One of the earliest childhood memories I have happened when I was 4 or 5 years old. I'm not really sure exactly how old I was, but I was old enough to know right from wrong and old enough to have conversations with others, so I'm guessing that was about the age.
One particular evening, my Mom had to go to our corner Drugstore for something, I don't remember what. In those days, it was pretty exciting for me to go to the Drugstore. There was the old-fashioned Soda Fountain that had all the goodies a young child could want, anything from Ice Cream Floats to sandwiches. There were aisles and aisles of toys and candy. You could find kites and coloring books and plastic models and Bit-O-Honeys and Milk Duds. Man, I could spend hours in the store. Of course, I'm sure my Mom couldn't get me out of there fast enough since I always begged for anything I could get my hands on.
As we were ready to checkout, my Mom was busy talking to the Pharmacist and I was gazing at the wonderful, shiny items that were in the glass display case where I was standing. What really caught my eye was this nifty new flashlight that was just the right size for me. In fact, I was thinking that it was the right size to fit perfectly in my jeans pocket. I was at a crossroads. I really wanted that flashlight. I knew my Mom was not going to buy it for me. Should I, or shouldn't I?
I took one last look at my Mom who was still talking to the Pharmacist. I justified to my self that I really needed that flashlight and that no one there would really miss it. So, I took it. I grabbed it out of the glass case and stuck it in my pocket. No one knew, or so I thought. I couldn't wait to get home and checkout my new toy.
We did, finally, get home after what seemed an eternity. It was already my bedtime when we got home, but this time I wasn't dreading going to bed. I already had my plan laid out. I actually couldn't wait to hit the hay.
My Mom tucked me in as usual, turned off the light, and went back to our family room. Now was my chance. I took the flashlight from my jeans and hid under the covers so no one could see me and started shining my flashlight. This was pretty cool. Mom thought I was in bed asleep, but I was hiding under the covers playing with my new flashlight that nobody knew I had, except me.
This went on for a few minutes and then it happened. I was busted. My Mom walked by my bedroom and noticed the flashlight shining from underneath the covers. "Where did you get the light?" she asked. Of course, I didn't have a good excuse. She kept pressing me until I finally cried and admitted that I took the flashlight from the drugstore. I felt terrible. Now, my Mom was going to take me the next day back to the drugstore to give the flashlight back to the Pharmacist and apologize to him. Now, all of a sudden, I wasn't really looking forward to tomorrow.
The next dreaded day came and I was embarrassed as I gave the flashlight back and apologized to the Pharmacist. He tried to act really firm and important and lecture me on why I shouldn't have stolen the flashlight, but I knew in my heart I shouldn't have done it so nothing he said was going to make me feel worse that I already did.
There is an old saying that Character is what you do when nobody is looking. It's easy to put on a good front and have a good Christian Image, but what do you do when nobody is looking. Sometimes, we think that we can get away with Sin by hiding under the covers and hoping no one notices. Eventually, someone does notice.
Are you leading a Christian Life of true Character, or are you hiding under the covers?