Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV
Drawing Moisture from Bread
This weekend, I made a batch of cookies from scratch. When I grabbed one of the bags of brown sugar from my pantry, I felt hard, dried clods of sugar, rocklike and impenetrable. Trying to break them down with my hands, or even a kitchen mallet, was impossible. Fortunately, I had another bag of brown sugar to use. But I tried something new before throwing the hard sugar away.
I had read that if you put a piece of bread in with hardened brown sugar, it will draw moisture from the bread and get soft again. Without much hope, I placed a piece of sandwich bread in the bag and let it sit on the counter overnight.
Being Kind and Compassionate
The next morning, I was amazed! The 2-inch round, hardened balls of sugar were pliable. The tinier balls of hard sugar were also soft. All I had to do was gently push them with my fingers, and they broke right apart. The sugar had become usable again, thanks to the moisture in an ordinary piece of bread.
This simple piece of bread taught me important lessons about my relationships. When I serve as a faith-filled person in a hardened group of people, they are drawing nourishment from me, whether I see it or not. God sends the life through me when I share my faith. Through simple acts of kindness, and an attitude of compassion, I can soften hardened or dried-out hearts with the Holy Spirit’s power.
I Need Kindness and Compassion As Well
I also considered the flip side of this lesson. Take the bread out of the bag, and the sugar will be fine for a while. But eventually, it will dry out again and be far less useful unless it receives moisture again. When I compare myself to that bag of sugar, I realize I need the kindness, compassion and love from others to keep my own heart soft and pliable. I don’t do well on my own, and I’m sure you don’t either, since we are created to need each other. That’s why I must regularly schedule time to mingle with “bread” instead of staying in my sugar bag.
You can look at both sides of this lesson too. What thoughts does it bring to mind? Which people does it place on your heart? Ask God to show you how to use that slice of bread in your life, depending on your needs. Remember that Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35), and he calls you to share life with others and draw life from others too.
I praise you for creating me in your image.
You are relational, and you created me to relate to others.
I need others, and they need me.
Help me to serve as a softening agent, spreading kindness and compassion to people in my circles of influence.
Give me the courage to share my faith according to the promptings of your Holy Spirit.
Remind me that I need others to keep my own heart soft.
Show me which friend I need to call or see today.
Help me make relationships a top priority.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.