The first time I encountered white chocolate was a wonder-filled experience.

My older brother had come home from our little town’s brand new shopping mall, a greatly anticipated marvel I had yet to see.

With the light of a sage beaming from his face he extended his arm. In his hand was a paper sack with an unfamiliar logo on it. From the bag he produced a confectionary marvel. Shaped like pretzels, but white in color, the smell of those bow-shaped beauties assaulted me. I took one. I bit it. It was a pretzel, but amazingly more. I couldn’t believe that something so silky-smooth, sweet, and satisfying could exist.

“What IS it?”

“White chocolate,” my brother said, a knowing smirk on his face. “You can also get big, square chunks of it.”

Chunks.

Could the mall really be so grand a place?

White chocolate VS other, lesser confections

It pains me to even think it, but there are others who do not share my appreciation for white chocolate.

Even people in my own family.

Though she enjoys white chocolate, my oldest daughter prefers the bittersweet bite of dark chocolate. The darker, the better.

I can’t fathom such an abomination.

My youngest son claims to not care for white chocolate at all.

It’s hard for me to conceive that he’s serious. But he is.

I know. Unthinkable, but true.

How can something I feel such a strong opinion about not be the way others feel? It is hard to grasp.

Just as white chocolate is made to be different from dark chocolate, every person is created to be different.

  • Different likes
  • Different dislikes
  • Different opinions
  • Different preferences
  • Different, different, different

And because I’m me, and not them, because I’m stuck inside my head, not theirs, it’s hard to think that those differences are not somehow wrong.

But the reality is that individual differences are good things. They are beautiful things. They are what make each of us, us.

Learning to appreciate our differences is one aspect of the journey into maturity.

It’s what enables us to love a person for their uniqueness rather than dislike them because of it. It’s a skill of discernment that comes from wisdom, from seeing things in this world as they really are.

We all learn this truth at different times and in different ways. Some of us never learn it.

As a result, many a church has split over differences of this nature, let’s call them “White Chocolate Differences.”

Many a war has been fought on their account. (Remember, Dr. Seuss’s children’s parable, “The Sneetches“? It’s not too much of an exaggeration when you search the history.)

And I wonder how many personal, private wars are fought day after day in modern families because of white chocolate differences?

  • How many marriages are in crisis because of an ongoing pattern of stubbornness around opinions and preferences?
  • How many parent-child relationships have been ruined because of unimportant distinctions?

And what can be done about it?

The first step is to admit that white chocolate is not that important.

There, I said it.

Neither is dark chocolate. Or milk chocolate. Or any other preferential thing that tends to polarize people into opposing sides.

There are things worth fighting for. But most of what we humans fight about isn’t in that category.

What can YOU do today to move toward undoing damage that revolves around white chocolate differences?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.