By Tonya Cherry
Love is…. Eating it burnt, shutting it closed and ignoring the stain…
I have a ton of little devotional books. There’s one in every bathroom, there’s one in every glove box and several next to each bed. I read something in one of these devotionals a while ago and it really stuck with me. I wish I knew which book it was so I could give the author credit but I don’t and there’s just too many to sort through. I also don’t remember the main idea but what stuck with me is this anecdote.
A man sat down to breakfast as his wife laid down his plate. There on the plate was two fried eggs and two pieces of burnt toast. He hated it when this happened. She knew he hated anything overcooked. As he got ready to remind her of this, he realized something and stopped himself; she had not burnt the toast on purpose and complaining about it was not going to unburn the toast but it was going to hurt her. He realized that pointing out what she had done wrong was not loving her well. So rather than saying a word, he ate the toast.
Now when I hear someone point out an errand that was simply forgotten or a household task that had been completed in a rush, I remember that devotional. I find myself muttering “burnt toast” often, when I hear a critical comment that was not constructive or rooted in teaching.
Do all the little things that are not done in the way we prefer, really need to be pointed out?
Do we need to mention that they bought the wrong brand or left the door ajar? They may have a good reason for folding socks differently or stacking the dishes high on the counter. They may have already noticed the spot on the rug from their spill and feel very bad about it. They probably cringed when they realized that they forgot to run an errand because they know that it will be brought up at dinner. The worst is when they are not aware of the “mistake” and then it is pointed out and not only does this not fix it, it crushes their spirit.
Relationships should be building up, not tearing down. Loving is not about demanding that your needs be met. Loving is about making sure that you meet needs. It’s not about telling them the little things they do wrong, it’s about looking for all the little things they did. It’s about using the wrong brand once in a while or just pushing a door closed when you find it ajar. It is about quietly eating toast, even if it’s burnt.
Encourage one another and build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11