Instant happiness is offered everywhere to stop our tears from our frustrated state of not knowing what God knows. You can mlikely navigate yourself through the ups and downs and get along just fine for this life. But if it’s God you choose, He will navigate you through the ups and downs- and spoiler alert- He guides with things He can see that we cannot. He KNOWS YOU and knows all- from the end to the beginning and back around again. He knows why the unchanging doctrine that He has laid before us IS TRUTH and is the best thing for us in the eternal scheme of things.
Not always the yummiest, no, or the easiest thing to slide down your throat, but full of nutrients to keep us healthy, safe, and strong to reach our truest, fullest capabilities and reap everlasting joy. Sure, man can try to imitate that, but what would happen if one day, it all stopped or ran out? No more medicine, no more lifesaving surgeries, no more chocolate weight loss foods, no more corrective procedures, and what if, what if, there were no more of the treats that we’ve grown so accustomed to? Where will happiness be then? Where will the future of living dreams be then? Those dreams would be taken away. The dream to eat how you wanted, utilize modern advancements to look and perform how a healthy person can, use artificial supplements to be even better or faster than the said healthy people, be lazy and get paid for it, indulge in desires without consequence, not have to butt heads with your children or anybody else because there’s believe in the dream that everybody can get what they want, when and how they want it. Because selfishly and foolishly that’s how love has been dreamed to be defined. Well. Ask yourself seriously. What happens when it’s taken away? Will you be happy then? You will not have spent your life preparing and training your body and mind to sacrifice your appetites to achieve the ultimate desired results. You attempted to shortcut and cheat the “successful” outcomes. You customized and tailor-made the rules and laws you wanted to live your life by. Where is your will power? Where is your trust? Where is true happiness? If you still believe happiness is founded upon the flesh of man, so be it.
“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Perhaps speaking of a time foreseen when man’s methods will have failed us and left us without strength or support, regardless of how heavy and hard we have labored in support of the flesh. Would you feel nourished by His good food in this, your desperate day? “Why wait?” And “It is NEVER too late” He asks and offers the same to all, no matter where you have spent your days laboring, or which master to whom you have served.)
– Jesus the Christ, the Redeemer of our souls, the Prince of Peace.