This time I've really done it, Juliana thought. Just moments before, she had been shopping for groceries with her stepmother. She had helped put cheese and bananas in the cart. Then, at the checkout line, she spotted the racks of bubble gum and candy bars for sale. Glancing around to be sure nobody noticed her, Juliana snatched a bright pink pack of gum. She hid it under her shirt as she and her stepmom crossed the parking lot to their minivan.
"What's that under your shirt, honey?" Maria, Juliana's stepmother, asked as she loaded groceries into the van.
Juliana kicked halfheartedly at a pebble. Guilty feelings started to fill up her belly. Slowly, she extended her hand, revealing the stolen gum.
"Oh, baby girl," Maria said sadly. "Here." She reached for the gum. "Wait here."
Juliana climbed into the van to wait while her stepmom returned to the store. Moments later, Maria joined Juliana in the van and took hold of her hand.
"I talked to the store manager. If you come inside, you can apologize and talk about what you can do to fix it."
Juliana nodded. The sick feeling in her stomach grew. "I'm sorry, Maria. I don't know why I took it, except..."
"Except what?" Maria prompted.
Juliana sighed. She liked Maria, but she still wasn't sure she wanted her dad to be married to her. Still, she wanted her stepmother to understand. "Sometimes, when I say I want something, nobody listens. Even when it's important," Juliana explained.
"And sometimes you want things more important than bubble gum, right?" Maria asked.
Juliana sniffed. "I know it was wrong. I'll go in and say I'm sorry for stealing the gum."
"That's the right thing to do. You can also tell Jesus you're sorry. He already knows what you did, and why you did it."
"Then He knows more than I do," Juliana said.
"And He wants to help you," said Maria. "He loves you so much--enough to pay for your sins on the cross."
Juliana opened the van door. She turned back to look at Maria. "Will you come with me?"
"Of course, honey."
"Good," said Juliana. "That's really what I want." ALLISON WILSON LEEHOW ABOUT YOU?
Do you ever make a choice to do something and then later regret it? The Bible tells us we all sin. In Christ, we have complete forgiveness from God. We can confess anything we’ve done wrong, knowing Jesus has already paid for our sins and will forgive us. He made the way for us to have a relationship with Him and is always there to help us.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: 1 JOHN 1:9 (KJV)
IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST AND WILL FORGIVE US OUR SINS AND PURIFY US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. (NIV)