By Kristyn Woodworth at findingtheextrordinary.weebly.com
I have a love-hate relationship with pickles.
I love pickles!
Mmm, mmm, mmm! Salty, sour, dilly, garlicy, pickles are just a treat for the taste buds! Of course the traditional pickle, a pickled cucumber that comes from a large barrel at an old country store is the best, but other pickled things are amazing too—green beans, garlic, carrots, jalapeños! My mouth is totally watering just thinking about it. In fact, I don’t just love pickles; I like pickled flavored things too. Do you know what my weakness is, the sure way to capture my heart? Gift me with pickle flavored popcorn. Yes, that is totally a thing, and if you give me some, you will have won a friend for life!
I hate pickles!
Pickles scream failure to me. Early in our marriage, I made tuna salad for the first time, for my husband that is. I had already learned a fair amount of his picky habits when it came to food, so I thought I could manage this simple dish without too much trouble—Miracle whip not mayonnaise, no onions, no celery, no black pepper, and no cheating with relish (***Note: He eats black pepper now, not too much, but I no longer have to trick him with white pepper…I guess the secret is out). I opened and drained the tuna, put it into a bowl, mixed in the salad dressing, and got out my then favorite kitchen gadget, my mini chopper (my KitchenAid stand mixer has definitely taken its place as favorite), dropped in a few sweet pickles (no dill for my man), pulsed until they were finely chopped, and added them in. Done…success…but I was wrong! My husband did not like the dish. Fail! The pickles were not the right size. In fact, he requested that from there on out I chop pickles by hand for any recipe that included them, or he would likely not eat it. 13 years later, I am still chopping pickles. Fail! I’ve gotten him to tolerate black pepper but haven’t even attempted finely chopped pickles again.
Yes, silly as it may be, pickles stir up a variety of emotions for me. There are the positive emotions—excitement, satisfaction, happiness. Then there are the negatives—worthlessness (I don’t do failure very well, even something as small as tuna salad…I’m learning though…and of course it isn’t failure at all, just a difference in preferences, but sometimes our feelings lie), anger (at myself…Kristyn, just cut the pickles the way you want!), resentment (also my fault, I should have confronted my pickle problem long ago).
Hmmm…it occurs to me, pickles are like the cross. Yes, you read that right, pickles and the cross have something in common. Both stir up a variety of emotions.
The cross, blood stained from holding a battered man, is a reminder of what held Him there, not just the nails, but the sin. My sin. Being reminded of my sin conjures up all kinds of yucky emotions—pain, guilt, sadness, anger.
The cross, blood stained from holding a battered man, is a reminder of what held Him there, not just the nails, but the love. His love for me. Being reminded of his love for me overwhelms me with gratefulness, joy, peace, and hope.
Sometimes my great aversion to chopping up pickles overshadows my love for the delectable delicacy. Ok, pickles probably aren’t a delicacy, but you know what I mean. And just like that, sometimes the thoughts of my past, of my sin, of others’ sins against me overshadow the beauty of the cross. This is not how it should be.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
I am in Christ! He is in me! Grace has washed away my sin, given me power over sin, and broken the bondage that others’ sin had on me. It’s a new day! It is time for a new way!
Pickles don’t mean failure.
The cross doesn’t mean condemnation.
On this new day, in this new way Buckwheat from the Little Rascals says it best, “I love pickles! I’m crazy about ‘em!”
On this new day, in this new way the words of the old familiar hymn say it best:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share. (The Old Rugged Cross, George Bennard, 1913)