Who To Believe

I get massages on a regular basis. Out of need. Of course. I have a scar that has built up scar tissue, and it causes much tightness in my shoulder. So, of course, when the massage therapist advised me to get monthly massages, I obliged. Who wouldn’t? I also have some trouble with my right foot. The muscles get tight, which makes walking uncomfortable. She suggested I keep my feet in their natural state as much as possible. Basically, I shouldn’t wear shoes.

I love this massage therapist. She pursues training in new massage techniques. She uses several different methods to help provide relief to my tight and aching muscles. She seems to work magic. I walk away from her sessions feeling relaxed and renewed.

When this massage therapist moved away a few years ago, I had to find another. I had to find someone else who would be able to provide as much relief for my problems as she had given. It was a difficult task. But I found someone who worked in different ways to achieve the same results. This massage therapist is a man with much strength. He is determined to remove all the tightness from my muscles. His massages aren’t relaxing, but they are effective. They are just what I need.

But he gives different advice. As he was working on my tight right foot the other day, he asked if I wore shoes. I said no. Since I’m working from home, I only wear shoes when I leave the house. He didn’t seem pleased with that news. He acted as if my feet would be better off in shoes, rather than in their natural state.

Who am I to believe? Why wouldn’t allowing my feet to be in their natural state be better than being boxed into a shape formed by man or machine? Would my feet be better off walking on more padding? Should I choose what feels more comfortable or what is easiest for me? How am I to know what is right?


My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalms 73:26


I think of my daily walk with God. What words am I feeding my soul? Am I getting a daily dose of God’s word in my diet? Or am I filling my mind full of words written by man about the Bible? There is a lot of truth out there. But there is also a lot of false teaching. My first line of defense must always be God’s word. It’s time to put away the junk food and feast on banquet food.

As I consider how best to care for my feet, I have a choice. What is easiest or what is most effective? Am I willing to pay the price now to have healthy feet, or do I just slip my feet into flimsy flip flops and be carefree? Because later, after years of neglect, there will be a much heavier price.

When I think of my spiritual life, I must consider the price I’m willing to pay today in order to be welcomed into the pearly gates of heaven one day. Is the price today so high that I forfeit it for comfort and pride? If I don’t pay the price today, I will pay it for eternity. The price today is a bargain, really. Serving God faithfully. Obeying his instructions. What do I have to lose? That seems to be the question these days.

I’ve never suffered for being a follower of Jesus. I’ve never been inconvenienced for my faith. I’ve never been persecuted or threatened because I attend church or read my Bible or pray. I’ve never been denied the basic comforts of life because I’m a Christian.

Could that day come? Yes. Will it? Only time will tell. But as for today, I will live for Christ regardless of any discomfort I may face in the future. My hope is in God Almighty and the salvation he freely offered.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here, in the love of Christ, I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save
‘Til on that cross, as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin, on him, was laid
Here, in the death of Christ, I live

There in the ground, his body lay
Light of the world, by darkness, slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave, he rose again
And as he stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am his and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from his hand
‘Til he returns or calls me home
Here, in the power of Christ, I stand

Keith and Kristyn Getty

Division

He was a killer. He was a tyrant. A bully. A fighter. Oh. I’m not sure that he actually killed anyone out right. But he approved of Stephen’s killing. He stood by while an innocent man was stoned to death. And then he moved on. Looking for more victims. You see. He was looking for believers. Men and women. He would drag them from their homes and families and put them into prison.

He was a man who thought he was working for God, but instead he was working against God. He looked to bring down anyone in opposition of what he stood for. He was trying to destroy the church. He frightened anyone who came near him. His reputation preceded him. Those who had heard of him would do anything to stay out of his path.

Why was he being such a brute? His victims were believers of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He believed in God, but he didn’t believe in the risen Christ. He stood against everything they stood for. And he was determined to take down that group of believers. Oh. The devil had his soul, all right. And he didn’t care.

Who was this man?

