Today’s Youth Devotional

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Tommy’s Tactic

Bible Reading: 1 Peter 3:8-12

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.   1 Peter 3:8, NIV

THERE ONCE WAS a little boy whose name was Tommy. One day in school Tommy’s teacher asked him to come to the chalkboard to do a math problem: 2 + 2 =_. Tommy strode to the board, picked up a piece of chalk, and wrote the number “5” in the space. When his teacher informed him that his answer was wrong, Tommy thrust out his chest and said, “It may be wrong for you, but not for me. I say two plus two equals five.”

Later, Tommy was playing at recess. A little girl stood ahead of him in line, waiting to climb the ladder to the giant slide. Tommy pushed her down into the dirt and took her place in line. “Tommy,” his teacher said, “you should be more compassionate. Don’t you know it’s wrong to be so cruel?”

But Tommy stepped onto the ladder and smiled. “Maybe it’s wrong for you, but it’s not wrong for me. I say cruelty is right and being nice to other people is wrong!”

Tommy said such things many times until the last day of school, when his teacher called him aside. “Tommy,” she said, “I wanted to show you your report card.” She smiled and handed Tommy the piece of paper, which bore a large red F.

Tommy looked shocked. “An F?” he said. “Why are you giving me an F? That’s not right!”

The teacher smiled. “An F may not seem right to you, but it’s right for me!”

Obviously, Tommy’s tactic backfired, didn’t it? That’s the problem with saying, “Well, it may be wrong for you, but it’s not wrong for me!” We all want to be treated fairly, honestly, sympathetically, lovingly, and compassionately. Those things are right whether or not we say they’re right. Those things are right whether or not Tommy says they’re right. Those things are right whether or not anyone says they’re right. Know why? Because it’s not up to any of us to say what’s right or what’s wrong; that decision belongs to God and God alone. That’s a lesson Tommy needed to learn; it’s also a lesson we all need to learn.

REFLECT: Do you ever act like Tommy? Why or why not? Do you ever try to decide what’s right or justify what’s wrong? Who really decides right from wrong? What does today’s Bible reading reveal about right and wrong?

PRAY: “Lord, help me to always remember that it’s not up to me to say what’s right or what’s wrong because that decision belongs only to you. Help me instead to always do what you say is right and stay away from what you say is wrong.”

18-Sep
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© 1996, 2003, 2018 Josh McDowell Ministry. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission.