Then Glen said to me, "I don't think the meat in that chili is good. Taste it."
Now I have never been one to want to taste anything that is introduced as not being good. However, I knew he was depending upon my opinion on the matter, so I picked up a spoonful and gingerly took a bite.
It didn't taste overtly bad, but it didn't taste quite right either. "I'm not sure," was my answer to his unspoken question.
"That's my answer right there," he replied, "if you're not sure, then it goes out." And he tossed the entire pot of chili into the trash.
Neither one of us wanted to throw out the chili. We didn't want to lose what the chili had cost us monetarily, we didn't want to have to replace the chili with something else, and the chili just looked too good to discard. But we also didn't want to serve something to our friends which might be harmful to them, or even simply unpleasant for them to eat.
Years ago, the son of some of our best friends, who has become a wonderful friend in his own right, gave in our Bible Study the most profound explanation of how Satan works in our lives. (If you receive The Special of the Day. . .From the Orange Moon Cafe which my husband writes, you will have already read this story.)
The then ten-year-old Sterling said, "Satan makes good things look bad and bad things look good." There can be no more succinct or profound statement made of the way our enemy temps to distract, deceive and discourage us.
Our chili looked good. It smelled good. But it was bad.
There are things we will find in our lives which look good on the outside. They may smell good. Everything about them may offer a positive presentation. But there may be something -- maybe we can't even tell what -- that makes us uneasy, that gives us a check down deep in our spirits. The mature Christian listens to that uneasiness, he learns to listen to that still, small voice deep inside.
"But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." Hebrews 5:14
The writer of Hebrews defines for us the mature Christian. He is one who has grown enough to eat "strong meat" or one who has delved into the more intricate matters of doctrine given to us in the Scriptures. Time in this Scriptures has matured him, the Word hidden in his heart, and the Holy Spirit residing within him lead him to "discern both good and evil."
In Sterling's terms, the mature Christian can see past what merely looks good and see that there is something there not quite right. He can look at something the world calls evil and see the true good within. Simply put, he can tell that the chili is bad.
When we encounter those things in life that don't pass the taste test, we must be willing to chuck out the chili, as it were, from our lives. We must be willing to call the bad things bad and the good things good.
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."