“Last weekend,” Stan began, “my wife and I went to dinner with another couple we really enjoy.”
Continuing, he said, “We go to dinner with them about once a month. When we are finished with dinner, we go either to their house or to ours to have dessert, conversation, and, sometimes, play a game.”
“Sounds like a nice thing to get to do,” I responded.
“It is,” Stan replied, “we are blessed with good friends.” Continuing, he said, “This last time it was our turn to have them back to our house. In preparation for that, we went to the bakery over on Grand Avenue and bought a lemon meringue pie.”
“One of my favorites!” I said.
“Mine, too,” Stan replied, “but not this time.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“We served the pie. It looked so very good. I took my first bite and realized something was terribly wrong. Rather than the sweet lemony taste, it was the taste of salt.”
“Salt?” I responded.
“Yes,” Stan replied, “it tasted like salt.”
“The next day, we took the pie back to the bakery and told the woman behind the counter. Her response was something like, ‘Oh, no, they did it again!’. Whoever made the pie had used salt rather than sugar.”
“Kind of hard to imagine,” I said, “but I guess they do look the same and if a person is not paying attention it could happen.”
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “And I saw the same thing in Matthew’s gospel this morning when I was journaling about something Jesus said. And before you ask, no, Jesus was not talking about salty lemon pie!”
“But Jesus was talking about the same thing when He took the scribes and Pharisees to task for looking good on the outside while being less-than-good on the inside.”
“I have to be aware of the same thing constantly,” Stan continued. “Looking good on the outside is fine, but it is the inside that really counts. God knows everything about me, both the outside and the inside. It is the inside He is most concerned about, and so should I.”
“No one should take a figurative bite of me, get a sour look on their face, and say, ‘But it looked so good on the outside’. What happened?”
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. Matthew 23:25.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that I can come before you. I confess that too often I may look good on the outside, but the inside is filled with those things that are less-than-good. That is not anything you do not already know, but you make it clear what you want me to do about it. I confess and I ask for your forgiveness. I ask you to lead my repentance so that what is on the inside of me looks as good or better than the outside. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.