Everyone Knows

by Crystal Bowman

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14 NIV

Several years ago I sat next to a young woman on an airplane who started up a conversation with me as soon as I took my seat. “Flying makes me nervous, so I like to talk to someone because it makes the time go faster.” 

I smiled at her and said, “Honey, you are sitting next to the right person—I love to talk!”

As we ascended into the clear blue sky, she began telling me her life’s story. When she was four years old, she and her family crawled through a tunnel from Mexico to the U.S., eventually finding their way to Chicago, where they settled. She shared that her father was an alcoholic and  she rarely saw him sober. He beat her every day, and her mother did nothing to protect her. She was never allowed to wear dresses to school because her mother didn’t want the teachers to see her bruises. Even in the hot, humid Chicago summers, she wore long sleeved shirts and pants.

She continued her story and told me that she left home as a teen and moved in with her boyfriend’s family. I asked her if it was a safer environment, and she told me that it was safer physically, but his mother was verbally abusive. She and her boyfriend married at the age of 19, and her husband worked as a landscaper, eventually building a successful business. With great pride, she told me they had three children, and she loved volunteering at school and being a teacher’s helper. It was obvious to me that she loved her children. She told me that she showered them with the affection she craved as a child.

I then asked her the questions that were begging to be answered. How do you know how to be a good mother when you didn’t have any role models? How can you raise your kids in a healthy environment when you were physically abused, and your husband was verbally abused

Her reply was confident and profound. “Everyone knows what’s right and wrong. You just choose to do one or the other.”

Wow! Such wisdom from a young woman.

The Apostle Paul preached the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews followed the 10 Commandments, also known as the Law. In Romans 2, he explains that the Gentiles, who do not have the Jewish law, know right from wrong because God created humans with a sense of right and wrong. In verse 15 (NIV) he writes,  “They [Gentiles]show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.”

Since we are born with a sinful human nature, we don’t always choose to do what is right. It is impossible for us to live perfect lives. But when we choose to do what we know is wrong, our conscience convicts us.

Jesus came to bear our penalty for all those wrong choices we make. Through his death and resurrection, we can be fully forgiven and cleansed of sin. Even after we accept Jesus as our Savior, we continue in sin because of our human nature. But God is a God of mercy and forgiveness and wipes the slate clean as we confess our sins.

I had another question that I wanted to ask my passenger friend. “Are you a Christian?”

“Oh, yes!” she replied. “Being a Christian has allowed me to forgive my parents for my abusive childhood. I still see them often, and every year I help my mom put up her Christmas tree.”

As we landed, I told her that I would never forget her or our conversation. I told her how blessed I was to sit next to her, and how someday I would be sharing her story in one of my articles or books. That day is today. I trust her story inspires you as much as it has inspired me. May we all ask God to help us make the right choices in our lives. We know right from wrong—it’s written on our hearts.  


This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids.She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.

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When a child’s grandparent or great-grandparent is afflicted with dementia, it’s difficult to explain the disease in a way that helps the child understand why the person they love is not the same. I Love You to the Stars–When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembersis a picture book inspired by a true story to help young children understand that even though Grandma is acting differently, she still loves them–to the stars!

Join the conversation: Is there a conversation you have had that you will never forget?

5 thoughts on “Everyone Knows

  1. Thank you Crystal! So true – when I Male excuses for others sometimes I am continually reminded – deep down we all know what is right and wrong – and with Christ we can always choose what is right. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautiful! I’m not one who actually likes to talk on airplanes, as my nervousness (and introverted tendencies) cause me to turn away rather than turn toward a fellow passenger. Next time I fly, I’m going to ask the Lord to direct me in HIS ways and be open to the possibility that I just might glean something so beautiful in flight… and writing material too. 😊 Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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