Winning the Battle
"What is God going to think of me?" —Liz
The hardest thing for me to avoid is the desire to gossip, especially when the story is juicy. It's almost like someone is right there urging me to tell somebody else. There are times when I give in, but it never feels good afterward. One time, when I didn't gossip, a story got around school, and the person it was about thought I did the gossiping. I felt awful, not only because it wasn't me who'd done the telling, but because the person was so hurt in the process.
Now, when gossip or anything else tempts me, I think about the long-term effects: Who's going to get hurt? What's going to happen because of this? And most importantly, What is God going to think of me if I do this?
"I couldn't do it alone"—Jason
There was a time when I decided I wasn't going to be the "good Christian guy" anymore—even though I still looked like it on the outside. I taught Sunday school and went to youth group, but it was all just an act. At the same time, I began experimenting with all kinds of stuff. I got into a bad dating relationship, I lost myself in heavy metal music, and other stuff.
After awhile, I felt so bad about my behavior, I decided to clean up my act. Things were OK for a while. Then temptation knocked on my door, and I was doing the same old things, back on the roller coaster ride again.
This happened a few times, and last summer was probably the lowest of my lows. But I climbed out in a different way. I just didn't say, "I want to stop. I feel bad about this." Instead, I went to God and asked for his help. Obviously, I couldn't do it alone.
I also went to an adult I respected and whose faith I looked up to. I meet with him periodically to tell him what's going on and pray with him. He gives me good perspective and good tools to help me say no to the temptations that are a part of my life.
"Who am I going to disappoint?"—Renee
A few weeks ago, I decided to walk home from a friend's house after dark, because it was only a couple of blocks. When I got home, my mom asked if I'd gotten a ride home, and I said, "Yes." Dumb, I know. I mean, I hadn't done anything wrong, but I knew my mom would say I shouldn't have walked home in the dark, and I just didn't feel like telling her what I'd done.
Sometimes when my parents ask me about insignificant stuff, I'm tempted to lie just because it feels like they're prying. I think, Well, no one'sgetting hurt by this lie, so what's the difference? I know it's wrong, but I still catch myself doing it now and then. Much less than I used to, though, because I want my parents to trust me.
When I'm tempted to do something wrong, whether it's lying or something else, I always stop and think, "Who am I going to disappoint by doing this?" If the answer is God, then I really stop and think, "Hey, I'd better not do this."
When you do fall … don't be discouraged! God knows we'll make mistakes. But forgiveness is always right around the corner. When we do sin, God will forgive us (1 John 1:8-9). So there is no need to wallow in guilt. God does not condemn us (Romans 8:1), so we don't need to condemn ourselves. So get back up, get back on the right track, and keep on going. And always know that each time you fall, God is there to catch you.
Written by Crystal Kirgiss
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