Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. –Proverbs 15:17
As children, my sister and I were required to finish all the vegetables on our plate before we could have any dessert. I recall one night when my sister looked at our mom and, in a very matter-of-fact manner, stated that she would throw up if she had to have one bite of the string beans. Our mom insisted she have at least one bite or no dessert. Knowing ice cream was within reach, my sister held her nose and tried to force down a tiny bite of string beans. The moment she swallowed, true to her word, her entire meal ended up back on the table–not a pleasant moment at our dinner table!
Proverbs 15:19 reads, “the path of the upright is a highway.” The path of a Christian does not always seem easy. There are times when Christians have to stomach unpleasant situations, people, or circumstances, but today’s Scripture assures us that this is better than the alternative. Compared to hatred, discord, envy, or greed, the path of a Christian is smooth with open road ahead. Compared to the temporary pleasures and a life that looks only to please oneself, the life of a Christian focuses on the long term and, in the end, the reward is greater.
A meal of vegetables is not always the most pleasant choice. But as we all have learned, it is in vegetables that we find essential nutrients for a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle. So while they are not always pleasant at the time, in the long term, vegetables are just what our body needs. The same is true with love. It is better to live a life built on the foundation of love, than to get carried away in the rocky roads of hatred.
My family still looks back on that meal and laughs until we cry. It has become one of our most endearing memories, not because of what my sister went through, but because we shared it with each other.
1. How does loving someone change your tolerance or actions toward that person?
2. Have you experienced a time when you reacted in love for someone who did not deserve it? How did they react? How did you feel?
Proverbs 15:17-19; Proverbs 17:1; 1 Peter 4:8