by Cheryl Ericksen
(Wood Dale IL)

One of the not-so-good traits that show up in my family and possibly in yours as well is stubbornness and arrogance. It is serious and can derail our journey through life.

As parents we often tell our children that when they have children there will be “payback”. I thought you may enjoy a short story of payback that one of my daughters experienced who was known as a child to be quite stubborn.

Matt and Kelly were tired of the two oldest kids ages 7 and 4 always complaining about their dinner. They used to eat everything and recently had gotten quite fussy. There seemed to be always something at each meal that they did not like; One day it was the vegetables, the next the meat and so it went.

So the parents put their heads together and came up with a great scheme to teach the kids a lesson. We are intelligent people, let’s teach them a lesson they will not forget. They decided if they did not like the good foods that were prepared for them they would give them some “slop”. Slop is what you see in the movies when they show inmates/prisoners eating their meal. It’s colorless, tasteless and looks disgusting. So they went to the refrigerator and found some deli turkey meat, left over vegetables and some creamy farina. They threw it in the blender till it looked like soupy “slop”.

That night at dinner they served the two youngest children who do not complain about their meal; Tortellini, garlic bread and salad. Kelly and Matt then lovingly looked at the two offenders and said” we have something very special for you to eat”.

Since you do not care for the food that we serve we made you some “slop” and I expect you to eat it. They put it in front of them. The children both looked at it and knowing their parents were closely watching their reaction, without saying a word started to eat it; Very slowly and quietly.

Finally after 10 minutes or so the parents felt bad for the kids, and kindly said, if you would rather, you can have some of our tortellini. Without a shred of hesitation, they glanced at each other and said, no this is just fine.

Amazingly they would rather eat slop then admit they were wrong or let their parents know they had learned their lesson.

It is inherent in our nature, we do not want to be wrong or let others know they were right. Even to the point of eating slop. Kind of reminds me of the Prodigal Son story. The son did not return home until he was eating slop with the pigs.

Some times when the good things in life are removed we experience an “aha moment”. The things we complained and groaned about previously were not quite so bad after all.

The Bible verse that comes to mind is this: Isaiah 48:4 For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze.
Without a doubt I have a bronze forehead. . .

It is however not hopeless. For the Lord in his graciousness loves us anyways; Bronze forehead and all. He does not shield us from the ramification of stubbornness and pride but he walks along with us, helps us and teaches us His ways when we trust in Him. And it is His transforming love that can take a stubborn person and humble them that they may be used to bring glory to God.

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