What do...a bar of soap, a false accusation, and teeth have in common? Well, most often they don't have anything in common at all; unless, of course, the case is an exception; which it is.
I enjoy reading mysteries, but the realist side of me was always telling me that they weren't true stories. So, I never really believed that there were any mysteries in today's world; until lately that is. While thinking it over recently, (yeah, I think about random things) I realized that not only are there real mysteries today, but that our family had one! Furthermore, our family mystery is ten years old.
I doubt Sherlock Holmes would be interested in our little mystery. It doesn't have to do with criminals, only culprits. I mean, what big-time detective would even want to investigate the Case of the Chewed Soap? Yes! Somebody chewed the bar of soap in the bathtub. Evidently, it must have tasted good since each consecutive bar of soap was also symmetrically chewed all the way around! To this day however, no one knows who actually did it.
When the matter eventually came to our Dad's attention, an extensive interrogation took place. I was only approximately 5 years old. My little brother, at 1 or less would have been far too young to have even climbed into the tub on his own. The culprit had to be one of the remaining siblings, including myself. The interrogation is vivid in my memory.
"Now," said Dad, "We know I didn't do it. And we know Mom didn't do it. Your little brother didn't do it. So, which one of you did?" Each of us adamantly denied that we had done the crime.
Dad continued from there. "This didn't have to be a big deal, but now it is because somebody is lying. Who was it?" Still no progress.
I'm not sure what five-year-old has not had a reputation for lying, or exaggerating extensively to say the least. I was no exception. As I recall, I had a terrible reputation in this area. It was this fault of mine, I believe, which led to me being convicted of the crime. At last, I "admitted" to chewing the soap.
To my knowledge and memory however, I did not chew the soap. Since I admitted to it however (my first lie in the case) everyone thought for several years after that I had done it. (I eventually decided that enough time had elapsed for me to tell the truth safely. It was safe, it's now practically a family joke.) Perhaps, in heaven, we will find out the true culprit.
It is likely that most of you are saying to yourselves at this point, "Big deal, what's the point?" Contemplating this recently, I realized, all at once, that this incident in my life led me to become a more honest person. Ten year's later, I have quite a decent reputation for honesty. Not to say I'm perfect in that area-that would be a lie. Nevertheless, I believe that as I was standing in that corner ten years ago, I decided, subconsciously, to become more honest. Today, having a good reputation for honesty has made it unlikely for me to be accused for something I haven't done. Subconsciously, I determined that it would be far better to be punished for something I really had done, but that it be best to just not do it.
So, tomorrow, while you're eating your cheerios and thinking about a lie, don't lie. Tell the truth instead. A lie will get you nothing except the wrath of God and man, while the "truth will set you free." The freedom of a clear conscience is fantastic. Not only is it unlikely that parental punishment will be great when you tell the truth, but you have the great reward of knowing that you have done the right thing. Proverbs 22:1 says "A good name (reputation) is rather to be chosen than great riches..."
(This has been Fountain of Thoughts. Tune in next time to read: A Day in the Life of:---)