Mistake at the Lake - A Family Devotional

Description

Share Josh McDowell's devotional with your kids to illustrate the difference between a mistake and a sin.

There's a difference between a mistake and a wrong choice.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:23-24. 

Don’t think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them (1 Corinthians 10:24).

“Oh, Crystal!” Shayna ran into the family’s vacation bungalow by Lake Mohawk, her cheeks streaming with tears.

“What’s the matter, girl?” her older sister asked. Crystal was a sophomore in college; Shayna had just started junior high.

“It was awful, just awful!” She flopped onto the couch and buried her face in her hands.

“What was awful?” Crystal sat down beside her little sister and put a hand on Shayna’s knee.

“I feel so bad!” Shayna struggled to control her tears while her sister waited patiently. “I saw Gary Emerson at the beach today. He was there with his mother and brother.”

Crystal handed her sister a tissue and waited while she wiped the tears from her eyes.

“We talked for a few minutes and then I said, ‘Where’s your dad?’ I made some smart crack like, ‘He’s probably working on that stupid car of his, isn’t he?’”

Shayna stopped and blew her nose. “Gary got real red, and then he said, ‘No, Dad’s not here. He died a few months ago.’” She looked at her sister with a pain-filled expression. “He looked so sad, Crystal. How could I do something so… so awful?”

Crystal waited a few moments, then gripped both her sister’s hands in her hands. “Shayna,” she said, “did you mean to hurt Gary?”

Shayna shook her head.

“Of course not,” Crystal said. “You made a mistake, Shay. An honest mistake. You didn’t do anything wrong. There’s a difference between a mistake and a sin.”

“But I feel so bad!” Shayna cried.

“Sure you do, Shay. You feel sorrow for what Gary’s feeling. But you don’t need to feel guilty or ashamed about what you did. You can be sorry even when you did nothing wrong.”

Shayna wiped her eyes again and fell silent for a few moments. Finally, she stood and walked to the door.

“Where are you going now?” Crystal asked.

“I’m going to visit Gary’s family. I want to tell Gary I’m sorry about his dad.”

TO DISCUSS: What’s the difference between a mistake and a sin? Can a mistake sometimes be a sin? Give some examples.

TO PRAY: “Lord, help us not to feel guilty when we make mistakes. Remind us to come to you when we sin.”

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