Hey, sugar! No, not you! We certainly hope you’re a sweet person, but today we’re referring to that granulated stuff on the kitchen counter: table sugar; brown sugar, confectioners sugar … shoog-er! (Ah, honey, honey!) Sugar is one of those things that make life more enjoyable. If you’ve had a hard day, there’s nothing quite like something sweet to bring a little cheer. And sugar manages to find itself in a variety of foods, including items you’d never suspect, such as canned green beans!
Sugar dates back to ancient times, but because it wasn’t always plentiful or affordable, most people sweetened with honey, instead. But now sugar is everywhere. In fact, the world produces over 200 million metric tons of sugar each year. And the average person consumes about 53 pounds (24 kilograms) of it annually. Face it, we prefer things in life to be sweet.
One morning we were about to have our extra-dark coffee, along with our daily time of praise and worship, and we got an eye-opening revelation: we forgot the sugar! We both took one sip of the brew and then made faces at each other. It was bitter as quinine! Not that either of us has ever tasted quinine, mind you, but it is a familiar expression. How can something so tasty WITH sugar be so horrible WITHOUT it? Now, we know some of you probably do like it black, but we prefer a teaspoon of sugar. Or honey. Or Splenda. Or Stevia. Or SOMETHING!
There’s a lot of truth to the song actress Julie Andrews sang in Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins: “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!” And ya know what? Love is the spiritual sugar of life! A little love can help us swallow even the most bitter pills of everyday existence. This is important to remember. If you’ve ever had to confront someone with the truth, then you probably know this. The unvarnished truth can be painful. Truth forces us to face facts … about ourselves and our choices. Truth — in essence, the Word of God — is like a brightly lit mirror that exposes all our flaws. And a little reassurance in the form of love makes facing the truth much easier to handle! That’s why the Bible commands us to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)
Part of speaking the truth is sharing the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. By all means, do this in love. After all, God is Love (1 John 4:7), and salvation is about His love for us. (John 3:16) We need to be able to communicate this love in our attitudes and actions, as well as in our words. As a matter of fact, everything we do — whether correcting a child or discussing a problem (or a controversial issue) with a spouse, friend, or coworker — should always be done in love. No matter how right you are, no matter how justified your actions, if you fail to respond in love, then you lose the “high ground”! Hence, there’s a good chance you’ll lose the “argument” — so to speak.
If you confront someone with the truth, but do it in anger, that person will mostly see only your anger. You may be right, but you get no points because you lost control. And if the other guy stays calm, guess who looks “wrong” in this situation? Of course, we should never approach sharing truth as an opportunity to be right. Getting out the truth isn’t about “Aha, I’m right and you’re wrong!” That’s PRIDE! God wants us to share the truth in LOVE — not pride. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2 NIV)
So, walk in love — and humility. As the old saying goes: “You can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.” Love will win people over, not anger or arrogance. Be a sweet soul, not a bitter or sour one. Get God’s sugar — er, love — in your heart and life. “…Above all things have fervent love among yourselves: for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 King James 2000)