Saul was a Pharisee. He had studied the Hebrew and Greek Bible. In his day, he would have memorized many Scriptures. He knew the law inside and out and obeyed it religiously. He once said that he was the best Jew one could find. He was a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. His heritage could not be denied. So, why was he against this group of believers?


Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:18


There was another man. He was Stephen. He was a man of God. A follower of the Way. He was a member of a group who believed that Jesus Christ, the Messiah had been born and then died on a cross. He was among a group of seven chosen to distribute food to the widows. And with this responsibility came boldness. He boldly preached the new message of salvation.  He even performed miracles. He was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.

So it was widely known that Stephen was a believer of the message of the Messiah, just as Saul was well known for hunting those believers. They were on a collision course. One fateful day, their paths met and it changed the course of history. Stephen’s physical life ended and he entered heaven’s gates. Saul continued on his path of destruction.

At some point, Saul took his beliefs too far. That’s when he started persecuting Christians. He was out for blood. He was a zealot for revenge. What was he trying to prove? He was trying to protect the traditions of his ancestors instead of seeking salvation from the Savior.

History shows that Saul disagreed with the message Stephen was preaching. They stood on opposite sides of an argument that no human could settle. One group of Jews believed in the Messiah and others didn’t. They had never met, but they couldn’t agree to disagree.

Saul belonged to the group who didn’t believe in the Messiah. Stephen believed in the Messiah, the risen Savior.

So there stood Saul. Standing guard over the coats. Some might say he was minding his own business.  But really. He was an eyewitness to a murder. He could have stopped it. Or he could have gone for help. He could have spoken up. But no. He watched Stephen die. The man was stoned to death. I wonder if Saul even flinched when he saw the stones made contact.

Saul stood up for his beliefs and others paid with their lives. Stephen stood up for his beliefs and he paid with his life. It didn’t have to be that way.

You can read the full story of Saul and Stephen in Acts 6-8.

As in the day of Saul and Stephen, today’s church isn’t a perfect place. It’s filled with people who have differing opinions and beliefs. Many today have opposing thoughts and convictions about so many topics. There will always be rumblings of discontent. In the church and outside the church walls. Some believe one way. Others believe another way.

The question is. Do the beliefs point back to Scripture? Are the opinions and rumblings based on Biblical teaching or personal preference? Are we holding on to the traditions of our ancestors when they only followed rigorous laws and rules? Or are we following the teachings of the Messiah and seeking redemption for our sins?

I wonder. When we can’t agree to disagree, are we holding onto an idol of our own making? Are we more concerned with having our way instead of building up the church? If believers can’t agree, what message does that send to those who are questioning their own faith?

As believers, we really do need each other. We need to build up one another. Support and encourage each other. We must pray for each other. Times are tough. They may be tough for a long time. We’re not guaranteed an easy life. So, during these times of uncertainty and uneasiness, let’s pull together and support one another.

And if we disagree, let’s agree that we disagree.

The heart of the gospel should be the gospel of the heart.

Your Truth

Paul and Barnabas had been preaching the message of salvation to the townspeople. Many people believed the message that Jesus Christ died for their sins. They repented of their sins and became followers of The Way.

But there were those in the town who didn’t believe the message and began poisoning the minds of the new believers. They were trying to sway the people from believing this new message. But Paul and Barnabas continued to boldly preach the good news. They moved from town to town. They even performed miracles, which caused some people to proclaim that they were gods.

One minute the townspeople were wanting to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas because they thought they were gods. Then the next minute, troublemakers came along and confused the people, turning them against Paul and Barnabas.  So, instead of worshiping Paul and Barnabas, they stoned Paul. Fortunately, he lived to tell about it. 

To read this story of Paul and Barnabas, read Acts 14.

Just as these townspeople quickly turned on the truth, our beliefs can change at the drop of a hat when we aren’t grounded in biblical truths. We can go from one extreme to the other.  Not searching out the truth. Just believing what anyone tells us. Do we really want to know the truth? Will it require change? Or action? Will we have to give up some things we hold dear? Those things that may be sinful?

