But most people think we're nuts. Foolish. Someone recently stated on FB, "Call me weird...but I don't restrict my kids from any foods. Our huge bowl of candy is out in the open and hasn't been touched in four days. They only want/go crazy for that which they can't have. I never have to worry about what they eat or how they act when I'm not around. Everything in moderation is our motto."
My first thought after I read this was, "Who is the bigger fool? The fool or the fool who follows him?" Not really appropriate but you can't go wrong with a good Star Wars quote!
But it did make me pause to think. What is moderation? We have 2 hypoglycemics in our household so sugar moderation is very different here.
One of my friends said she let her kids have a few pieces, like we did, and tossed the rest. All her friends went nuts! Like she was doing a disservice not contributing to rotten teeth and childhood obesity! I think having a couple pieces then tossing the rest IS moderation. But apparently my children not having cake at a birthday party makes me the equivalent to Mama Hitler. So what are the adults that say no, diet Nazi's?
It just seems like we're all so focused on pleasure that we can't be swayed from it even if it is proven to be a terrible thing for us. There are some things that are just black and white but rather than take a stand we say, "It's complicated." Really? OK. sugar is toxic to the human body. It essentially poisons you and acts like a drug (similar to cocaine) in the brain. But to say no to my kids when they ask for a candy bar in the store is complicated? No, the truth is that I want a pack of Reeces Pieces so if I say yes to them, I can eat mine in piece and not have to share it!
How can it be moderation when every trip to the grocery store, our carts are full of sugary cereals and other fake foods? Our excuse is, "my kids have a fit and won't eat healthy foods". Well, that doesn't really fly because frankly, your kids will eat what's on their plates if they get hungry enough. Our son has some serious food issue due to food deprivation at an early age. Should I tell him he can have what he wants and let him continue to depend on food for comfort? Should I tell him, just eat in "moderation" and hope he understands?
When our kids first came to us they were used to a sugary, junk food filled diet. Sure they had things like spaghetti, hamburgers, pork chops, etc. But that was once a day at dinner. Healthy food was given in moderation, junk all the rest of the day. Sure he and Lydia balked when I gave them only whole wheat bread, made the try avocado, and eat 2 pieces of raw broccoli. Sure they fussed when I told them I don't EVER buy candy and treats at the grocery store. They had to learn that the word "no" IS and answer, despite their desire for a yes!
So I'm partial to the whole no sugar argument. Let's take a different subject. Can an alcoholic or drug addict use "in moderation"? No is the only answer there, and if they are honest with themselves, they know it. How about honesty. If my child lies to me "in moderation", it's still lying. Should I condone it? And where is the line between my kid "moderately" misbehaving and being a pain in the back side? What about pornography. As a wife, are you OK with your husband looking at it "in moderation"? I could keep going. But in our society, when a person says, "There is no gray area in this topic. It's either this or this." We consider them intolerant. Especially if we disagree with them.
When you put things in a Christian perspective, God did not say should, maybe, or will you think about it, when he stated things in his word. Jesus called us to be the salt and the light to the world. He came that we might have more life and live it fully. But somehow, instead we think I'll just do things in moderation. Wow, are we missing out! Jesus came to give us MORE life! Richer, fuller, more exciting. But we'd rather live in the gray areas of moderation.
But where does moderation give way to excess? Where is the line that I stepped over that finds me out of shape and 30 lbs heavier than I know I should be. It was invisible. I wasn't paying attention. Which cookies or slice of pizza did it? Which time that I decided not to exercise stopped it for good?
When God gave the Ten Commandments, none of them began, "Maybe you shouldn't..." "Thou shalt..." It's a command. An order. But we seem to think that those rules shackle us too much. If we just live in moderation things will be fine. Ever see a young child run from their parents? They are running to what they perceive as freedom. Every adult around instead sees the bigger picture. The car coming straight at the child. The drop to a cement walkway at the bottom of the wall they are running along. We take in things they don't see and we realize that our safe boundaries, however restricting feeling to the child, are freeing in that we put them in a place they can run and not get hurt.
God is our heavenly parent and he sees things we can't see. Our perspective isn't the same. In Corinthians, it says our bodies are a temple. The temple in Jerusalem was the most holy place. Equating my body to that, certainly changes my perspective! Shouldn't I steer away from things that are just "pleasurable" but don't actually do good for me?
I Corinthians 6:12, 19-20 12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Now I know I'm gonna make some enemies on this one (even more than by not letting my kids have sugar)! But, there are millions of women right now (notice it's almost entirely women) who are addicted to the whole Twilight series. To the extent that they will stay up to go to a middle of the night showing. Hmm. Sort of like relational porn for women. But other than lusting after another man, what exactly does all of that do for you that's good? Isn't lusting after him the same as committing adultery in our hearts and minds? I wonder. I'm not knocking you if that's you, I've been there too, just another book, a different movie. Many of them.
See that's Satan's trick. Make it look so innocent, moderate, that it seems harmless. But after the movie we drive home to our messy house, our complaining kids, and our once fit hubby who needs to lose a few pounds and snores. Discontent. The more Edwards we lust after, the less our own husbands satisfy. The more our own marriages and lives seem to fall short. So we go to the fridge and pull out the soother of our choice (wine, ice cream, pizza). The next day we look at our sagging chest, our expansive waist line and sigh.
How does all that glorify God? It doesn't. So just like we have to tell our children NO (and some people should do it more frequently!) we have to begin telling ourselves no too.
Here's the awesome part though. If you ask Him, God will help you say no. He wants your life to be full of joy! He wants you to be free from anything that could have a hold on you. He wants you to have true freedom, safely in His arms. What is it that you are putting in your body/mind/heart that is unhealthy for you? What are you with holding from your body/mind/heart that it desperately needs?
So ask him today.