Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Soap, Poison and Popular Food, All in One Fruit!

My family and I were in Jamaica a few months ago. We wanted to see the “real Jamaica,” not the glitzy tourist part. So we hired a taxi driver to show us around the island. We saw typical neighborhoods where the residents actually live and the beaches where Jamaicans relax away from the tourists. Our driver showed us an Ackee tree, which bears the Ackee fruit. This fruit is the national fruit of  Jamaica. Though the fruit is not actually native to the island, it has been on the island so long that many people think it is. 

What I found fascinating about this fruit is that at a certain time during the year it can only be used to make soap. At another time during the year it is edible, but only if you cook it, as it is poisonous when raw. What a bizarre fruit that can be poison, soap and a popular food, all depending on the season of the year and how the fruit is prepared.

People are a lot like the Ackee fruit. I can think of some people who have been a real blessing in my life. Like a popular national dish, I enjoy being around them. Sometimes those same people have had to call me out on mistakes I've made, serving as the "soap" that helps me clean up my act. Regretfully, there have even been times when those very same people have been like poison, impacting my relationships with others in negative ways. Like the Ackee fruit, I've seen the same person be all three things at different points in my relationship with them.

But the difference between people and fruit is that people get to decide what role they will play. Whereas fruit is stuck with whatever role someone else has chosen, people can choose to be a blessing, or a poison, or a cleansing agent in someones life. People can choose to be high maintenance or low maintenance friends. They can choose to impact our lives in positive or negative ways. Let us remember the truth of Proverbs 27:9, "A sweet friendship refreshes the soul." We should determine to be the friend that refreshes others instead of poisoning them. When we choose to be a blessing, our own lives are more fulfilling. So better to be a blessing, or at least soap, than to be poison!
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

1 comment:

  1. A very nice thought Terry, if that would be true.
    Well, I doubt that the leopard can change his spots, or a man can change his nature, or a polluted well produce clean water, or the children of the devil produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

    Yes, even the devil can pretend to be an angel of light.
    And for that reason a man must be born again, old things have passed away and behold all things are new.