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Subject: Brownies

 After you read this it will give new meaning to the word compromise.

 Some years ago when I was a pastor, I walked into my church office after a
 Sunday morning service to find a sandwich bag on my desk containing three
 chocolate brownies. Some thoughtful and anonymous saint who knew my love
 for chocolate had placed them there, along with a piece of paper that had
 a short story written on it. I immediately sat down and began eating the
 first brownie as I read the following story:

 Two teenagers asked their father if they could go the theater to watch a
 movie that all their friends had seen. After reading some reviews about
 the movie on the internet, he denied their request.

 "Aw dad, why not?" they complained. "It's rated PG-13, and we're both
 older than thirteen!"

 Dad replied: "Because that movie contains nudity and portrays immorality,
 which is something that God hates, as being normal and acceptable

 "But dad, those are just very small parts of the movie! That's what our
 friends who've seen it have told us. The movie is two hours long and
 those scenes are just a few minutes of the total film! It's based on a
 true story, and good triumphs over evil, and there are other redeeming
 themes like courage and self-sacrifice. Even the Christian movie review
 websites say that!"

 "My answer is 'no,' and that is my final answer. You are welcome to stay
 home tonight, invite some of your friends over, and watch one of the good
 videos we have in our home collection. But you will not go and watch that
 film. End of discussion."

 The two teenagers walked dejectedly into the family room and slumped down
 on the couch. As they sulked, they were surprised to hear the sounds of
 their father preparing something in the kitchen. They soon recognized the
 wonderful aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and one of the teenagers
 said to the other, "Dad must be feeling guilty, and now he's going to try
 to make it up to us with some fresh brownies. Maybe we can soften him
 with lots of praise when he brings them out to us and persuade him to let
 us go to that movie after all."

 About that time I began eating the second brownie from the sandwich bag
 and wondered if there was some connection to the brownies I was eating and
 the brownies in the story. I kept reading...

 The teens were not disappointed. Soon their father appeared with a plate
 of warm brownies which he offered to his kids. They each took one. Then
 their father said, "Before you eat, I want to tell you something: I love
 you both so much."

 The teenagers smiled at each other with knowing glances. Dad was

 "That is why I've made these brownies with the very best ingredients.
 I've made them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are even organic.
 The best organic flour. The best free-range eggs. The best organic sugar.
 Premium vanilla and chocolate."

 The brownies looked mouth-watering, and the teens began to become a little
 impatient with their dad's long speech.

 "But I want to be perfectly honest with you. There is one ingredient I
 added that is not usually found in brownies. I got that ingredient from
 our own back yard. But you needn't worry, because I only added the
 tiniest bit of that ingredient to your brownies. The amount of the
 portion is practically insignificant. So go ahead, take a bite and let me
 know what you think."

 "Dad, would you mind telling us what that mystery ingredient is before we

 "Why? The portion I added was so small. Just a teaspoonful. You won't
 even taste it."

 "Come on, dad, just tell us what ! that ingredient is."

 "Don't worry! It is organic, just like the other ingredients."


 "Well, OK, if you insist. That secret ingredient is poop."

 I immediately stopped chewing that second brownie and I spit it out into
 the waste basket by my desk. I continued reading, now fearful of the
 paragraphs that still remained.

 Both teens instantly dropped their brownies back on the plate and began
 inspecting their fingers with horror. "DAD! Why did you do that? You've
 tortured us by making us smell those brownies cooking for the last half
 hour, and now you tell us that you added dog poop! We can't eat these

 "Why not? The amount of dog poop is very small compared to the rest of
 the ingredients. It won't hurt you. It's been cooked right along with
 the other ingredients. You won't even taste it. It has the same
 consistency as the brownies. Go ahead and eat!"

 "No, Dad...NEVER!"

 "And that is the same reason I won't allow you to go watch that movie.
 You won't tolerate a little dog poop in your brownies, so why should you
 tolerate a little immorality in your movies? We pray that God will not
 lead us unto temptation, so how can we in good conscience entertain
 ourselves with something that will imprint a sinful image in our minds
 that will lead us into temptation long after we first see it?"

 I discarded what remained of the second brownie as well as the entire
 untouched third brownie. What had been irresistible a minute ago had
 become detestable. And only because of the very slim chance that what I
 was eating was slightly polluted. (Surely it wasn't...but I couldn't
 convince myself.)

 What a good lesson about purity! Why do we tolerate any sin? On the day
 of the Passover, the Israelites were commanded to remove every bit of
 leaven from their homes. Sin is like leaven - a little bit leavens the
 whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6). Jesus, "our Passover" (1 Cor. 5:7), and sin,
 don't mix.

 "Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to
 move your feet."

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