Clarence Higgins was not a nice boy until the day the copycat showed up.
On that day, Clarence was kicking sand out of his sandbox when the yellow cat appeared. Clarence did not like the cat. He yelled at the top of his voice to try to make it leave.
But the cat was not afraid of Clarence. “MEOW!” yowled the cat as loud as it could, and then it began kicking up sand, just like Clarence had done.
“Copycat,” said Clarence.
Just then Clarence’s mom called, “Lunchtime!” and Clarence ran to the kitchen. The copycat followed him.
He sat down at the table next to his sister. Chicken nuggets! They smelled so good that Clarence could hardly wait to eat, so when his sister looked away, Clarence stole one of her nuggets.
But when he turned back to his own plate, it was empty. The copycat had eaten all of Clarence’s nuggets.
“Mom!” cried Clarence. But there were no more nuggets for lunch, so Clarence had to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Clarence did not like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
And Clarence did not like the copycat.
After lunch, Clarence went into his mother’s room. The copycat followed him. Clarence felt like jumping on his mother’s bed. So he did. He jumped until the pillows and sheets were all crumpled and messy. The copycat was not there when he finished, and Clarence was glad. But when he went to his room, Clarence was surprised. The copycat was jumping up and down on his bed. And all over the floor were his sheets and pillows and toys.
The copycat stopped jumping just as Clarence’s mom walked in.
“Look at this mess!” she gasped. “You stay in here and clean this up, young man, and don’t you leave until it’s done.”
Clarence was angry at the copycat.
When he finished cleaning, he picked up the copycat, ran outside, and put him on the porch. But before Clarence could get back inside and close the door, the copycat ran back in and locked Clarence out.
Clarence made two fists and stomped his feet. “Arrrgh!” He knocked and rang the doorbell, but no one came to let him in.
Clarence sat on the porch for a long time.
When Clarence’s Dad came home from work, he asked Clarence why he was sitting on the porch.
“That old copycat locked me out,” said Clarence.
“Well, maybe if you are nice to the cat, then he will be nice too, ” suggested his Dad.
Clarence hadn’t thought of that. But Clarence didn’t want to be nice. He wanted to pull the copycat’s tail. So he decided to get some help.
“Dear God,” Clarence prayed, “I don’t like that copycat, and I don’t want to be nice. But in church they said that You are good. And if You come inside me then I can be good too. So will you live inside me? In Jesus’ Name, Amen."
When Clarence looked up, he felt different inside. He wasn’t angry anymore.
Clarence followed his Dad inside and his mom called them to dinner. He sat down next to his sister. But this time, he felt like sharing his french fries with her. So he did.
Then he went upstairs and passed his Mom’s room. He felt sorry for the mess he made and wanted to fix her bed. So he did.
When he got to his room, he found the copycat sleeping on his bed. But he didn’t feel like pulling his tail anymore. He felt like petting the copycat. So he did.
The copycat purred.
That night, Clarence thanked God for living inside him. And whenever Clarence felt like being mean again, he prayed.
“…It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Gal. 2:20, NASB)
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