The real winners

Think a minute…In a U.S. national spelling contest, an 11-year-old girl was asked to spell a certain word.

With her soft voice the judges were not sure if she spelled the word with the letter A or E. They talked it over and finally decided to simply ask her what she had said. 

By now, the girl knew she had misspelled the word. But instead of lying and telling the judges she had said the correct letter, she told the truth and lost the contest. 

As the girl walked off the stage, the entire audience stood to their feet clapping to honor her strong, honest character. Later, dozens of newspaper reporters wrote about this 11-year-old girl’s courage and integrity, even when it cost her the contest.

But she had actually won the biggest contest that day: the contest of her character. A contest that many adults lose, sadly.

The real test of our character is what we do when we know we will never get caught. This young girl could easily have lied and nobody would have known it except her. But that’s just it: SHE would know she lied and did what was wrong.

Remember: “When you cheat, you make yourself cheap.” This young girl was strong and smart enough to prize her own conscience and character more than a little prize from a spelling contest.

Her respect for herself was more important than any respect others might give her for winning a contest. She knew she would have to live with herself and the choice she made in that moment.

Never forget, “The choices you make today make what you become tomorrow.” Our children will follow our example much more than our advice. So if we want them to grow up to be honest people, we must show them the way by being honest ourselves—no matter what we can get away with.

Then we can tell them to “do as we do”, not just “do as we say”. Our kids are constantly watching us and how we live, even when we don’t think they see or know. So right now, won’t you ask Jesus to forgive you for your dishonest heart and past wrong living? 

Then ask Him to take control of your daily life and start changing your heart, so in life’s biggest contest—the contest of your character—you and your children will always be the winners. Just think a minute…

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