Bible Reading of the Day: Read Proverbs 11:1, 3, 5-6.
Verse of the Day: "Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty" (Proverbs 11:3).
Everyone had finished eating dinner except Joy.
"Joy, did you get into the cookie jar before dinner?" Mom asked. "No," Joy answered, shaking her head solemnly. "Please clean your plate," Mom said.
Once everyone else had gone, Mom cleared the table and started doing the dishes. While her mother had her back turned, Joy set her plate on the floor and let Whiskers, the family cat, eat the chicken and vegetables on her plate. When Mom returned to the table, Joy sat before an empty plate.
"Very good!" Mom said. "You sure took care of that dinner, didn't you?"
"It was good," Joy said, smacking her lips.
Just then, however, Whiskers began to make coughing and choking noises. "What's wrong with Whiskers?" Mom asked. "I don't know," Joy said quickly, though she knew it was another lie. Mom knelt down by Whiskers. "Did you see him eat anything?" she asked. "No," Joy answered.
Mom picked up Whiskers and carried him into the kitchen. "I feel so helpless," she said. "I don't know how to help the poor little fellow." She stood silently for a few moments, while Whiskers' choking and coughing got worse. Finally, a look of determination crossed her face. "We're going to have to take him to the vet," she said.
"No!" Joy cried. She knew the vet would tell her mom that Whiskers had swallowed a chicken bone, and Mom would figure out what had happened. Joy's eyes filled with tears. "I didn't eat my dinner," she confessed. "I gave it to Whiskers." Mom balanced Whiskers in one hand and stretched her other arm around Joy. "I'm sorry, Mom," Joy said. "I didn't mean to keep lying to you, but it was like once I lied about eating my dinner I had to keep telling lies to cover up the other lies, and . . . and . . ." She was sobbing now.
Mom hugged her daughter. "I know, Joy," she said. "That's what dishonesty does. It traps us into telling more and more lies, and bigger and bigger lies. That's why honesty is so much better. But I forgive you, and I hope you'll remember this the next time you're tempted to lie."
"Oh, I will," Joy said through her tears. "Now let's help Whiskers," said Mom.
TO DISCUSS: What was the first lie that started Joy's web of lies? How many lies did she have to tell to cover up that lie? Have you ever been trapped by your own dishonesty? If so, tell about it. Why is honesty better than dishonesty?
TO PRAY: "Before we weave a web of lies, remind us, Lord, how much one lie hurts you and disrupts our fellowship with you."