Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Miss Doreen Roth
Ring! The bell rings for recess to begin, and a flood of children run out of the school onto the playground. A group of children line up for the rings to swing their way across. Trina is ready to go, but suddenly Michelle, an older girl, pushes her to the back of the line. ÒIÕm first,Ó Michelle tells Trina. ÒBut I never got a turn last recess!Ó Trina protests. ÒYes, you did!Ó Michelle replies already swinging across. ÒYou went last!Ó ÒI did not!Ó Trina denies. ÒI was going to have my turn and then the bell rang to come in!Ó Who is telling the truth?

Robert, James and Brian climb to the top of the playground equipment. James is telling the others boys about the new snowboard he got for his birthday. Robert listens and wishes that he had a snowboard like that. Brian tells them he has an even better one at home. When Robert asks him why he doesnÕt take it to school, Brian says heÕs not allowed to, because he might wreck it. Robert and James look doubtful. Does Brian really have a better snowboard at home, or is he just trying to sound better than James?

ÒMy crazy carpet is gone! I left it right by the fence, but now itÕs gone!Ó Leah and Maria stand at the top of the hill, ready to go down. Leah is upset because she cannot find her crazy carpet. Maria looks around and then says, ÒI saw Carol with a red one that looks like yours; she probably took it. She always takes other peopleÕs stuff.Ó LeahÕs face becomes angry. ÒIÕm going to tell on her,Ó she says. ÒShe better give it back to me.Ó Does Carol always take other peopleÕs things, or is Maria being mean?

On the soccer field some small children are building a snow fort. Together they roll the snowballs and then carefully place them on the walls. Suddenly a group of older children come racing past, shrieking and laughing. Carelessly they jump over the fort, knocking down one of the walls. One of the little boys runs to tell the teacher, and she calls the students back to find out what happened. ÒThey broke our fort!Ó the little children cry. The teacher asks which student broke the wall, but no one answers. HadnÕt any of them broken the fort, or were they afraid of getting in trouble?

Have you ever heard this at school? Have you ever argued with your brothers or sisters about whose turn it is to go first? Have you ever tried to sound better than someone else, or tried to make someone else look bad? Have you kept silent so that you would not be punished? God talks about this in the ninth commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. This commandment teaches us that we may not lie, exaggerate, or tell bad things about others. We also must not fool people by not saying anything when we are supposed to speak up.

People lie to get their own way. They think about what they want, instead of caring about others. We can see this with Michelle and Trina. Michelle wanted to be first across the rings, so she accused Trina of lying. She was thinking about what she wanted, instead of being fair to Trina. What would you have said if you thought Trina already had her turn last recess?

Some people exaggerate to sound better than others. When James was telling his friends about his birthday present, Brian became jealous. Instead of being happy for James, he wanted to sound just as important. So he told James and Robert that he had just as good a snowboard at home. What do you say when someone is telling about something they have that you donÕt have?

You may sometimes hear people saying mean things about others. They want to make someone else sound bad and make themselves sound good. And so they tell stories about someone who is not there. LeahÕs crazy carpet is missing, and Maria immediately accuses Carol of taking it. She says that Carol always takes things, making Carol sound bad. What do you do when people say something mean about someone else? Do you laugh and tell some more things about them, or do you defend them?

Sometimes people do not say anything when they are afraid of getting in trouble. They will not admit that they have done something wrong. When those older students broke the small childrenÕs snow fort, no one admitted it to the teacher because they were afraid of getting in trouble. Now the small children are angry with them, the teacher cannot trust them to tell the truth, and they have a guilty conscience before God. How do you answer when you are asked about something you have done wrong?

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We all have broken the ninth commandment. Every one of us has lied, or exaggerated, or said untrue things about others. And God takes lying seriously. You may know the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Ananias and Sapphira were a man and woman who lied to the apostles. They sold a piece of land and gave some of the money to the church. That was nice of them. But then they told Peter that they had given all of the money to the church. First Ananias came and lied to Peter, and immediately God struck him down dead. Soon Sapphira came, and she lied too. God also struck her down dead. We can read in Zechariah 8:17 that God hates lying. And He tells us in Proverbs 19:5 that Òhe that speaketh lies shall not escape.Ó God will punish liars. Is there no hope then? Or is there a way to be forgiven? Turn for a moment to Proverbs 28:13. There we read, ÒHe that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.Ó If we pretend we have not sinned, or try to hide our sin from our parents, and teachers, and God, we will get into more trouble. But if we confess that we have sinned and do not do them any more, then God will forgive us our sins.

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