How can I tell what’s right from what’s wrong?

Published 3:52 pm Thursday, November 4, 2021

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“You can really tell right from wrong because when you hit someone, you feel sorry for them,” says David, age 9. “Like if you kick someone in the knee, you feel bad,” adds Paul, 10.
“I feel a feeling that feels like ‘no,’” says Sarah, 7. “You get a tingling feeling when you do something wrong,” says Nicole, 9. “A nice feeling comes when you do something right.”
Oh yes, that tingling feeling. I remember it well, especially when Dad applied his hand to the seat of my pants.
“When I start to do something wrong, I feel like I have a stomachache,” Scott, 10, says. “The heart pumps fast when you are doing wrong and pumps slow when you are doing good,” Taylor, 10, adds.
A lie detector measures the increased heart rate and perspiration that usually go with lying.
That “little thing inside you” is “your conscience telling you right or wrong,” says Sean, 9. In fact, Lyndon, 9, says, “Always let your conscience be your guide.”
Conscience can be a reliable guide, but it’s not infallible. The New Testament writers describe the conscience as capable of being weak, defiled, evil and even “seared with a hot iron,” totally incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong.
An example of a finely tuned conscience is provided by Madison, 9: “If it’s a sneaky or tricky thing, it’s wrong.”
Gray, 8, shows us his mother’s influence: “If you think your mom wouldn’t let you do it, then you shouldn’t do it.” Nicole, 10, adds: “I know right from wrong because my mom and dad taught me. Also, I read the Bible.”
Nicole, if your parents have looked to the Bible as their standard, consider yourself blessed.
The Apostle Paul wrote the following to a young minister named Timothy: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17).
Scripture is “profitable.” The Bible is a gold mine for learning the ways of God so that you can be “complete” or mature and ready “for every good work.”
Taylor, 10, says the Bible contains an objective standard for right and wrong: “If you follow the Ten Commandments, you are doing right. But if you break them, you are doing wrong.”
The problem is that everyone has broken more than a few of these written laws. The Apostle Paul wrote: “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
Jesus said he didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. This one who always kept the law by doing what was right offered himself as a sacrifice for lawbreakers. That’s us. No exceptions. Jesus promised to impart his life to all who accept him as their savior. When Christians are filled with God’s Spirit, they live under a higher law than the 10 Commandments, the law of love.
Point to ponder: God fills the hearts of his followers with love. Not every Christian is a disciple of Jesus.
Scripture to remember: “I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:10).
Question to consider: Are you listening to the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit to increase your love for God and his righteous ways?
(Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost.)

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