Is it too easy being comfortable?

It’s easy to latch onto a message that doesn’t require anything from us. But when it looks like sacrifice or persecution might be involved, we back off.  We’re looking for the easy way to heaven. If it calls for change or true repentance,  then forget it. We just want feel good Christianity. But that’s just it. That’s not Christianity. 

If we call ourselves Christians, we need to know what we believe. Let’s not be surface Christians. Let’s be authentic. Standing up for biblical truths. But before we stand for truth, we have to know what truth is. We can only find that by reading God’s Word. Deep Bible study. An intentional prayer life. God will speak to us. He will prune us. He’ll develop us into someone just like him. If we give him the chance.


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15


Do you know if your truth is biblical truth? Do you want it to be? Do you assume that it is? When’s the last time you opened the Bible to compare it to what you believe and say? What would you do if you discovered you were wrong? Would you automatically assume you were right and God was wrong? Whose side are you on? Whose truth is really truth to you?

I’ve read that “your truth” is a combination of your experience and your opinion. Does that make it truth? What if your truth is a lie you’ve been telling yourself so long that you’ve started to believe it? It still doesn’t mean it’s true.

Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.

Blaise Pascal

Do we say amen to the sermon on Sunday? But then, come Monday morning, live like we didn’t even hear the sermon. Hmmm. We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.

When you read a book written by a Christian author, do you assume that their words are biblical truth? Or do you just read words that make you comfortable? I mean, after all. Who wants to be convicted about our thoughts or our attitudes or our actions? Isn’t it ok if I just be me? Who am I offending?

Do you listen to the critics and enemies of Christ?  Or do you listen to Bible scholars? To those who are so in love with God and his Word. or to those who hate him — either publicly or privately? Why not research the writers before reading them? Why not find out what their beliefs and values really are? Let’s not just take someone else’s word for truth.

I recently heard someone say there is a problem with truth telling these days.

The truth of God is true for everyone, regardless if they believe it or not. Because one day, every knee will bow before God.

God’s truth is true in all times and in all places.

Owen Strachan

Father, help me to always seek Your truth. Not my truth. Not what’s easy or convenient for me. Not my opinion. Not my experience. But Your never ending, everlasting truth. I ask for your mercy to rain over me when I am seeking truth. Guide me to your truth first and foremost. Shelter me from the confusion and doubt that others’ truth can place in my heart. I want to see You and only You. I want to seek only Your truth. Amen.

What Do They Say

There he was. Hanging on a cross. For the world to see. Oh. Some who witnessed his death were followers of The Way. Others had ridiculed him. Pronounced him guilty of a crime he didn’t commit. Wanting to witness the takedown of a man who stood for everything they were against. And so he died. There on the cross.

There were some witnesses who hadn’t quite made up their minds where they stood on the issue of his guilt. They had witnessed his arrest. They knew when he was dragged to court that the charges were all heresay. But they stood silent. And when the beatings started, they stood in agreement with the brutality. But in their hearts, they doubted his guilt. Oh. They knew they must keep quiet. Or they too would reap the anger and violence upon themselves. So they kept quiet. But they still doubted. They saw innocence when those in authority were pointing the finger of guilt.

So they continued with their charade. Forcing an innocent man up the path to Calvary, carrying a cross that was too heavy to bear. Imagine being those soldiers. How many times did they doubt the guilt of those they were leading to their death. Most likely, not too often. But on this day, there was doubt. and confusion. But they continued on the path to the trio of crosses.

Perhaps some of these soldiers had witnessed miracles this man had performed. Perhaps they drank the wine of his first miracle at that wedding. Perhaps they had seen Lazarus, who had been dead for two days, walk out of that tomb. Or maybe they had seen the paralyzed man leap off his mat and begin walking. But they spoke not a word of what was in their hearts.

