Pizza, Soggy Cereal and the Atonement

Pizza, Soggy Cereal and the Atonement

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

Pizza, Soggy Cereal and the Atonement

And even if it were possible that little children could sin they could not be saved; but I say unto you they are blessed; for behold, as in Adam, or by nature, they fall, even so the blood of Christ atoneth for their sins.

Mosiah 3:16

When my youngest daughter was only three years old, she loved to mimic her older brother by asking to have two bowls of cold cereal for breakfast in the morning. Each day, the same ritual occurred: She would ask for her first bowl of cereal, eat it, and then request the second bowl. She would then take one bite, say she was full, and refuse to eat the rest.

On one particular morning, I had finally had enough of her wasteful practice. When she asked for the second bowl, I explained that if she didn’t eat all the cereal she asked for, she would have to eat it at lunchtime before she could have her “real” lunch. Of course, being three, she agreed. Even after our discussion of what would happen, she ate only a single bite of the second bowl, and then said she was finished. I firmly reminded her that she needed to eat the cereal before she could have what was for lunch. As I put the cereal in the refrigerator, I turned to her and asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to eat this now?” Her refusal was clear. As promised, the bowl of cereal went into the fridge to wait for lunchtime.

That afternoon when my son arrived home from kindergarten, the three of us sat down for leftover pizza. I reminded my daughter that she needed to finish her cereal before she could have pizza. I took the soggy bowl of cereal from the refrigerator and placed it in front of her. She took one look at the mushy mess and ran from the table, screaming and wailing.

My tenderhearted son, who had been watching attentively, looked at the slice of pizza in front of him. He then looked at the soggy cereal in front of his sister’s place as her cries echoed from the other room. His eyes met mine, and he said quietly, “I’ll eat her cereal.”

My heart was so full when I realized the sincere love he had for his younger sister. His only thought was to take away her pain, make her happy and have her return to be with us at the table.

This simple, tender statement of my young son taught me a powerful lesson about the infinite atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As the Savior has done for us, my son fulfilled both the law of mercy and the law of justice for his sister in this one simple act of love. Throughout our lives, all of us get ourselves into predicaments that we can’t resolve on our own. Our loving and kind Savior hears us weep and offers regrets. Then, with great love and patience, He lets us know that He has already paid the price being demanded for our folly. The display of love my son showed for his sister was tremendous, but it represents only a fraction of the love our Elder Brother so freely gives to us.

Deborah McIff

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