Have you ever noticed the similarities between crackers and cookies? To start with, they both start with “c”. Then there is the fact that they are both finger foods and important additions to the table at most parties. But anyone can easily tell you the differences between cookies and crackers. The differences far outweigh the similarities. Usually cookies are soft (unless you’re a baker like me and forget to set the timer while they’re baking), but crackers are usually crunchy. Cookies can stand alone, although they also know how to work well with a glass of milk or dish of ice-cream. Crackers almost always depend upon cheese to make their flavor complete. Cookies are sweet and pleasing to the taste buds; while crackers are dry and salty (an excellent combination to make one thirsty).
So I started thinking about my life and relationships with those around me. I started wondering if I am a cracker or a cookie to my family, friends, students, social media friends… And then I started to become ashamed of myself because I often have exhibited all the traits of a cracker.
One of the most important parts of a relationship is being able to understand and forgive. In other words, staying soft! Staying soft means not immediately jumping to conclusions or becoming offended by the littlest of things. I’m afraid that I often harden up the relationships around me because I misread my family and friends’ intentions. I become bitter and crunchy when I am hurt in a friendship instead of forgiving and asking God to soften the misunderstanding.
Often I think that I need to have “cheese” around me because I’m not enough on my own. I need just the right brand of clothing, just the perfect personality, just the…. (you fill it in). We, humans, surround our lives with the things we think will make people accept us and find us special. We then follow the crowd and popular thought so that we continue to fit in. We are simply a cracker. Whereas a cookie knows that its Baker made it special enough just as it is and doesn’t need to find acceptance through anything or anyone. And it’s good to remember that true friends will love us just as we are, with our quirky chocolate chips, M&M’s, or peanut-butter flavor, and won’t care what brand of flour we wear or the size of the kitchen we live in. A cookie will also work well with others, but it still will know how to think on its own and stand up for what it believes.
What about after I leave a reunion, party, or one-on-one chat? Have I left a pleasing reputation? Have I helped to share the workload? Do I leave a sweet taste behind? Or do I leave relationships feeling dry and thirsty because I was taking instead of giving? I know what it feels like to get off of the phone feeling exhausted because I spent the entire time listening to the other person’s problems. I know the eye-rolls I give when I read yet another facebook status from someone that uploads a complaint about five times every hour. I know the frustration of having company and waiting like a servant on them while not even receiving a thank-you. I know when other people are like crackers, but do I pay attention to myself and know when I am leaving relationships parched?
It’s easy to be a cracker- doesn’t take practice, doesn’t take extra thought, doesn’t call for a change.
But working to be a cookie will be a challenge. It doesn’t come naturally for most people, including myself. But with the help of my Baker, I’m gonna work at being the best cookie I can be so I can sweeten up all the relationships around me!
Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.