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Good Advice

John 15:12-14, 17

When Carrie and her brother Toby came home from school, the family dog ran to meet them. "Hey there, Butch," said Carrie. She reached down to pet him as he bounced back and forth between her and Toby, eagerly wagging his tail.

"Hi, kids. How was school today?" asked Mom. Carrie frowned as she hung up her coat and then sat at the counter. "Something wrong?" asked Mom.

"Well . . ." Carrie hesitated. Then the story tumbled out. "When Brianna came into our classroom at school today, she waved and smiled real big. I was so glad because sometimes she doesn't even talk to me. I waved and smiled back, but she frowned and looked funny at me. Then she smiled again, and this time she said, 'Hey, Robin! Let's play together at recess.' So she wasn't waving and smiling at me at all, only at Robin who was right behind me." Tears filled Carrie's eyes, and Butch came over and put his chin on her knee.

"I'm sorry, honey. I know that hurts-I've had the same sort of thing happen to me," comforted Mom, putting an arm around her daughter.

"Butch likes you," said Toby as the little animal snuggled against her.

"Yeah, but he's a dog," muttered Carrie.

Mom smiled. "Lots of people-including kids in your class-like you, too," she said.

"Sure they do," agreed Toby.

"Maybe," Carrie murmured. "I'm not so sure."

"Really? Well, when we have a disappointing experience, we should see what God wants to teach us from it," said Mom. "So think for a minute about the kids at school and at church. Are you always friendly to them the way God wants you to be?"

Carrie was thoughtful. "I will be from now on," she said. "I'll remember how it hurt to have someone ignore me-and how good it felt to have Butch like me." She patted the dog. "I'll be friendly like Butch instead of stuck up the way Brianna is!"

"Careful how you talk about her," warned Mom. "God wants you to be friendly to Brianna, too. My grandma used to tell us to always be generous with smiles and show God's love. That was good advice. You never know how God might use something as simple as your smile to have on impact on someone's life."

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