Friday, March 23, 2012

Chocolate Milk

Two, tiny bottles of chocolate milk.

It was two, tiny bottles of chocolate milk.

And I considered selling my soul to the Devil himself.

Well, alright, it wasn't actually that dramatic. I'm saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8) and nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:39) and my Jesus isn't going to let Satan have my soul. But I struggled with my flesh over chocolate milk. An inner tug of war raged as I debated, always fairly certain I would do the right thing but with just enough disbelief in myself that I couldn't know for sure.

I've been saved by grace through faith since I was seven years old. That's 23 years of walking with the Lord and, still, the battle between the world and my God continues.

My boys love getting gift cards, especially to McDonald's. Yesterday I used the last of a stash of cards we'd been hoarding and treated the boys to Happy Meals after our trip to the grocery store. For Matthew, a hamburger (bugah, as he says it) and, for Garrett, a four piece nugget meal. For both of them, I ordered chocolate milk. As the woman behind the register rang me up, the man behind her placed two milks on the counter. I picked them up and put them into one of my grocery bags.

As I waited for the food, the woman turned, opened the refrigerator, and grabbed two milks. She put them down on the counter. It was not yet noon and the McDonald's inside the Walmart was pretty slow. I didn't figure the elderly woman in line behind me had ordered two chocolate milks. "It'll be just a minute on the fries," the man told me. I smiled and nodded.

Just a minute.

Just a minute for me to long, almost desperately, for a conscience that would allow me to steal those extra milks. I rationalized.

Don't steal. I thought. Although, for some reason, it came down all Kings James authoritative-like, Thou shall not steal. Hmmm, interesting, I thought, my conscience speaks King James. I always thought of my conscience as more of an NIV or a NKJV kind of girl. Is my conscience a girl? Hmmm. Deep thoughts. Stealing. Oh, right. Stealing.

It's not actually stealing. It's just taking what they are more than willing to give, the devil on my shoulder said. Leviticus 19:11 says that you shall not deal falsely, the angel on my other shoulder said. They won't know. It's mere pennies to a corporation like McDonald's, the devil said. You're gonna do that? You're going to sin against God and Ronald McDonald by taking chocolate milk? Really? You're pathetic, the angel contradicted and then punched the devil off my other shoulder. This is how I know it was all a figment of my twisted imagination. I don't think angels go around punching things. Although, to be fair, I've never had an actual conversation with an angel--to my knowledge--so I really have no idea what they'd do if provoked.

The man set the order right next to those two, creamy, chocolate milks on the counter. I walked forward, each step feeling like I had lead attached to my legs. "She didn't know you'd already given me the milks," I said. "So you can go ahead and put those back." Even though my inner monologue said something like, You can just go ahead and put those right here in my hands.

The war between the flesh and the Spirit is no laughing matter. Sure, I could have rationalized that I didn't have the intent to steal anything but my deceitfulness would have been sin enough and my conscience wouldn't have liked that very much.

Did I do the right thing? Yes.

Did I feel good about it? No.

Because really, deep down, I was simply appalled that after 23 years in a relationship with the Savior of the Universe, I considered the option of choosing to sin. And for what?

For two, tiny bottles of chocolate milk.

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