Follow the Recipe: Dangers in trusting yourself.

I love spices. Years ago, I experimented around with spices and created a pizza sauce based loosely on my grandma’s rich spaghetti sauce. I don’t make it often. Each year, before the last performance of our school play, I make the cast and crew pizzas using this rather intense pizza sauce. Many students have told me they like it and the director has told me it’s almost too spicy.

But a very weird thing happened this year, I got a head cold or allergies or something. I’m not a doctor, but I know I have not been that congested in a long time. So, I pull open the drawer and use the recipe to make the sauce. I let it simmer a bit and then I taste it. To my horror, it tasted horrible—barely different from straight tomato sauce. What am I going to do?

I’ll be honest. It didn’t occur to me right away that I might be the problem and half of a tablespoon of Italian spices went in before I thought it through. But then it occurred to me, I knew I followed the recipe. I had carefully put in all the parts and it should have worked. Then I remembered the fact that I had so little ability to smell.

I tested it by eating straight garlic powder. Nothing, well, not much anyway. I was obviously impaired. I could trust one of two things but not both. I could trust my own senses or I could trust the recipe.

I’d like to say that it was an easy choice. But it wasn’t. I obviously knew that I couldn’t trust my own senses, but I tasted it a couple more times anyway. Nothing-bland tomato sauce. But I could smell the spices; I knew I had followed that recipe. I was hesitant all the way up to when I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to make the pizzas.

The recipe was right.

Later, I received a compliment from my picky nephew. It was the best pizza he had ever had. His dad verified that he had eaten three slices. The lesson that I could learn from this was not lost on me.

The Bible clearly tells us that we can’t trust ourselves. Proverbs 3:5-7 tells to instead trust God, not our own mind or perception. In other words, our hearts and minds are fouled up, like my congested nose. I couldn’t taste the spices I put in my sauce; I also can’t trust my own mind and heart to come up with what is truly right. I have to trust the recipe for my sauce and for my life.

The Bible bursts with warnings against what I call the biggest lie of Hollywood— “Follow your heart.” If I had made my sauce spicy to my own senses it would have truly been inedible. If I follow my own heart, I will do what is wicked-what will hurt me and the people around me.

As odd as comparing pizza sauce to scripture is, God taught me that I have to trust Him and His Word even when it doesn’t make sense to my senses. After all, I am a sinner, my senses are messed up. However, the recipe is perfect.

Danger of Anger

This morning I heard loud noises outside my window. I glanced out my apartment window. A young man in his early twenties was yelling and swearing at the top of his lungs. Apparently, his car wouldn’t start.

He stormed into his house, kicking his picket gate in as he did so. This did not get the car to start. It didn’t turn over when he came out and chucked a piece of the gate across the parking lot. When he stormed over to the car and cussed it out, it didn’t start. It did not start when he kicked it and punched it multiple times, I can’t image that either felt good to his hands and feet. The car still didn’t start when he slammed the door. Then he popped the trunk and to prove his level of irritation he started beating the car with his skateboard. The car still wouldn’t start. It didn’t start when he stared into the engine compartment for twenty seconds or when he slammed the hood and then punched it again.

Odd, if you think about it. All of his hostility, profanity, and actions didn’t help the situation at all. Each action only destroyed something of his. The gate to his house, the car, the skateboard were all damaged as a useless sacrifice to the man’s anger. His own hands and feet were hurt too.

There was one other thing he probably hurt. You see this young man wasn’t alone. He had a friend with him. This friend wasn’t screaming, wasn’t angry, but I thought to myself that had I been that man’s friend, I would have left. I can’t imagine that the young man’s temper made him any better a friend or that by going through this it made their friendship any stronger.

The Bible tells us not to make friendships with angry people. I don’t have to imagine what would happen if this man was angry with a person instead of a car. Our world is full examples of people who have been beaten or even killed by people’s rage. Do you think a wife or kid would have fared as well as the car after being beaten? The car is still sitting there, not bothered at all for its many “wounds.” A person treated the same way would be in the hospital.

I may be being unfair. After all, the man surely knew the difference between a car and a person. He surely would never hurt a person, you might say. Unfortunately, I can’t count on anything of the kind. I don’t know this man but too many examples exist when people hurt others with their anger.

The young man’s friend was hurt. Not physically, but the Bible says not to be friends with angry people because what you learn from them will be a trap for you too. (Pro22:24-25) It also says that angry people cause trouble and are soaking in sin. (Pro 29:22) To act like that man did today proves a person is not a good friend, not a safe spouse, and not a wise man.

Just something I learned today.