Josie loved her new rain boots. They were bright pink, and when she walked they said squinch, squinch. She especially liked to jump into puddles because they made a big splash all over the sidewalk.
Josie’s sister Lucy didn’t like Josie’s boots quite so much. “Stop splashing me, Josie!” she said as they walked home from school. Lucy was two years older, and she had forgotten how much fun it was to splash.
Josie wanted Lucy to have fun too. “You try it, Lucy,” she said. “See how big I can splash?” And Josie stomped extra hard into the nearest puddle. The water splashed all over them. Josie was glad she had her raincoat on.
“Josie!” Lucy yelled. Lucy was not wearing a raincoat. She was very wet. And very angry. “Look what you did! This is my new jacket! Why do you always act like such a baby!”
Lucy was no fun. Why was she always so grumpy? It served her right that she got all wet. She was silly to wear her new jacket today when she should have worn her raincoat. Suddenly, Josie was angry at Lucy.
Josie ran ahead to the next big puddle and waited by it until her sister caught up to her. Then she jumped into the puddle as hard as she could.
“Josie!” This time Lucy was really, really wet.
Josie ran the rest of the way home and went right to her bedroom. A few minutes later, Mom knocked on the door and came in.
“Josie?” she said. “Lucy says you splashed muddy water all over her new clothes on purpose. Do you want to tell me about it?”
There was a hard, cold lump in Josie’s tummy. She didn’t want to tell Mom what had happened. “I didn’t do it on purpose,” Josie said, but she didn’t look at Mom. The lump in her tummy was getting bigger.
“Are you sure?” Mom asked. “Because I don’t think Lucy would lie about this.”
“Well, she must be lying,” Josie said. But her voice was a little shaky.
Mom was quiet for a few minutes. Then she said, “Well, even if it was an accident, you should apologize. Lucy’s new jacket is very dirty now, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to get it clean. She’s sad about that.”
Josie kept her head down, picking at the little knots on her quilt. “OK, Mom,” she said.
Mom left Josie alone in her room.
Josie wandered around her room feeling yucky inside. Her new boots were in a corner, still wet. She tried to look at a book but she couldn’t keep her eyes on the pictures. She got out her paper dolls, but they weren’t any fun.
The yucky feeling inside was getting worse.
Finally, Josie sat down on her bed and cried. She knew she had told a lie. She knew she shouldn’t have splashed Lucy. She had been naughty and she felt terrible about it. But how could she fix things now?
Just then, Mom knocked on the door again. “Josie?”
“Come in,” Josie said.
“Josie, I can see you are very sad.”
“Oh, Mom,” Josie sobbed. “I did splash Lucy on purpose. I did it because I was mad. But I shouldn’t have. And I shouldn’t have lied. I’m sorry, Mom.”
Mom held Josie tight and patted her back. “You must feel pretty terrible right now,” she said.
Josie nodded. She felt muddy inside, like Lucy’s jacket.
“I know a way to make that awful feeling go away. And you do too. In fact, you’ve already started by telling me what happened. Now what should you do?”
“But, Mom, I don’t want to talk to Lucy.”
“You don’t want that yucky feeling to be with you forever, do you?”
“Maybe she’ll forget about it,” Josie said.
“She might, but I don’t think you will,” Mom said. “If you don’t repent of the things you do wrong, they stay inside you, and they change you into a different kind of person than you want to be. But if you take care of them as soon as you can, they don’t stay with you. They disappear so that you can be your real self.”
Josie thought about it. She didn’t want to become a mean person. Even though she had been mean to her sister, she could erase that and be her better self. That sounded pretty good, but it didn’t sound easy.
“But it’s hard,” she said.
“You’re right,” Mom agreed. “Admitting you did something wrong and asking for forgiveness is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. But I know you can do it, Josie. It’s worth it.” Then Mom went out.
Josie looked at her poster of My Gospel Standards. It said: “I will choose the right. I know I can repent when I make a mistake.” She knew she had to talk to Lucy. She knelt to ask Heavenly Father for both forgiveness and courage.
Lucy was in the kitchen eating popcorn.
“Yes.” Lucy didn’t even look at Josie. This was going to be even harder than Josie had thought.
“Lucy, I’m sorry I splashed your new jacket.”
Lucy didn’t say anything. She just looked down.
Josie took a deep breath. “I’m going to help Mom clean it. And I’m sorry that I told Mom I didn’t do it on purpose. I told her a lie. Will you forgive me?”
Lucy sat still for a few seconds. Then she took a deep breath and looked at Josie. “Yes, I’ll forgive you.”
All at once the yucky, heavy feeling in Josie’s tummy went away. She felt as clean as her new rain boots had been. She felt hungry too. “Can I have some popcorn?” she asked.
“Sure, Sis,” Lucy said. She smiled as she handed Josie the bowl.
[Peace of Conscience]
“You can regain peace of conscience by repenting of personal transgressions that cause you internal turmoil.” Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Peace of Conscience and Peace of Mind,” Ensign, Nov. 2004, 16.