Oh. There were mockers in that platoon of soldiers. You see. Not all believed who he was. So they shouted insults and taunted him. They created a crown from a branch of thorns and shoved it on his head. They even dressed him in a purple robe. Not out of respect, but in jest. And when they were finished with the mockery, they led him to be crucified. No dignity. No respect. No honor.

There were those who taunted him. They threw his own words back at him. In his face. You said you were going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. Come down from the cross and save yourself. Even those who were crucified with him ridiculed him.


When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39


But at some point, the tone shifted. To a certain degree. One thief nailed on a cross next to Jesus continued to hurl insults at him. But the thief on the other side believed. We’re going to die right along with this King of the Jews. He hasn’t even done anything wrong. He asked Jesus to remember him as he moved from life to death. And Jesus assured him that he would have a place in paradise that day.

When the Roman officer who stood facing Jesus saw how he had died, he exclaimed that he truly was the Son of God. He had witnessed the entire crucifixion scene. He saw the tenderness of Jesus’ interaction with the thieves and with his mother. This soldier knew he was seeing God in action. He believed.

It makes me wonder. When I’m going through my toughest week and my life is on the line, what do those who are against me see? When those who have ridiculed and taunted me see me at my weakest, what are they saying about me? When they see me struggling in troubled and difficult times, do they say to themselves, “Truly, this is a child of God.” Or do they wonder if I’m all talk with no action in my faith.

Is my life consistent with the words that I say? Do my actions speak louder than my words? If my life was on the line, would others recognize the work of God in my life? What do others see in me that I’m not aware of?

There are those who deny the existence of God. There are those who doubt the creation story. There are those who are  unwilling to bow to a holy God. There are those who watch from the sidelines but back away from the truth.  But they watch the believers. They see the actions. They hear the words. They listen but their hearts are hardened to the truth. Unwilling to sacrifice their will and lay their soul on the line.

They see believers in their hardest days. They watch as believers walk their most painful steps. They hear the testimony of the faithful followers of the Way. They are watching. They are listening.

When you face disappointment or unfairness. When you are persecuted and ridiculed. When you are innocent but found guilty. Will they say of you in those moments, surely, this is a child of God?

Peace in the Storm

In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to doubt God. To wonder what he’s doing. To not understand why he would allow such things to happen. Wondering is ok. Trust is important. God’s word is truth. He is faithful. His promises will always stand. God does not lie.

We don’t like to be inconvenienced. We want to do what we want to do. Sometimes that just can’t and won’t happen. Life will go on. Life may change. But as long as we have breath, God is and will always be good.

God’s promises are true. We can trust him. We may not see his promises fulfilled in our lifetime, but God does not lie. He will do as he says.

Here is a reminder of what God’s Word says. 

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. John 14:27

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. Hebrews 13:5

God does not give us everything we want, but He does fulfill His promises, leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge. Psalm 61:2-3

He will cover you with his wings when you need refuge from the storm. Psalm 91:4

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This alone I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:1-4


If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:13


This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15

The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Exodus 14:14

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by. Psalm 57:1

I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20

Thank you for your faithfulness, Father. In the middle of trouble. In the storms of uncertainty. Lord, you’re the one thing we count on. Everyday your faithfulness carries us through.

Brian Doerksen

To Tell the Truth

She’s new on the job. It’s her second week. She’s deep in the throes of training. She got the job because her friend works there. So she’s in. She’s in the cool girls group already. She didn’t have to earn a spot. She just showed up the first day and took her place. Oh. If only life was so easy for everyone.

But I’ve heard rumors. I’ve noticed things. She has a flaw that could prove very harmful down the road. Once she’s on her own doing this job, she’s going to have trouble if she doesn’t pay attention. Literally. She sits in training glued to her phone. Texting. Back and forth with I don’t know who. Sure. She has kids. But I’m sure she doesn’t micromanage them or their sitter all day every day. Does she? So then. Who is she texting? What is more important than paying attention and learning this new job? Beats me.

