Bible Reading of the Day: Read 1 Timothy 4:1-5.

Verse of the Day: “I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and everyone else” (Acts 24:16).

“What are we watching tonight?” Rusty asked.

Rusty’s family observed a “family night” every Monday evening. Usually they would play games, go bike riding, or read to each other. Once a month, however, Rusty’s parents planned a “TV night,” when they would watch a video of a program Mom or Dad had taped earlier that month for the purpose of teaching Rusty and his younger brother, Jeff, something important.

“Your mother taped a news program last week,” Dad said.

“News?” Jeff whined. “Do we have to watch it?”

“It’s not just news,” Mom said as she slipped the tape into the VCR. She turned to face the two boys. “It’s an interview with a man who has murdered over twenty people.” “You’re going to let us watch that?” Rusty said, sounding excited. Mom nodded. “Yes, and I’ll tell you why as we go along.” Mom pressed “Play” and started the videotape. The family watched the interview of a former gangster. The man wore a wig and false beard to conceal his identity. He talked easily about the murders he had committed. Occasionally Mom or Dad would pause the tape to ask Rusty and Jeff questions, like “Do you think what he did was wrong?” and “Why was it wrong?”

Mom stopped the tape and asked the boys if they had any questions. “How could he kill somebody,” Rusty asked, “and say it was OK?”

“He didn’t act like it bothered him at all,” Jeff said.

Dad nodded. “He talked about killing people as if it were no big deal.”

“Yeah, but how can he kill so many people and not care?” Rusty asked.

Dad picked up a Bible and read verses one and two from the fourth chapter of First Timothy. “The Bible says that for a person’s conscience-the part of the person that makes it clear what’s right or wrong-can die. It may be that the man you just watched felt guilty the first time he killed somebody. But he didn’t stop. He kept killing. The second and third times, he probably didn’t feel as bad as he did the first time. After awhile, as he kept ignoring his conscience, it may have just shriveled up and died.”

There was silence in the room until Mom spoke a few minutes later. “That’s one reason we want you boys to always listen to your conscience and obey God.”

Rusty and Jeff looked at each other, then looked with wide eyes at their parents.

“Don’t worry,” Rusty said. “We will!”

TO DISCUSS: How can a person’s conscience “die”? How can you keep your conscience “alive”?

TO PRAY: “God, help us to listen to our conscience, and to obey you, with the help of your Holy Spirit.”