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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Our Mutual Friend (not about the book) (09/15/11)

TITLE: Bully Town
By Gerald Shuler


Michael drew a deep breath and tried to gather his wits. Feeber Wilson was waiting for him on the other side of these rocks and sooner or later Michael would have to do something. Desperate as he was for a solution, though, he had no idea how to avoid the bully’s demands. It had been this way for nearly the entire two weeks since his mother had moved them to Boynton. Boy, did they ever name this town wrong, he thought. It should be called Bully Town.

“What an imaginative thought.”

The voice startled Michael. He twisted around to face his latest threat. It was a man, smiling as though this entire bully thing amused him. The man didn’t seem to want to harm him, though. As he calmed down he begin to realize what the man had said. He heard my thoughts!

“Of course, I did.” The man, as though it would explain everything, held out his hands for Michael to inspect. A huge hole pierced each hand at the wrist. He looked into the man’s eyes and, instantly, he saw a vision of those eyes looking on a crowd of bullies with compassion and forgiveness as both arms stretched from nail to horrific nail on a Roman cross.

“My Lord,” Michael whispered, “It is you.”

Jesus smiled. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Lord, is there anything you CAN’T do?”

“Good point.” Jesus put his hand on Michael’s shoulder. “That’s one of qualities I admire about you, Michael. You grasp the obvious quickly.”

“I wish I could grasp an obvious way to avoid Feeber Wilson. He’s been bullying me since . . .”

“I know. Since I had your mother transfer to this town.”

Michael was slow to respond to that revelation. He hated what his mother had done and had even told her in bitter anger. He had seen nothing good about the move since it ripped him away from all his friends and forced him to cope with people like Feeber Wilson on a daily basis. He hated it.

“You are the one who made my mom move?”

“Well, I didn’t ‘make’ her move. I encouraged her, though.” Jesus was still smiling.

What was with all the smiling? It was as though Jesus knew something that Michael didn’t. Of course, He knows everything. Michael thought.

“See what I mean? A grasp of the obvious.”

“Okay,” Michael said, “So what is the ‘obvious’ in my current situation?” Michael pointed in the direction of the bully on the other side of the rocks. “Nothing is coming to mind.”

“That is why I came to help. You are looking at this all wrong. Michael, you are looking through eyes of fear. You see Feeber Wilson as your enemy. I see him as a potential friend.”

“You haven’t seen what I’ve been going through this last . . .” Michael stopped mid-sentence. Of course Jesus knew. “Forgive me, Lord. What would you have me do?”

“Stop running.”

“And get beat up every day?” Michael slumped his head to the rock he was leaning against. “Thanks for such an easy assignment.”

“Who says you will get beat up?” His smile broadened. “I didn’t say ‘Get beat up’. I said ‘Stop running’.”

Michael was genuinely baffled. “So what do I do when he catches me?”

“Fulfill the Great Commission.”

Now Michael was really baffled. The great commission was to go into all the world and preach the gospel. How did that apply? Again, Jesus knew Michael’s inner turmoil.

“Let me explain the Great Commission.” Jesus slipped down beside Michael and leaned his head on the same rock Michael’s head shared. “You are a dear friend of mine, Michael. You accepted my love when you were eleven and you have been true to our friendship. Justin is . . .”

“Justin? Who’s Justin?”

“You only know him as Feeber Wilson.” Jesus touched Michael’s hand softly. “I know him better than you do.” He paused briefly to let Michael absorb another piece of the ‘obvious’. “Justin is hurting in ways that don’t show. I have tried to reach his heart but he simply is not receptive to my knocking. He needs to see you live a life that he has always wanted. Michael, he needs you to go into his world and live the gospel. Will you stop running long enough to gain us a mutual friend?”

Michael rose to his feet.

“Justin,” he called, “can we talk?”

Jesus smiled.

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This article has been read 685 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick09/22/11
I like the easy dialogue and the calmness and assurance that Christ brings to the middle of a situation, what seemed hopeless and caused so much fear and anxiety. I wished that you could have not ended it there though, as I was hiding behind the rock as well and wondering what happened next. However, it does allow the reader to imagine what happened next. So, is there maybe another story that follows this? This piece would be great for a christian magazine for kids and teens. I really enjoyed this one.:)
Linda Goergen09/23/11
I love the message and it is so true, Christ is the bonding agent that can make strangers or enemies our instant friend! Well written! Great job!
Nancy Bucca09/24/11
This is wonderful - a story that encourages us all to reach beyond ourselves and our difficulties to fulfill the great commission. I too am longing to read a possible continuation.
Lillian Rhoades 09/26/11
You gave the reader a lot to think about. You did a great job with the theme. Jesus calls Justin a mutual friend, but He is also a mutual Friend. The dialogue had a realistic, natural flow. Perhaps,"that's one of qualities" would read better as,"that's one of many qualities," and "Nothing is coming to mind" as "Nothing comes to mind."
With the word count restricting the expansion of your story, your seemingly abrupt resolution is understandable. Bullying is a hot button topic today, and your story, without the word count restraints, would make a great children's story with marketing potential.
Virgil Youngblood 09/26/11
I thought the story was delightful and presented a great scriptural lesson. The next to last sentence,
“Justin,” he called, “can we talk?”, caused a momentary reading bump for me. Here's why. After dialog with Jesus, which Justin would not have heard, there is no scene change before Justin is greeted. I imagine the word count came into play. Well done.
Jody Day 09/26/11
Liked the casual dialogue and the message. Good job.
Lillian Rhoades 09/29/11
Congratulations on your win! I hope you consider turning this into a children's story.
Brenda Rice 10/01/11
I enjoyed reading this. I like the approach you took, the atmosphere you created and the way Jesus was so available to the child. Good job. Congrats!
Lisa Johnson10/19/11
This was one of my favorites, you know. I knew you would do well. Congrats!
Jan Ackerson 10/27/11
Gerald, I'm going to feature this on the Front Page Showcase for the week of November 14. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!