Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)
TITLE: ME, MYSELF AND I
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Within days, Debbie and Sarah were at home. Sarah cried most nights and Debbie and John would take turns with her. Debbie became very protective of Sarah.
Sarah grew from crawling to walking. She began talking early in life; she was a bright little girl. Debbie did not believe in disciplining her; she just couldn’t bear to see Sarah unhappy.
Now, at six years of age, Sarah started being a handful. She’d throw tantrums in order to have her way. John would punish her and Debbie would give John the cold shoulder for doing so. Sadly, John and Debbie were becoming distant.
One afternoon, a neighbor desperately in need of a babysitter knocked on Debbie’s door. Debbie agreed to look after Melanie. Not long after the girls were playing, Melanie began crying.
Debbie listened in the hallway to see what Melanie was up to. She overheard Sarah telling Melanie that she didn’t like her and that she wanted her to go home. As Debbie was about to walk in, she heard Sarah saying, "You can cry all you want. My mother won’t believe you. I’ll tell her that you said ugly things to me. My mom always takes my side."
Debbie was shocked and furious. She stepped into the bedroom and told Sarah to apologize to Melanie. Sarah was surprised that her mom would side with Melanie. That wasn’t like her. She blurted out, "I didn’t do anything wrong. Melanie’s just a baby. She’s crying for nothing."
"No, she isn’t. I overheard you. Sarah, I want you to say that you’re sorry."
Sarah sulked and refused to apologize to her friend. She wasn’t used to being corrected by her mother.
"Sarah, seeing as you won’t listen to mommy, then, you’re going to bed for the afternoon. And, don’t even think of throwing a fit because you’ll be punished even more severely."
At this Sarah started crying. However, her mother stood her ground. Debbie took Melanie by the hand and walked downstairs with her. She asked Melanie if she’d care to make cookies with her. Melanie was all excited.
Just as the cookies were ready, Melanie’s mom rang the door bell. Debbie prepared a plate for Melanie. She informed her mother of what had taken place.
After they left, Debbie sat on the sofa and cried. Why hadn’t she listened to John? Debbie started remembering some Bible verses she’d learned as a teenager. How could she have gone in a different direction? Things were going to change for the better.
(NIV) Proverbs 13:24
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
As Debbie was meditating on these verses, the door swung open. Debbie rushed to hug John and to tell him that she was sorry for having pushed him away and for having spoiled Sarah.
They sat on the sofa and talked about many things. They both agreed that they would find a church congregation and begin attending regularly. They would also read the Bible every night. They both desired to bring up Sarah in the ways of the Lord. With God in their relationship, their family would withstand any storm. That night they went to sleep with hearts filled with peace and love.
The next day, Debbie and Sarah went to Melanie’s house. Sarah apologized and asked Melanie to come play with her. Melanie agreed; children forget offences so easily. We could stand to learn from them. They played all afternoon, giggling and having fun. It’s as though Sarah had changed overnight.
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