"Is something bothering you, Brian?" Mom asked as she pushed her chair back after dinner. "You've been unusually quiet this evening."
Brian sighed. "I came in third in our track meet today," he blurted out. "I was always first last year. I don't know what's the matter with me."
"I do," said Stephanie. "You're too fat."
"Stephanie!" Dad reprimanded her. "That was not kind."
"Is she ever kind?" Brian asked sarcastically. He scowled at his sister. "You're not so skinny yourself," he added.
"That's enough!" scolded Mom. "You're both wrong--and right." She sighed. "It's wrong to say hateful things about one another--and, Stephanie, your criticism of your brother was not done lovingly. But, Brian, it's true that you have gained weight, and your remark about your sister didn't sound very loving, either."
"Well, she's always saying mean things to me," Brian defended himself.
"Look who's talking!" put in Stephanie. "The meanest brother in the world!"
"I'm afraid you both have an attitude problem," said Dad sternly. "Jesus said we are to love one another, but I haven't seen much evidence of love between the two of you recently."
Both kids were silent, knowing Dad was right.
Dad looked at Brian. "If you're honest, Son, I think you'll have to admit it would be a good idea to take off a few pounds, right?" Brian frowned, but he nodded reluctantly.
Turning to his daughter, Dad said, "And, Stephanie, just like Brian needs to take off weight to run well, you both need to get rid of weights of selfishness and unkindness and learn to think of others and their feelings. A diet of thanksgiving and praise would be good for you--in fact, good for all of us."
"Yes, it would. Let's all go on a diet," Mom suggested. "Let's be weight watchers--both physically and spiritually. Let's start now by saying things we're thankful for about each other." She paused. "Who'd like to start?" she added.
Stephanie and Brian frowned and hesitated. Then both started speaking at once. They paused. Stephanie began again. "Brian's . . . ah . . . a good student."
Brian laughed and exclaimed, "That's just what I started to say about you!"
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Does a bitter or rebellious spirit hinder your Christian race? Things like a sharp tongue, selfishness, or an unforgiving attitude bring defeat into the life of a Christian. Anything that keeps you from overcoming sin, serving God, or displaying a Christ-like attitude is a weight that needs to be put away. Check your life for things that weigh you down. Ask God to help you replace them with genuine love and concern for others.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us.