Bible Reading of the Day: Read Romans 5:12-17.

Verse of the Day: “What a difference between our sin and God’s generous gift of forgiveness” (Romans 5:15).

Grandpa shifted the tractor into gear. Heather sat on her grandpa’s lap, laughing as the tractor lurched forward. She craned her neck to look behind her grandpa to watch a tree stump, attached to the tractor by a giant chain, being ripped out of the ground.

A few moments later, Grandpa turned the tractor off, and he and Heather climbed down from the tractor to inspect the stump and the hole it had left in the field. Grandpa started to unwind the chain from around the stump.

“Grandpa,” Heather asked, “why couldn’t Jonathan come with us today?” Jona­than was Heather’s older brother. He and Heather usually helped Grandpa together.

“Well, Heather,” Grandpa answered, “Jonathan has to stay in his room today because he did something wrong. I thought you knew that.”

Heather nodded. She knew Jonathan had been caught taking money from their mom’s purse, but she was still puzzled. “Grandpa,” she said, “why do people do bad things even when they know they’re wrong?”

Grandpa finally freed the chain from the stump. He straightened and began gathering the chain in his gloved hands. “That’s a good question,” he said. He thought for a few moments before answering. “People do wrong things because everybody has a sinful nature. Ever since the first man and woman sinned by disobeying God, we’ve all been born with a sinful nature. That means that people find it natural to do what’s wrong.

“Some people give in to pressure from friends,” he continued. “Some people do wrong things because they’ve developed bad habits that they find hard to break. But all of us make wrong choices because it seems easy to us.” He turned to the tree stump. “You see that?” he said, pointing to the tangle of roots that had been pulled out of the ground. “That ol’ tree is like us. Those roots went deep into the ground beneath the tree, just like our sinful nature. We have the roots of sin inside us, and we make choices every day-we can make right choices or we can make wrong choices. We can trust God and follow his way, or we can make the mistake of giving in to our sinful nature. God never takes the choice away from us. And sometimes people make wrong choices instead of doing the right thing.”

“We don’t have to do wrong, though, do we Grandpa?” Heather asked.

“No,” Grandpa answered. “We don’t. And I hope you’ll always remember that.”

TO DISCUSS: Why do we do wrong things? What should we do when we do wrong?

TO PRAY: “Lord, whenever we feel pressured to do wrong, help us remember that we can choose to do the right thing.”