Last week, I drove to an apple orchard a few miles away from me and purchased a bag of SweeTango apples. I got my first taste of this delectable apple a couple of years ago prior to it's release to the public market while I was on a field trip with my students to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. I have to tell you, I eagerly awaited it's release to the public. It started appearing in orchard markets last year. I was able to buy some then and I was on the lookout this year as well. This apple is still in such limited quantities that was a one bag per family limit.
These apples are expensive and not easy to obtain but to me they are worth the price. You see, I have a sensitivity to the acid in fruit. I have no problem eating apples when they are baked but although I love raw apples, I have difficulty eating them. They quickly make me feel... not so good. The SweeTango, however, is different. I can nibble it down to it's core with no ill-effects. For me, it is exactly the right blend of sweetness and tartness and I am able to tolerate it raw. HOORAY!
In Christianity we often lean in one of two directions. We either become like the pharisees (tart) or we subscribe to a sickly sweet feel-good blend and label it Christianity. True Christianity is neither. Jesus did not ignore nor condone sin. He didn't pat people on the head and say, "That's okay, you do whatever you want to do even if it breaks God's law. I've got you covered." Never. However, when confronting the sinner, He did so with love. That's the sweet part.
The world does not need us to be beating them on the head anymore than they need to have a water-down, syrupy Gospel poured down their throats. What they need is the true unadulterated Gospel which says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. It tells us to live holy and yet at the same time, it tells us that if we confess our sins and come to Him with a repentant heart, He will forgive us and remember our sin no more. If God's Word tells us these things, what business do we have distributing fruit to the world which is only tart or only sweet?
True Christianity is the perfect blend of sweetness and tartness. Deviation in either direction can sicken the soul but when the balance is just right (and we require the Holy Spirit's assistance in doing that), the end result is unbelievable.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetango/4942508022/