Last year we were attending a major event and I decided to buy an ice cream from one of the vendors. As soon as I licked it, I knew something wasn’t right. It wasn’t outright disgusting yet but the milk was on the turn. I suspect that even if just about edible, it would not do my innards any good and besides, ice-cream is meant to be enjoyed not endured. So, I returned to the ice-cream van with my purchase and explained to the man that there seemed to be a problem with the batch.
His reaction was anything but customer friendly. His immediate response was “no-one else has complained.” So, I responded that this might be so but I was now and it wasn’t so much a complaint, these things happen. I mainly wanted him to know so he could put things right. The person who was at the front of the queue and had just paid for their ice cream took a link of his.
“It doesn’t taste right.”
So, that settled it, my money was returned to me and I went to another van where I bought a delicious ice cream which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, what struck me was that the guy at the front of the queue, still went away with his sour, gone off ice cream. He knew it didn’t taste right, presumably he realised that he was risking turning his stomach, I wouldn’t have wanted to have been sat down below him at the main event, he had seen that you could get your money back but he went ahead anyway and seemingly others in the queue continued to buy their ice creams.
Why? Was it because they assumed that was the only source of ice cream? Did they convince themselves that they could endure the taste? Maybe their taste buds weren’t as sensitive as mine. Maybe they thought it was something like frozen yoghurt? Or perhaps, their English desire to avoid a scene, the potential awkwardness involved kicked in.
We do have that tendency to try and avoid awkwardness, we’ll put up with a lot. We would rather endure something a little unpleasant than endure a potential confrontation. That’s fair enough if it’s swallowing down the sour ice cream. It’s a bit of a shame but not too big a deal when you sit through that show you spent a lot of money on when the acting isn’t very good, the plot thin, the music poor and the jokes simply not funny.
Yet, what about when it comes to more important things, to life and death things. What happens when we are warned that the theology we are being offered or the version of a gospel that we’ve been given is not just unpleasant but endurably, it’s positively toxic and poisonous. How many people keep pursuing a path in life when they’ve been warned and advised against it repeatedly because they don’t want to lose face.
Don’t be that person. There’s better ice cream to enjoy.