Chocolate Without Sugar

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"Lori totally ignored me at our class party," complained Emily to her friend Kayla. "What a snob!"

"Yeah," agreed Kayla. "Lots of times she doesn't speak to me, either--unless she wants some help with math or something. She's so two-faced! But who needs Miss Stuck-Up anyway?" Kayla glanced at her watch. "Oh, it's getting late. I better go."

After Kayla left, Emily went to the kitchen where her mother was working. "Oh-h-h! Are you making brownies?" asked Emily.

"Yes, I am," Mom answered as she measured sugar.

"Yum!" Emily picked up a spoon that still held a bit of chocolate and stuck it in her mouth before Mom could stop her. "Oh, yuck!" Emily groaned and made a face. "This tastes awful! Mom, what's wrong with that chocolate?" she asked.

"There's nothing wrong with it, but it's unsweetened chocolate. It doesn't have sugar in it," Mom explained. "I was going to warn you, but it was too late." Thoughtfully, she added, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation with Kayla. It was something like that chocolate."

"What do you mean?" Emily asked in surprise.

"Well, chocolate without sugar is bitter, isn't it?" Mom replied. "Things we say can be bitter, too--and it seems to me that the things the two of you said were just that. Bitter--with no sweetness at all."

"But all we said is that Lori is stuck-up, and she is!" protested Emily. "We're not mean to her. We're always helping her with homework and stuff."

"That's good, but . . . if she heard your words, what would she think? The old saying, 'Actions speak louder than words,' is true, but words do speak.The Bible says our words should 'impart grace to the hearer.'"

Emily shrugged. "Well, Lori didn't hear us," she said.

"I'm glad of that, but I did hear you, and I didn't feel any grace," Mom replied. "Chocolate needs to be sweetened to taste good, and our actions and words need to be sweetened, too--sweetened with love. The Bible says even good things we do are worthless if we don't have love. Be sure to remember that, okay?"

Emily nodded slowly. "Okay," she agreed. "I'll do my best to remember."

How About You?
Do you pursue love? Today's Key Verse is very short, but if you do as it says, it will make a big difference in your life. Read today's Scripture verses again and be reminded of how love acts. Then when you're giving, serving, playing, or talking--whatever you're doing--think about the way love should affect your actions and your words. Ask for God's help in making sure you're doing everything with love. He says that's more important than many other characteristics we all admire.

Today's Key Verse:
Pursue love. (1 Corinthians 14:1)

Today's Key Thought:
Do everything with love