Jordan chewed his fingernail. He hated writing stories; nothing worthwhile ever came from his pencil. But the assignment was to write a true story about a pet and be prepared to read it to the class. The only pet Jordan ever owned was Sherwin, a boring goldfish. Goldfish don't do tricks or play fetch, he thought, so what is there to say?
The hot, stuffy classroom seemed unbearable, and Jordan let out a windy sigh. Guess I'll have to make up a story, he decided. How about a pet alligator? Picturing his classmates' envious looks when he read his alligator story, he scrawled ALLIGATOR on the top of his paper and stared at it, chewing another fingernail. But even alligators couldn't jolt his imagination. He squirmed in his seat, then got up and sharpened his pencil.
As Jordan lifted his pencil to try again, some words seemed to float across his paper. ". . . putting away lying, let each of you speak truth with his neighbor." Jordan blinked. Those words hadn't actually been on his paper; they were a Bible verse he had memorized. Jordan sighed. Could God be telling him his alligator story would be a lie?
Jordan stared at his title then turned his pencil upside down to erase ALLIGATOR and replace it with GOLDFISH. I'll write a true story even if the guys laugh, he decided.
This time the words flowed. Jordan told how he won the goldfish at the fair and named it Sherwin. He told how he took care of his fish and how bad he felt when Sherwin died. Then he wrote his name at the top of the page and sighed, this time in relief. Maybe my story sounds dumb, but it's true, he thought. And when Mr. Wright called on him, Jordan stood tall as he read the story aloud.
After class, Freddie fell in step beside Jordan. "I had a kitten once," Freddie said. "Named her Midnight." Freddie stared at his feet. "A car hit her--she died."
"That's terrible," Jordan said.
"I cried," Freddie admitted. "Was it hard to tell your story about Sherwin?"
Jordan nodded, then grinned. "Yeah . . . partly because most kids wouldn't think a goldfish was much of a pet. But it was worth it; true goldfish stories are better than alligator lies."
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you ever tempted to lie so others will admire you? Are you tempted to try to get out of an unpleasant situation by not telling the truth? Today’s Scripture reading is an account of severe and immediate results of lying. Even when the consequences of lying seem less severe, lies still hurt you and destroy the trust others have in you. How can they be sure you are telling the truth if you lied in the past? Truth—in words and action—is always the best way to go. It’s what God wants of you.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: Ephesians 4:25 (KJV)
Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.