I mentioned this to a friend. They gave me a good word of advice. Someone needs to set her straight early on. If no one does, then she will think that what she’s doing is acceptable. I agree. I just don’t feel called to share that message with her. So I’m in a quandary. I want to say something to her. I really do. Well. I want someone to say something to her. Just not me. I’m not sure it’s my place to do so. How do I know if I should be the one to break the news that she’s setting herself up for trouble, when I have no authority to say those things?


Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31


Who wants to be the bearer of bad news? Who wants to give criticism to someone else, even if it is constructive? Who ever wants to provide feedback when it isn’t positive? Certainly not me.

But what if the feedback is the truth? Wouldn’t she want to hear it from someone who isn’t going to berate her? Wouldn’t she prefer it to come from a friendly face instead of from someone who might hold it against her for a very long time? Wouldn’t she rather know now than wait until she’s too far in to be told? Wouldn’t she wonder why no one ever said anything?

Wouldn’t I?

Oh. She might be grateful for the advice. Who knows. She may think I’m crazy. She may run to her group of cool girls and throw some shade my way. Should I care? I know those cool girls already talk about others. I’m sure I’m a regular topic of conversation with them.

I think of Jonah. He was in a similar predicament. Only his included eternal circumstances. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and announce God’s judgment on the city. The people of Nineveh were wicked and had turned their backs on God. It was time to repent or die.

That would be a tough message to share with people you didn’t know. How would they respond? Would they kick him out or kill him?

Jonah didn’t want to share the bad news, so he ran in the opposite direction. No way was he going to tell an entire city that they were going to be destroyed. Not Jonah. He was asked to do a very difficult job, and he said no. He was reluctant to obey God, because he didn’t know how his message would be accepted. He also didn’t seem to mind if the city was destroyed or not.

Of course. He did end up going to Nineveh. He took the long way there. He did share God’s message. And the people of Nineveh repented and turned to God.

I have to ask myself. Do I care what happens to my coworker? Do I want her to succeed at her new job? Do I want what’s best for her, instead of what’s easy for me? How would I want to be treated if I were in her place?

Respect

She doesn’t respect authority.  That’s all it comes down to.  She gets really mad if she doesn’t get her way.

She told me this.  She said I need to do as she does.  Here’s what you do.  She says.  She learned this lesson from someone years ago.  You just tell the one in authority what you’re going to do.  Don’t ask for their permission.  Just tell them and then just do it.  Sounds a little like a commercial, huh?  It’s the way she lives her life.  It’s the way she handles situations.  The thing is.  I call it disrespect.  How do you tell someone in authority over you what you’re going to do without asking permission?  How can someone get away with that?

I mean sure.  That’s what I’d like to do.  Just tell the authority figure what I’m going to do.  And then do it.  But I can’t.  Call me weak.  Call me a wimp.  But I have a thing about showing respect.  Even if I don’t want to.   It’s the right thing to do.

A friend reminded me of something very important.  This person doesn’t love Jesus.  So she doesn’t stop to think that her outlook on getting her own way is selfish.  It’s rude.  That’s how I described it.  Rude.  It made me madder the longer I thought about it.

She’s a grown woman.  A grandmother.  Why does she think she can always get her way?

The problem is.  She doesn’t realize that others say she’s difficult to work with.  She doesn’t have a good reputation.  She doesn’t know this.  She thinks she does a great job.  She wants a promotion.  Her boss doesn’t know how to deal with her.  He’s frustrated.  Doesn’t confront the issues that she causes.  Just pacifies her.  Just lets her do things her way.  She’s never been told that there are issues with her work ethic.

I really want to tell her what I think.  But then do I become just like her?  I don’t want that.  You see.  I like her.  I just don’t like what she stands for.  I still need to respect her.  I need to respect our differences.  Perhaps I should go boldly and gently there with her.  Talk to her.  Is it my place?  I’m not sure.


People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed. Proverbs 13:13


I have to stop and consider the times I’m disrespectful.  How do I know I’m not just like her?  How can I make sure I’m not just like her?  I like to get my way.  I say unkind words.

