pickle and pickle jar

Are You a Pickle?

A pickle used to be a cucumber, but when it sits in a brine solution of vinegar and spices, it absorbs the flavors of the brine and turns into a pickle. That’s fine for cucumbers, but it’s terrible for people. When we live immersed in the “brine” of our culture, we can easily absorb its values and philosophies. Instead of thinking and living like Jesus, we look and sound and live just like the rest of the surrounding culture.

Alarmingly, this is true of the church as well. The divorce rate of evangelicals is no different from that of our culture. The number of our men struggling with a secret pornography addiction is astronomical (one pastor told me he thought it was upward of 70%). The vast majority of our high school students have mentally disconnected from the church, and often their faith, before they’ve graduated.

Paul exhorts us in Colossians 2:8-9,

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Translation: Don’t be a pickle.

What does a culturally captive pickle look like? Particularly a “pink pickle”?

One of the highest values in our culture is sex. If you think of sex as a right or a need like eating or sleeping, and you’re not getting any (or as much as you want), you might be angry. If you think God’s antiquated policy of keeping sex within marriage means He’s holding out on you (see Ps. 84:11), you’ve been pickled. If you dress to make guys look twice at you (your body, not your face), buying into the “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” philosophy, you’re a pickle.

Some mothers will do anything to keep her children from being angry or unhappy with them. They believe their job is to make and keep their children happy, especially if they feel guilty because of working or being a single mom.  Some mothers will do anything to insure their children’s popularity. Instead of seeing our children as belonging to God, and over whom He has made us stewards, children’s approval and popularity can become idols. There are lots of pickle-flavored mothers.

What’s your perspective on entertainment? If you sit in front of TV or movies, watching and listening without thinking, “How does this compare to what God says in His word?”, then you are absorbing the world’s brine and you’re a pickle. Are you one of the women secretly addicted to the Twilight books or to romance novels that are actually emotional pornography? The purpose of porn is to arouse desire for something that God has not given: sexual pornography arouses physical feelings for someone other than a spouse, and emotional pornography arouses emotional feelings of longing for a relationship other than one’s spouse.

Speaking of other kinds of pornography, how much time do you pore over catalogs and ads in magazines and newspapers, arousing the lust for materialism? American culture highly values “stuff” because 1) we deserve it and 2) it will make us happy. Meanwhile, storage rental facilities keep popping up because we don’t have enough room for all the stuff we already have that apparently didn’t make us happy because we keep buying more.

So. . . are you a pickle?

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can't Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor. She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her "Proverbs 31 job" while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions. Sue never met a cruise ship she didn't like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.


  • Michael

    Interesting thoughts. I
    Interesting thoughts. I followed some other posts and I enjoyed them very much. It’s sad that we can’t find peace in this world and that we let ourselves be taken away by these unnatural things. A closer look into the bible scripture would do us all good, and maybe our children need to learn that there is more to life than Ipods and being popular.

    • Sue Bohlin

      Cool website
      Thank you, and we’re so delighted you found this website, which we agree is not only cool but extremely powerful! Bible.org is an amazing resource for God’s people worldwide.

  • Mrs.JamesBlack

    The Sex Pickle

    My husband has withheld sex from me for over a decade.  He did this once before for a couple of years.  I told him then, it was not gonna happen again.  Until today, I have not said one word even though his rejection has damaged my self-esteem greatly.  We were talking today and something came up about sin.  Before I even thought about it, I said "You do realize that withholding sex is a sin?".  He said he knew it and that a discussion would be more appropriate later.  I said well, if there is a discussion you are bringing it up because I just broke a promise to myself for even saying that.  My question is….I know the Bible says either partner withholding sex without mutual consent constitutes a sin. What if a resolution cannot be reached, Do I have any options? I do not want a divorce.  I have married my best friend.  We enjoy talking everyday.  We are still raising kids and there are only a few reasons for divorce in my opinion and this does not meet the criteria.  We just celebrated twenty-five years of marriage. I"ll be waiting for anyone's response….to this pickle.

  • Sue Bohlin

    What do you?


    I'm sorry to hear this is happening. But I would gently suggest that not talking to him about something that is deeply hurting you is also wrong, because scripture says, "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone" (Matt. 18:15). Not addressing this hurtful issue sends the message, "The way you are treating me is okay with me, and I'm not going to hold you accountable for your sin."

    The biblical way to handle conflict resolution (Matt. 18:15-17) is to speak first to the person you have a conflict with, and if they won't respond, to enlarge the circle one step at a time.

    Who are you in community with? With what other believers are "doing life" so that you can bring them into the discussion? Yes, I realize this is a private marital issue, but as you pointed out, he is sinning against you (and apparently believing he can get away with it because, well, he has).

    So I would suggest the next step would be to say, in love, "You are sinning against me, and this is impacting our oneness. To protect and build our marriage, I ask you to repent. If you refuse, I will bring ______ into this discussion. I need help to encourage you to be the man and husband I know you have it in you to be."

    I would also suggest that he would probably be mortified at the thought of bringing other people into your conflict, and you can also suggest marriage counseling as the next step of enlarging the circle. When one spouse withholds sex from the other for any length of time, much less over a decade, there are deep fractures in the relationship that need to be addressed.

    I'm sorry. . .  and I hope you find this helpful.

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