Soap-flavored Crackers and Banana-tasting Chips - Bad Company Does Corrupt Good Morals

I didn't realize something was wrong with my potato chips until I had consumed more than a few. Eating but not savoring, I was multi-tasking during my lunch hour. Bite of sandwich, kettle chip, and a few lines of an email. Bite of sandwich, kettle chip, and a few more lines. My mouth registered its dismay before my brain did. Another bite, another chip, another few lines. . . . wait a minute. . . that last chip tasted funny. . . skip the sandwich. Hesitantly place another chip on my tongue. Chew gingerly with concentration. Forget the email.

Eeeeew. My potato chip tasted like. . . (taste buds reporting now that the brain was on high alert. . . sorting. . . sorting. . . ) BINGO!  The potato chip tasted like BANANA. EEEEWWWWWW!

I checked the bag (Original flavor, 40% Less Fat).

I tasted again.

Unmistakeable -- banana.

Why do my kettle chips taste like banana??????

Ahhhhhhh! When I brought them home from the grocery store, I had set them on the shelf next to, you guessed it, the bananas.

Obviously, their close proximity allowed the pungent smell and flavor of the bananas to penetrate the chip bag and create an all-new flavor. Not a big fan of bananas, I can't imagine that this will catch on, but for banana fans, we may have a winner.

Suffice it to say that I completed the rest of my lunch sans chips. Eeeew. (I just had to say it one more time to thoroughly communicate how disgusting this experience was.)

But that wasn't the worst.

A week later a similar thing happened, only this time I was eating Ritz Bits crackers. A BRAND NEW box just taken from the pantry, FAR FAR AWAY from the bananas.

It only took one of the nickle-sized crackers to get my attention this time. My taste buds went to red alert, my gag reflex engaged, and that baby cracker was rejected almost as soon as it landed on my tongue.

Unlike my potato chips, this noxious food wasn't trying to pass itself off as a banana in disguise.  Oh no. This tiny cracker backed a powerful punch of flavor from something that didn't normally hang from a tree.

It tasted like SOAP.

Eeeeeeewwwwwww again! I had an immediate flashback to the age of five. My sister and I were bathing in Granny's clawfooted bathtub and discussing how good Ivory soap smelled. If it smelled good, we reasoned, it must taste equally good. Being the eldest, and the most selfish, I decided I deserved the first taste. Oh boy, selfishness paid off in spades that day. I think I spat for an hour afterward.

With the soapy taste lingering on my tongue, I wracked my brain to try to figure out why my crackers tasted like soap. Remembering the banana potato chip debacle, I marched to the pantry, flung open the door and discovered the cause of my gustatory gaff -- right next to the empty space that had housed my crackers were three brand new bottles of, you guessed it, laundry soap. Who would have known that the scent of laundry soap could move through a plastic bottle, a cardboard box, and a wax paper sleeve?

It never occurred to me that simply being in close proximity to something as seemingly harmless as bananas or laundry soap could change the very nature of my food.

And it seldom occurs to me that hanging around people who complain, criticize, and gossip can change the very nature of my attitude.

"Be not deceived," scripture warns us, "bad company corrupts good morals."

Like the potato chips and the banana, if I hang around people who are characteristically gossips or complainers, guess what? It makes it really easy for me to gossip and complain. If I spend too much time with those who have a habitually critical spirit, it isn't long before I begin to sound just like them. Worse yet, because it is "out of the issues of the heart that the mouth speaks," I am not only saying critical, complaining, gossipy things, I'm thinking them as well. I am embracing the very words and attitudes that Jesus calls sin.

So what's a kettle chip to do if she doesn't want to taste like a banana?

The best answer is to choose our closest friends wisely. It's the same advice we give our children. Choose close friends that embody the character traits we most want to emulate."Iron sharpens iron," Scripture says. Just like hanging out on the same shelf caused my crackers to taste like their soapy neighbor, if I spend enough time with someone who is encouraging, thankful, and edifying, instead of critical, complaining, and gossipy, this will begin to affect my attitudes and actions in a positive way.

Attitudes are very contagious. If you don't believe me, start complaining while you're waiting in a long checkout line at the grocery store and see how many other shoppers join in.

But what if you're stuck with someone (co-worker, boss, spouse, family member) with a bad attitude, and you can't get away from them?

Then you get to be the banana. And the soap. But instead of getting sucked into the negativeness and leaving a bad taste in everyone's mouth, BE A POSITIVE FORCE FOR GOOD.

1. Practice gratitude. It'll go a looooong way toward curing a critical, complaining spirit. 

2. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. If you filter your thoughts through the screen of God's Word, only those things that are true, right, and edifying will come out.

3. Determine to "do everything without complaining."
4. If all else fails, employ the Thumper principle (from Bambie): "If you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all."

You'll be surprised how much your positive attitude can affect your home, workplace, and church if you intentionally choose to be a force for good wherever you go.

God bless you as you shine the light!

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  1. That is crazy about the chips and banana! Made for a great analogy, but I would've never thought that would happen so easily! Maybe you just have very sensitive taste buds!

    Thanks for linking up!

  2. Awesome analogy & oh so true! It's the positive that need to help the negative ! If we keep our minds on The Lord we can be a great influence to this negative & sad world! Thank you for your blog!

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