Ed, my neighbor next door, almost passed out from shock when I took him a huge piece of my birthday cake. I wish I could confess that it was solely a generous offer of sharing. The sorry truth is that I had to get rid of its temptation before I ate more of it. We have been on a diet for what seems like years only to experience a miracle for my birthday. My wife baked a chocolate cake that smelled wonderful baking and looked too good not eat, even without icing. I like to blame the torture and starvation of the diet as to why I had a piece of cake hot from the oven and then more pieces for lunch and supper and before bed. On my birthday, I ate nearly half of my birthday cake.
Needless to say, I suffered with a restless sleep and a rolling stomach from eating too much cake. The day after my birthday, as I struggled to wake up with my coffee, I spotted Ed from my kitchen window, outside his garage door smoking a cigarette. I knew in an instance of revelation that I was a cake addict just like Ed was a cigarette one. I had to take drastic measures with the cake or I’d eat my way to the return of the pounds I’d lost on my diet. I cut the remaining half a cake in half, put one part in the freezer and rushed the other half over to Ed as a gift.
I should have known Ed would be suspicious. He was certain I must have baked the cake. He thought it must taste terrible and I was trying to play a trick on him. He had to phone and check with my wife that I didn’t make the cake. Convinced it was safe to eat, he had a small piece and then two more while I drank a coffee and watched him eating the cake calories that had been tempting me. Ed was still suspicious about the sudden gift of cake, but was considering eating a bit more cake as I left him in his kitchen. Unexpected gifts to other folks do tend to confound and confuse them.
I know trying to give temptation away is a poor way of dealing with it. To some, the temptation to overeat cake or have a cigarette or two isn’t worth considering. Temptations always come with the label “No big deal.” For me, a little overeating here and there can mean pounds on the scale. One cigarette usually means many more – like a pack or two a day. Self control is very easy when we are not tempted by cake or a cigarette.
We spot other people being run over and spit out by temptations that don’t entice us, but we aren’t as aware about the temptations that trip us up. There is a part of us that desires what is not good for us. It is easy to welcome temptation as its consequences show up later. I wanted cake, not more pounds. Ed wanted a cigarette, not breathing problems. We ask God to help us see beyond the lie that temptation is “no big deal.”