Rotten Potatoes And Dangerous Bugs


I love potatoes. The other day I prepared a couple small potatoes to “bake.” Actually I pop them into the microwave and a few minutes later, out come baked potatoes. But first I had to wash them.

As I’m working, I’m assessing the quality of these potatoes. They looked great. The skins cleaned up really nicely and I couldn’t see any bad spots that needed to be cut out. Last part of the prep work was to cut off a bit of the ends so they could breath. That’s when I saw the dark spots. as I cut out the offending matter, more dark spots appeared. And more.

Suddenly my little potatoes were even littler.

Reminded me of a home grown potato a friend gave me a number of months ago. A very large red potato. Actually several, and I’d already enjoyed the others. So I was looking forward to having this one—or at least a part of it. This was one big potato.

I washed it, cut off the ends, and once again, some little bad spot appeared. As I cut away, the bad spot grew and grew, and as I made my way toward the center, it was apparent the potato was completely rotten.

But it had looked good and felt firm. What had I missed? No rotten potato smell. Really, no clue until I cut my way into the heart of the potato.

So, at this point, I’m reminded of Jesus saying the Pharisees were cleaning the outside of cups when the inside was filthy.

Yep, my potatoes reinforced that.

But it also reminded me of bugs. Not sure how I got there initially, but stay with me. There is a connection.

Some bugs . . . well . . . bug, but in the end they aren’t a real threat. Oh, yes, like pretty much everything they can carry germs, but ants and fruit flies and even house flies are more annoying than anything else. They actually don’t look dangerous, and they aren’t, so most people are not afraid of them. They are just bugged.

Then there are bugs like the earwigs. I’ve written about them before, mentioning that, despite their appearance, they really are mostly harmless. Yes, they can pinch and they insert themselves in many unwanted places. But they don’t inject poison, and I’m not aware of an particular diseases they cause.

The third category is the one with evil looking bugs that actually are dangerous. Although scorpions are technically in the category of Arachnida instead of insect, I believe they fall into the class of bugs.

I also know that there are a number of scorpions that are only mildly poisonous, but my encounter with them when I was in Africa was with the most deadly kind. They weren’t very big—maybe a quarter of the size of the one pictured—but they didn’t have to be to kill you.

Finally, there are bugs like ticks. They aren’t intimidating at all. Fleas might be in that same category. They are little and not scary to look at. But ticks can carry Lime Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Those can kill. They can debilitate. Of course, fleas can carry rabies and even the Bubonic Plague.

All that to say, a person can’t simply look at a bug and make a determination which one is the most dangerous. Some that look innocent, are. Some that look dangerous, aren’t. Some that look dangerous, are; and some that look innocent, aren’t.

Humans are a lot the same, which I think may have played a part in Jesus saying we aren’t to judge others. Because, while it’s true that God can see our hearts, we humans can only see the externals. And the externals don’t really tell us much.

What we do know from God’s word is that people are made in God’s image. What’s more, God loves the world. Sadly, not everyone loves Him back. Some, as David says in Psalm 139, speak against God wickedly and have made themselves His enemies.

Shockingly, David said, sort of in protection of God, that he hated those people back and had made them his enemies.

I’ve thought about this a lot. I suppose David was in a position to “legislate morality.” He could permit or outlaw idols and idol worship. He could enforce the Mosaic Law about blasphemy, or not.

But none of that applies to the Christian. Because the truth is, God saves sinners. Ones that look innocent and aren’t as well as the deadly ones that look evil.

When it comes down to it, we all carried around the attitude of hating God—until we didn’t. Until we realized that we could have peace with God because Jesus stood in our place and received God’s just and righteous penalty for our sins.

So when I see someone who hates God, my response, I think should be different from David’s. First, God doesn’t need me to protect Him—He’s capable of doing that Himself. Second, Paul said we don’t wrestle or fight against “flesh and blood”—against other human beings. Rather, our fight is against spiritual forces.

Since I can’t see someone’s heart, the best approach is to see a person who has set himself against Christ or who has ignored or denied God, as a captive in the spiritual war. The enemy of our souls might be using him, but he needs to be freed from his enslavement to sin.

Even the deadly and dangerous bugs that look deadly and dangerous, can have their stinger removed.

Scorpion photo by Sippakorn Yamkasikorn from Pexels

Published in: on July 27, 2020 at 5:19 pm  Comments (2)  
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