Beyond Mildew and Tassels

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Bible Reading: Romans 14:21-23

Anyone who believes that something he wants to do is wrong shouldn’t do it. Romans 14:23, TSLB

GOD HAS GIVEN a lot of direction and instruction about what is right and what is wrong. He has made it pretty clear: “Don’t lie,” “Don’t steal,” “Honor your father and mother,” and so on.

In fact, God has been really specific with some of his commands. For example, his commands to Israel actually included such details as

• what priests should wear (Exodus 28:1-43)

• which kinds of animals, fish, and birds could be eaten (Leviticus 11:1-19)

• how to rid a house of an “infectious mildew” (Leviticus 14:33-53)

• how tassels were to be worn (Numbers 15:37-41)

• which vows made by wives or daughters were binding (Numbers 30)

• what to do if you found a bird’s nest on the ground (Deuteronomy 22:6-7)

Isn’t that great? If your house ever has an “infectious mildew,” or you wonder just how you ought to wear the tassels your great-grandmother gave you for Christmas, you’ll know what to do!

Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Oh, there’s no doubt about the “big” things, like murder and stealing and love and mercy. But sometimes it can be hard to know if a choice is right or wrong. A lot of the choices kids face can be pretty hard to figure out. If you’re not sure something is wrong, should you go ahead and do it anyway? Or should you never do anything unless you’re absolutely positive it’s right? What if you get stuck between two choices and you have to choose one, but you don’t know if either one is right?

Well, it’s not necessarily a sin to do something that we don’t know is wrong-or right. We can’t know everything, and we don’t have to assume that everything we don’t know about is wrong. On the other hand, if you have doubts and think it might be wrong, you’d better make sure by doing these four things first: (1) Put off doing it; (2) pray about it; (3) search the Bible for direction; and (4) ask for advice from your parents or from a Christian friend you trust. If you still can’t determine what’s wrong or right, steer clear of it. It’s better to not do something that would have been OK than to do something that is wrong.

Remember, too, that God wants you to choose what is best, not just avoid what is wrong.

REFLECT: Have you ever had trouble figuring out whether something is right or wrong? What did you end up doing in that situation? Ask your parents what they think about the decision you made.

PRAY: “Lord, help me to choose what is best and not just avoid what is wrong.”

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