Looks like you are using an old version of Internet Explorer - Please update your browser
“It’s your turn, Jessie,” Justin told his friend. “Hurry up.”
“Just a second,” said Jessie, nervously biting her fingernails. “I’m trying to figure out how I can win.”
“It’s too late,” Justin teased. “I’m going to win, no matter what you do.”
Jessie finally moved her playing piece.
“Ah-ha-ha!” Justin gave an evil laugh then announced, “I won!”
Jessie sat back and sighed as she nibbled on the tips of her fingernails again.
Jessie’s mom walked into the room. “You kids need a snack?” she asked, watching Jessie bite her nails. “You must be hungry, Jessie; you’re chewing on your fingernails like they were candy.”
“Huh?” Jessie pulled her hand down from her mouth. “Oh, sorry. I guess it’s a habit.”
“Well, it’s a bad habit, and you need to stop doing it,” said her mom. “Just think of all the yucky germs on your fingers that are going into your mouth.”
Jessie stared at her fingers. Her mom was right—they didn’t look very clean.
“Ellie’s got a bad habit, too,” said Justin, talking about his little sister. “She sucks on her thumb, and it gets all wet and icky.”
Later on the kids went next door to Justin’s backyard where Ellie was playing in the sandbox. “Hi, Ellie,” said Justin cheerfully.
“Hi, Jussin,” Ellie replied. “I pwaying in da sand.”
“Can we play, too?” asked Jessie.
“Uh huh.” Ellie nodded, and the older kids sat down to build a sandcastle.
“Hmm. How should I make this part, round or square?” asked Justin.
Jessie looked at the spot Justin pointed to. Without thinking, she lifted her fingers to her mouth to chew her nails. “Bleecch!” she exclaimed. “Eww! I forgot I have sand on my fingers!” Jessie tried to wipe the sand off her tongue, but it didn’t work. Now more sand was in her mouth!
Just then, Ellie began to cry. “What’s wrong, Ellie?” Justin turned toward his little sister, who was staring at her wet thumb.
“My fumb is sandy,” she whimpered as she tried to wipe off her mouth. But the more she wiped with her sandy fingers, the more sand stuck to her face.
“Let’s get outta here,” said Justin. “We better go wash up.”
After the kids washed the sand off, it wasn’t long before Ellie poked her thumb into her mouth again. “No, no, Ellie,” said Jessie. “We’re not supposed to have our fingers in our mouths.” Jessie tried to pull Ellie’s thumb out, but the harder she tugged, the tighter Ellie held on. Jessie was about to give up when the thumb finally came out—pop! Ellie frowned and crinkled up her face, about to cry.
Jessie tried to figure out what she should do to keep Ellie from crying. As she thought, she began to chew on her nails again. Suddenly, to her surprise, Ellie pulled on her hand. “No, no, Jessie,” said Ellie sternly.
Jessie laughed. “You’re right, Ellie. I guess it’s hard for both of us to stop our bad habits. Let’s go read a book or something.”
The two girls climbed up in a chair together. Jessie opened Ellie’s favorite storybook and began to read. Most of the words were easy, but once in a while, Jessie had to stop to sound out some of them. Whenever she stopped to think, her hand would go up to her mouth, and she’d start biting her nails again—chomp, chomp. Meanwhile, Ellie was starting to feel sleepy, and her little thumb went straight to her mouth—slurp, slurp.
As the girls were chomping and slurping, Justin and his mom walked into the room. “There you are,” said Justin.
“What a funny picture,” said Justin’s mom, chuckling. “You girls both have your fingers in your mouths.”
Jessie immediately pulled her hand away. “I can’t help it,” said Jessie. “I keep chewing my nails without thinking about it.”
“There are some good habits, like brushing your teeth, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and remembering to pray,” explained Justin’s mom.
“How come it’s so easy to start a bad habit, but so hard to stop?” asked Jessie.
“You mean sin is just a bad habit?” asked Justin.
“No, sin is disobeying God,” replied Justin’s mom. “The difference between sin and a bad habit is that we can quit bad habits, but we can’t quit sinning without God’s help. God does not want us to sin; he wants what’s best for us—to live in a way that is pleasing to him. It pleases God when we choose to do what’s right. We can’t do that on our own. But when we trust in Jesus to forgive us of our sins, he makes our hearts clean and helps us say ‘no’ to sin.”
“So, biting my nails is not sinful? And it’s not wrong for Ellie to suck her thumb?” asked Jessie.
“No. But these things aren’t good for you, so it’s better to stop.”
Ellie popped her thumb out of her mouth then reached up and pulled Jessie’s hand away from her mouth. “It’s bettah to stop, Jessie,” she said, echoing her mom.
Jessie smiled. “You’re right, Ellie. It is better.”
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.