The First Bite Did Us In

We shouldn’t have taken the first bite. My brother and I had just finished picking a quart of mulberries for our mother for a pie that night for supper. “Let’s get out of here before the mosquitoes have us for supper!”

The berries looked so good to two youngsters facing temptation in an insect-infested woods in Missouri where we spent our childhood. You think it’ll be all right if we just taste one?” Dick asked.

“Why not? One or two can’t hurt.”

By the time we reached home, the pail was almost empty and our stained faces told a story of thievery. Yes, we had stolen from our mother by taking that first berry bite and had robbed her of the pleasure of a mulberry pie.

My head was down and my eyes studied my dirty shoes. I handed her the pail. “Sorry, mom, we ate the berries.” I felt so ashamed. Our mother should have sent us to pick another quart. Instead, she just smiled and said, “Well, we can have a mulberry pie another time.”

The apostle John explains to us what happened on that walk home with a pail full of berries: “The cravings of our sinful nature, the lust of our eyes” (I John 2:17) made us forget about obedience–to pick a quart for a pie–and made us forget about self-control. We should have covered the pail and not lusted after the fruit. I know now not to take the first bite; when we lust, we can be forgiven, but we can’t always go back and fill the pail again.

(Excerpted from my book Memoir of a Sharecropper’s Son)

Will you share an experience when you lusted after something and took that first bite?


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