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 my brother and me facing temptation in the insect-infested woods in Missouri where we spent our childhood but while we were picking them I hadn’t eaten even one berry.

“We shouldn’t eat any, should we?” Dick asked.

“No, I guess not, but my stomach’s growling. I guess we could snitch just one or two.” As I said that, I almost stumbled over a branch and nearly spilled the berries.

I stopped and we each popped two or three berries into our mouths. I must admit, I love any kind of juicy, sweet berries. By the time we reached home, the pail was almost empty and our faces and hands told a story of thievery. Yes, we had stolen from our mother by taking that first berry and had robbed her of that little pleasure.

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” (1 John 2:17) made us forget about obedience–to pick a quart of berries for a pie–and 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 give in to lust, we can be forgiven, but we can’t always go back and fill the pail again.

Do you remember an experience when you lusted after something and took that first bite?

Excerpted from my memoir Naked With Clothes On soon to be published.