I am kind of a lie connoisseur. After spending the better part of my life lying I’ve become apt at recognizing them. One of my favorites that we Christians like to tell ourselves and one I have written about before is something I call “the Hermit Lie.” Not familiar with this particular one? Fear not, we’re about to go there.
A friend once told me he really struggled spiritually whenever he went down the snack food aisle at the grocery story and saw the Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. Now clearly I’m substituting “Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls” for something far more insidious and obscene. No one could ever struggle with Swiss Cake Rolls, they’re delightful. (If you are reading this Debbie, I love you! You always ride shotgun on my road trips and I am taking one today to North Carolina and hope you come too with your friend Cougar Power energy drink!)
But when I asked him if he was going to skip the snack food aisle the next time he went grocery shopping he got offended and told me the Hermit Lie. “I can’t eliminate every temptation in my life. That’s impossible, I would never leave the house.”
On the surface that’s true. If you tried to eliminate every temptation in the world, you’d have to live under your bed and never leave the house. And you’d become a hermit and would eventually smell weird, like a mixture of feet and Jasmine. But it’s crazy to think that your two options in life are to either keep doing everything or stop doing everything. That if you stop going down the snack food aisle you’ll instantly become some kind of sinless recluse.
The truth is that if there’s something you struggle with, it might be good to stop doing that thing. I’m not saying the things we struggle with are that easy to stop, just that there are lots of obvious ones that we pretend to be powerless against. I’m not saying you can’t ever go to the grocery store to buy food. You need food. But if one particular aisle is causing you to stumble, don’t think your only option is to go on a hunger strike to fight it. You don’t have to starve yourself just because you decided not to eat snack cakes or little Debbie treats. Just avoid that aisle. You won’t become a hermit. Promise.