HONESTY PROTECTS US FROM SHAME AND ESTABLISHES A GOOD REPUTATION.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Ephesians 4:17-25, 28.
Verse of the Day: “Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1).
Wayne and Eddie walked into the convenience store on their way home from school. Wayne waved at the clerk behind the counter. He almost always stopped at the store on his long walk home from school, and he and Milt had gotten to know each other.
The two boys walked over to the candy counter and stood for a few moments discussing their options. While Eddie was trying to decide between a Boffo Bar and Chewy Sugar Hearts, Wayne glanced toward the cash register and noticed that the clerk watched them closely.
Wayne looked back and forth from the clerk to Eddie a couple of times, but couldn’t seem to catch the clerk’s eye. Finally, he tapped Eddie on the shoulder and said, “I’m going to get a soda pop instead of candy.” He walked over to the large cooler and pulled out a plastic bottle of his favorite soft drink. When he turned around and looked toward the cash register, he saw that the clerk’s eyes had not left the candy aisle—and Eddie.
After they had paid for their purchases and left the store, Wayne stopped around the corner from the store. “Did you see what happened in there?” he said.
“What?” Eddie asked.
“Milt was watching every move you made,” Wayne said. “He never took his eyes off you for one second.”
Eddie’s face flushed red, and his gaze dropped to his tennis shoes.
“What?” Wayne asked, surprised by Eddie’s reaction. “What’s wrong?”
Eddie shrugged and kicked the toe of his tennis shoe in the dirt. “I—I, uh, tried to steal something from that store last year,” he said. “It was just a dumb pack of bubble gum, but I got caught. My parents wouldn’t even let me go near the store for a long time.”
Wayne’s mouth dropped open in surprise. “So you think Milt thinks—”
“He was there when I did it,” Eddie said. “He probably thinks I’ll do it again.”
“Oh,” Wayne said, finally putting all the pieces together. Eddie’s stolen pack of gum had ruined his reputation with Milt; that’s why Milt had watched him so closely.
“Promise you won’t tell anybody,” Eddie said. “It’s bad enough that Milt thinks I’m a thief.”
Wayne nodded. He had never realized how easy it could be to mess up your reputation. He knew he wouldn’t ever want to be in Eddie’s shoes. “I won’t tell anybody,” he said.
TO DISCUSS: A reputation is what other people think about you. For example, they may think you’re honest, or they may think you’re dishonest. How did Eddie mess up his reputation? Would you rather have a good reputation or a bad reputation? How can being honest help your reputation?
TO PRAY: “Lord, as humans, we sometimes do things to ruin our own lives. Remind us that obeying your commands will protect us and our reputations.”