I think of a time.  Not too long ago.  Words were said that offended me.  Words that sounded like a command when a command wasn’t necessary.  I said words back.  I couldn’t help myself.  That what I told myself.  But I knew I needed to stop my words.  I knew I needed to show respect to the authority figure.  Even though they weren’t being respectful to me.

I was offended recently.  Twice.  By the same person.  I was confused.  They had described me in words that I would never use to talk about myself.  That’s not how I see myself.  I don’t believe it, and I couldn’t understand why they were saying those words to me.  But it doesn’t matter why.  I wanted to say words back.  I wanted to tell that person what their weaknesses were.  But I couldn’t.  It wouldn’t be the right words to say.  I needed to respect them.  Not speak in anger.  It wasn’t my place to say those words.  It was really difficult to keep those words inside.  Because once words come out, they can never go away.  As much as we want them to.  They just can’t.

I know I need to pray for these people.  The ones who don’t show respect.  The ones who think they should get their way.  The ones who say unkind words to others.

I need to pray for myself.  I need to ask God to forgive me when I don’t show respect.  When I fight to get my way.  When I say unkind words.

The golden rule really is golden.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Liar Liar

I know someone who lies.  It’s just what they do.  They tell small lies.  They tell big lies.  I’ve heard them tell whoppers.  More than once.  And they never bat an eye.  It’s as if they’re telling the truth.  In their mind, maybe they are.

Others have noticed.  When the storyteller isn’t around, someone will mention that story.  They knew it wasn’t true.  It was too obvious.  It was an almost unbelievable story.  I don’t know how she thought up such magnificent details on the spur of the moment like that.

If someone makes a point of lying just to look better than others or to get out of a tough spot, does it ever feel natural?  Does lying ever feel good?  Do habitual liars feel guilty?  Do the lies just taint any truth they may later tell?

I always assume that people are telling the truth.  I’ve made a habit of being truthful.  I don’t like lies.  Oh sure, it would be easy to lie.  In the moment, it would be easy.  But there are always consequences.  Consequences are never friendly.  They’re heavy, unnecessary lessons to be learned.


The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.           Proverbs 12:22


I sometimes think about it.  That lie I told.  That lie I never confessed.  To anyone. Ever.  I knew there would be trouble if I admitted it.  I wasn’t sure what the punishment would be.  So I didn’t tell.

I’ve thought about that lie over the years.  The first few years after the lie, I wondered if I should send a note and confess.  By then I lived in another state, and it no longer mattered.

I did something I shouldn’t have done and then I lied when asked about it.    I didn’t think about getting caught or being questioned about it when I did it. But people knew that someone had done something they shouldn’t have done.  And it was me.

When the group of us were sitting in the room being questioned, I assumed everyone suspected me.  I was the youngest.  The least experienced.  No one blamed me.  But I knew.  I knew they thought it was me.  I knew that I wasn’t going to confess to anything or to anyone.

The thing is.  I knew when I was doing it that it wasn’t right.  But someone before me had written wrong instructions.  I followed the instructions.  So was it really my fault?  Even though I knew better?

I knew their instructions were confusing. I could have corrected their mistake.  I had seen their mistake before and avoided it.  Maybe they didn’t see it as a mistake, but their intentions were misleading.  I knew better, though.  I just didn’t act on it.  I took the instructions literally.  Why didn’t I avoid it this time?  I always had before.

So I lied and said that I wasn’t the one who did that thing.  I felt bad about it.  I didn’t want to get in trouble.

Afterwards, no one ever spoke of it again.  Ever.  That was a huge relief.  I still felt it in my heart, though.  I knew I should confess.  I never did.  I. Never. Did.

I’ve learned from that lie.  I’ve learned that I don’t want to make lying a habit.  I don’t want to have to constantly remember the story I told and who I told it to.  I don’t want to have to be on my guard.  Always watching what I say and who I say it to.  Wondering if others can tell I’m untruthful.  I don’t want consequences.  It’s easier and safer to just tell the truth.  That way you don’t have to remember.  The story is always the same.