Rotten Apples Don’t Have to Stay Rotten. Good Apples Can Be Rotten, Underneath the Gloss.

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There’s this quote that has been doing the rounds on Facebook lately. It was familiar to me, and at first read, it sounded good. But it has been bothering me in a way that made me uncomfortable.

It took me some days to sort out how I felt. Now I can rant about it.

I don’t know who it came from, as the status updates don’t include the source, but here it is:

“Women are like apples on trees, the best ones are on the top of the tree. The men don’t want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and don’t want to get hurt. Instead they just get the rotten apples from the ground that aren’t so good but easy. So, the apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality they’re amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who’s brave enough to climb all the way to the top because they value quality.”

Some time ago, in what I now consider my once-smug-self-defeating-years, I believe I came across this quote and liked it. Back then, I kept most of the rules handed down to me at church.

Don’t drink.

Don’t smoke.

Don’t watch bad movies.

Don’t cuss.

Go to church every Sunday.

Read your Bible everyday.

Help at church.

So I believed I had earned a place at the top of the apple tree. It felt really good. Thankfully, for the sake of eternity, I know better now.

See, many, many days AND mistakes later, I see differently.

With the credibility of an imperfect-but-loving marriage to the first man I ever called my boyfriend, I see holes as big as the sun in this way of thinking.

I understand that many well-meaning people use this quote, and many like it, to encourage young women to stay “pure and blameless.” I agree with their desire. I just don’t think elevating one’s self to the top of the apple tree will do the trick.

The Apples-On-Top-of-The-Tree mentality, in my humble opinion, is grace-less, prideful and polarizing.

Let me explain.

When you make that comparison between those that belong at the top and those that belong on the ground, you draw a line between them and us–with “them” being “the sinners” and “us” being “the pure ones.” It implies that our holiness, for want of a better word, is due to the choices we made and continue to make–our good behavior.

Really?

The Bible tells me that God’s invitation of forgiveness is open to anyone who comes to Him in repentance. Considering the sentiment behind the apples mentality, the ones on top don’t need any saving. They just need to wait for the best to come to them, not just in dating, but in all of life as well. Because they are good, in and of themselves.

{And what happens when one of the apples fall to the ground? The thud reverberates around our church circle. It provides fodder for the rumor mill. Another one bites the dust. Tsk tsk. What is the world coming to?}

Now maybe I’m not understanding things. Maybe.

Still, sinners are we all with nothing to show for it. And my thing is, this apples mentality blinds us to the truth that unless we all understand and accept that we really do belong on the ground, among the other rotten apples, we will never fully grasp how great our need for the Savior is.

The ground, or ten feet below it, is where we come face to face with who we are and realize why Jesus had to come to earth.

When it comes to dating, and all of life, it never works to consider ourselves better than others. I believe that too is in the Bible.

 

 

***This reminds me of what Matt Chandler called “Christian therapeutic moralistic deism.” Long term. If you want an explanation, go to:

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