When I got to work this morning I spotted a leftover bagel on my desk from the previous day. It felt pretty hard as I raised it to my mouth. I was amazed at how quickly it had turned into a rock. Just 24 hours before it was nice and soft and just plain yummy. Yet this morning I had to gnaw through what seemed to be a concrete shell before finding anything near soft. Giving up I dropped it in my metal wastebasket and was jolted by a major clunk as it hit bottom. How could anything so nice turn so quickly?
When I was a pastor I saw people marry the most wonderful person in the world only to wake up the next year with a monster in their bed.
In the case of the bagel it was all about environment. Had I protected it I’m sure it would still have been edible. I had not. The dry winter air sucked the moisture right out of that ring-shaped bread roll. As a psychology professor I think there is much truth here for how we turn out.
Environment is extremely important to the final product of a human being. We can be fortunate and be in a nurturing place that fosters good character development and the use of our talents. Unfortunately the opposite can be true and people around us can suck out all the goodness we ever had. Good people can turn stale. But the reverse happens all the time. Selfish backbiting people give their hearts to Jesus and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit transforms them into human treasures. We cannot over emphasize the power we have over who we become. While children cannot choose who they have to be around adults can.
Written by Roger Bothwell on December 9, 2008