Did you know there is some incredible science behind what goes into a chocolate cake? Think about it for a minute. Who would eat two cups of flour? Who would eat a couple of teaspoons of baking powder? Who would eat raw cocoa? Very few people would eat any of the ingredients of a chocolate cake alone.
It is the science behind the cake that takes all of these independently bitter and bland ingredients and makes an incredible, light, rich, sweet, chocolate cake. Did you know that it is actually the baking powder, not the sugar, that neutralizes the bitterness in the cocoa? Amazing!
Life is often like chocolate cake. We are delivered many bitter experiences, events, and people. Once these bitter things are in our lives, we have two options: leave the bitterness there or sweeten the bitterness.
So how do we sweeten the bitter things in our lives? Let me suggest six steps paralleling the steps of baking an incredible chocolate cake:
- Get the correct ingredients. The best recipe I know for sweetening the bitter things in life calls for wise mentors who have sweetened their own bitter experiences. Add a supportive community of folks that will help you hold it all together while you process, vent, and heal. Blend in some peace and you are off to a good start.
- Mix and bake properly. Baking up a bitter-free life requires love and faith. Loving yourself the way God loves you. Loving others the way God loves them. It takes time, but when we learn to love people unconditionally — despite errors, hoping the best for them, and believing in what they can be — we actually find our own freedom.
- Dare to use that ingredient. Reconciliation is the dangerous ingredient in our recipe. It takes humility and a dash of self-sacrifice, but paving the way for a present or future reconciliation will set you free from bitterness. Make a decision now to be ready to do your part or accept someone else’s part in making things right.
- Add the secret ingredient. The secret ingredient is fellowship. Fellowship is the physical manifestation of reconciliation. Be prepared to spend time together, talk, and give the second chance that God gave us after we chose to reconcile.
- Clean the kitchen. Make things right with God and receive his forgiveness. Offer that same unconditional forgiveness to others saying, “You owe me nothing.” If God forgives you, he is going to forgive them, so how can you refuse to forgive them?
- Frost the cake. Frosting is the extra thing that makes cake into a cake. Do that unexpected thing for that bitter person. Be miraculous, go above and beyond forgiveness, fellowship, and reconciliation. This will complete your cake and may open the door for someone to see that God pursues us lovingly even when we do not deserve it.
These six steps to sweeten your life can be found in one short book of the Bible — Philemon — where one great leader helped another leader face a bitter experience.
Get Jaidy’s Award Winning Chocolate Cake Recipe and watch a seven part series on Baking Up a Sweet Life at threetavernschurch.org.