Winning in Life – 2/17/2005


Jane: “Tom makes me so mad. Mrs. Claire doesn’t see, but he is always poking me in the back.”
Sue: “He makes me mad too. He was my friend last year, but this year he is just a meany.”

Two hours later, during class.

Jane: (loudly) “Tom! Stop poking me! Mrs. Claiaiaire! Tom keeps poking me in the back…and it hurts!”
Mrs. Claire: “Sue, you need to stop yelling. Tom, why don’t you spend a few minutes in the hall.”

Tom walks slowly to the door. Jane looks at Sue, giving the thumbs up sign. Sue’s attention is drawn to Tom as he closes the door behind him. He looks so sad.

A few minutes later, Sue asks to go to the bathroom. In the hallway, she finds Tom, sitting on the floor with his arms and head on his knees. Tom looks up, hoping it’s Mrs. Claire.

Sue: “I’m sorry you got in trouble.”
Tom: “Stupid old Jane. She’s just not a good sport.”
Sue: “Tom, you keep poking her. She had to tell, because you won’t leave her alone. You were our friend last year.”
Tom: “That was before you started tattling on me. I was just trying to be friends.”
Sue: “If you want to be our friend, you need to act like one. I’m glad that the truth came out in class. Now maybe you can stop poking her and we can be friends again.”
Tom: Tom looks right at Sue. Being friends was what he wanted. “I’m playing wall-ball at recess.”
Sue: “Can Jane and I play too?”

Love does not rejoice in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Sometimes when people bug us, we can be tempted to have a personal party when they finally get their dues. Difficulties can debilitate us or teach us – and it often depends on the reaction of people around us. Sue went to Tom when he was having a rough time and restored him to relationship. She had reason to rejoice, not because Tom got into trouble, but because his situation gave her an opportunity to be his friend and restore him to relationship.

Pray: Lord, help us to not rejoice when those who bother us get what is coming to them, but help us to see instead the opportunity that the truth provides. Give us the ability to see others the way You do, and love them with Your love. Help us to step past our hurt feelings to reach the person behind the actions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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