The Tortilla Chip of Pain
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
While heading to a family reunion a few weeks ago, I stopped at a gas station and came across what is purported to be the world’s hottest tortilla chip made with the world’s hottest pepper. It’s supposed to be terrible and even has a skull and a warning printed on the label. So, I bought it. At one of our meals with the whole family that weekend, several of us goaded each other into taking a bite of that chip. It was terrible. I’ve never eaten something so hot. I’ve never been pepper-sprayed but I imagine that was like being pepper sprayed in the mouth. With tears in my eyes, I told myself I’d never do that again . . . but I probably will. Men are kind of stupid. It was, after all, only the males in my family who tried it. Not one woman was dumb enough to eat something that guaranteed so much pain.
As men, we often encourage each other to do stupid things. It seems to be in our nature. We don’t naturally encourage each other to be better and to do better. We inherently want to see each other be idiots. Historically, my peers have encouraged me to engage in significant self-destructive behavior when it came to tobacco and alcohol. I can’t blame them for it. I encouraged them to do the same. It’s just what guys do. Following our nature of course, isn’t always healthy.
In today’s passage, the author of Hebrews taught that it doesn’t have to be like this. It may not be natural, but if we want to be better, we can choose to goad each other into healthy behavior instead of self-destructive behavior. The passage teaches that we should choose to meet together regularly for the express purpose of encouraging one another to engage in love and good works.
As I mentioned recently, I’ve been in recovery for eight years. Still, every Saturday morning, I get together with a group of guys who’re all intent on seeking and staying in recovery. We get together to discuss our struggles and our successes. We encourage each other to be better. We meet, not to goad each other into stupidity, but to motivate each other to abandon our way so that we may follow God’s way. It may be our nature to be stupid, but we don’t have to be. If we choose, we can encourage each other to grow in our faith.