Target Practice

When I was a boy, the one toy my brother and I always wanted for Christmas or for a birthday was always the same.  It didn’t matter what kind, shape or color as long as it was a gun!  The ones that shot caps (you know the old paper ones that came in a roll) were always preferred but squirt guns were always in season at our house.  Few things were more fun than shooting squirt guns in the bath tub, except when you would get it in the eye with soapy water.  In fact, it was squirt guns in the bath tub that caused a real problem for my brother and I one evening.

Now you might be wondering; how much trouble can you get into shooting squirt guns in the bath tub? Especially since mother would always pull the shower curtain so we wouldn’t get water all over the bathroom.  Well, if there was trouble to be found, my brother and I could find it.  We decided we needed a new target to shoot at other than each other and as we peaked out from behind the curtain we saw the perfect target, the toilet paper roll hanging on the wall.  We concluded that we could roll out some of the paper, take aim and blast away.  When we needed more targets, all we needed to do was to roll some more out.  After a few minutes of blasting, my gun jammed so I climbed out of the tub, ran to my room to get my backup gun, all the way drying the floor with my towel as I went.  But once in my room I heard the sound of my mother’s voice and she didn’t sound happy.  I heard her exclaim in a loud voice, “What have you done?  What were you thinking?  What a mess you’ve made!”

I thought for a minute that maybe I shouldn’t return to the scene of the crime, but I ran back to the bathroom willing to accept whatever punishment might be coming.  As soon as I walked into the bathroom my mother turned to me and asked, “Did you have anything to do with this, or is it all your brother’s doing?”  I thought for a moment and before I could think it through I responded, “I didn’t do it, it wasn’t me!”  My mom said, “Very well, get yourself dried off, put your pajamas on and get into bed.  I’ll be in with your brother as soon as he gets done cleaning this mess up.”  I did what I was told, all the time listening to my mother bawling out my brother.  But what I didn’t hear was my brother saying, “He did it too!”  No, my brother didn’t tell on me but instead of my feeling relieved, as I thought I would, I felt something else…guilt.

What is guilt anyway?  Guilt is what you feel when you haven’t been caught at something you shouldn’t have done in the first place and know that you deserve to be caught.  Where does guilt come from?  It comes from God and it is God’s way of telling us to admit our wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness no matter what.  You see, each of us has something called a conscience living in us, and it was put there by God.  If we didn’t have a conscience, we’d never feel guilt or be able to know what is right and what is wrong.  Sometimes our fear of getting caught and being punished makes us want to ignore our conscience and those guilty feelings, but that is never the right thing to do.  More often than not, it will take an awful long time for the guilty feelings to go away and the only way to make the guilt really go away, for good, is to admit what you’ve done and ask forgiveness.  This will make you feel better in the end and please God at the same time.

Well I couldn’t take it anymore, so I jumped out of bed and met my mother and brother at the bedroom door as they were coming in.  I blurted out, “I did it too…in fact it was me who took the first shots at the toilet paper roll!”  Much to my surprise both my mother and brother began to laugh?  Then my mom said, “I knew you would hear us in the bathroom, so I whispered to your brother, ‘Let’s see if your brother will admit that he was shooting things up too, I’ll pretend to yell at you and let’s see if we can make him feel guilty to confess.’”  They tricked me into feeling guilty, but only because I was guilty!  My mom went on to say that she wasn’t happy about us making such a mess in the bathroom but she was happy and proud of us for telling the truth.  In fact, instead of being punished my brother and I both had ice cream bars before we went to bed as reward for telling the truth.


Have you ever felt so guilty about something, you just had to tell the truth?

Have you ever decided that telling the truth was just too hard to do?

Are you lying if you don’t get caught and you decide not to admit what you’ve done?

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