I confess: I have sinned repeatedly for years about something silly and selfish. I am what they call a “picky eater.” I could almost be the poster child for that disease. Since I was young, with little or no regard for my family and acquaintances, I have refused to eat a large variety of foods, from cheese (the worst offender, except on pizza) to beans to fish and beyond. No food group escapes the wrath of my preferences unscathed.
Needless to say, this easily grew into a selfish monster. For years I have inconvenienced my poor mother, and insulted (albeit unintentionally) many others, with my disdain of all foods that do not acceptably please my palate. The sensations I felt on my taste buds trumped the well-being of those near me. If there was ever a persistent sin that knows how to disguise itself, this would be the one. After all, I’m just a “picky eater.” That’s normal. There are plenty of people like that, and I’m not really doing anything to anyone.
How much I was wrong.
This has never become more apparent than since getting married. Now, I have been aware of my need to change these ways for a couple of years, but marriage makes the need seem all the more pressing. I have a wife who wants to cook for me and eat out with me. My limited tastes can be an issue, and they hurt her sometimes. This breaks my heart, and by grace God has used this to really make me confront this sin of selfishness in my life. No amount of pain or even inconvenience for others is worth sparing my taste buds some discomfort. Yet now I must fight hard. An entire childhood and adolescence of carelessly shrinking my tastes and refusing to try anything for anyone has left me in a very difficult place, because there are so many foods I dislike, and some of them because of my own ridiculousness in the past can even provoke physical reactions from me. All this gets in my way as I try to expand my tastes for the benefit of my wife and others I meet, so that I can stop letting selfishness eclipse God’s love as seen by others from my life. So the battle for repentance is tough. I am reaping what I have sown, paying the consequences now for the sins of my past. Praise God that He forgave them already in Christ Jesus!
So my advice to the rest of you is this: don’t make my mistake. If you don’t like something–anything–that is a matter of personal preference, be proactive about sacrificing your pleasure for the good of others. This will keep you from developing a stronghold of selfishness that will take a wrecking ball to tear down later. You don’t have to like everything, and you don’t even have to always participate in or consume everything you don’t like. Whatever you do, though, don’t let your dislikes become sin. If Jesus avoided what He disliked instead of loving us to the extreme, we would be dead in our sins and condemned. Calvary would not have happened if Jesus were as picky as me.