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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Undercooked Brownies

A few weeks ago, I decided to bake some brownies to bring to a friend’s house. “This shouldn’t be too hard,” I thought. However, when they were out of the oven and just about cool, I started cutting into them to find the disappointing truth: I undercooked them. I guess I am not the greatest baker after all.

The funny thing about undercooked brownies is you don’t know they are undercooked until the moment you cut into them and the still gooey batter is revealed as it sticks to your cutting knife. Sure you can do the toothpick trick before you take them out of the oven to try and get a hint whether they are done or not (which I did by the way and still managed to undercook them), but you never truly know the full story until the moment you cut into them.

This may be a stretch, but I think this is true of people too – you can never really know the full truth about someone until you figuratively “cut into them.” So many times in life, we assume we know everything about a person without even talking to them. “That mom must want to pull her hair out taking care of those crazy kids every day,” we ponder. “Their job sounds amazing, they must be really well off.” Or we even go as far as to thinking something along the lines of, “at least we are better off than this person because they are struggling with ________ (fill in the blank, you get the idea). You see, comparing and assuming things about people can ultimately lead to us finding a way to prove we are better than someone else. It makes us feel better about ourselves without actually hurting anyone because we never say what we are thinking out loud. My pastor from my church has a three-step plan for humility, and one of them is “never presume.” If we want to work towards humility, we should hold back from assuming something to be true of someone else. We should stop assuming we know someone without “cutting into them”, without hearing the full story.

When I cut into my brownies just to find that they were underdone, it left me frustrated and even a little confused. “I worked too hard for imperfection,” I thought. “I followed all of the directions correctly and I still didn’t get the results I was hoping for.”

This too relates to us struggling with humility: we just want something to show to others so they can say, “you did a good job” or simply, “you are great.” We think if we follow the directions perfectly, everything should turn out, and then we will receive the praise we think we deserve. We know deep in our hearts this isn’t true, because life just isn’t that simple or perfect, but we still talk ourselves into thinking this way. But as we grow in Christ and strive to be more humble, the truth will soak in, the truth that states we don’t need perfect results or to receive praise from others to feel that we are doing something right.

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

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