The Ugly Stain

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"I think everyone had fun at my slumber party," said Haley.

"That's great," said Mom, "and you were a perfect hostess, honey. I like the way you treated your friends."

Haley sighed. "Mom, Vicki spilled chocolate milk on my new bedspread," she said, "and it left a big, brown stain. She felt so bad, so I told her I was sure it would come out and not to worry about it. It will come out, won't it?"

"Probably," replied Mom. "Let's take a look at it."

Haley's little sister, Julie, trailed along as they went to Haley's room. "Julie behaved very nicely with your friends," said Mom, giving the little girl a hug.

"That's a miracle," said Haley, scowling at her sister, "considering she's a brat."

"Haley!" said Mom sternly.

"Well, she's a pain," Haley said as they reached the door of her room. "Just yesterday, she got watercolor paint all over my new jeans. She's always getting into everything!" Haley pointed to her bedspread. "See . . . that's where the chocolate milk spilled. Will it come out?" she asked.

"I know what you can do," Julie piped up from the other side of the bed. "You can put this pillow over it." She picked up a pink pillow and placed it on the stain. "There! That fixes it!"

"That doesn't fix anything," grumbled Haley. "That just covers it up."

"True . . . but you could just cover it up when you have company--like you cover up the stain in your character," murmured Mom.

"What?" Haley asked. "What do you mean?"

"I've noticed that you tend to be very impatient and unkind toward your sister except when your friends are around," said Mom. "Then you treat her better. It's like you're covering up a stain in your character. When your friends leave, you uncover it again and the impatience reappears."

Haley blushed. Deep down, she knew Mom was right. She looked at her sister. "I-I'm sorry, Julie," she murmured. Turning to her mother, she added. "I'll try to do better. Will you remind me?" Then she grinned and added, "I'm sure you will!"

Mom smiled. "I will," she said. "Confess your problem to God, too. Ask Him to remove that stain--that impatient spirit--and to help you be more loving."

How About You?
Are you more kind and gracious with your family when other people are present? It's important to behave in a godly manner all the time, whether someone is watching you or not. If that's a problem to you, give that ugly "stain" to God. Ask Him to cleanse your heart so you don't have to cover up sinful actions and attitudes anymore.

Today's Key Verse:
I will behave wisely in a perfect way . . . I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. (Psalm 101:2)

Today's Key Thought:
Show kindness at home