Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: AGREE TO DISAGREE (05/04/17)
TITLE: When Compassion Trumps Argument
By Raymond Bouchoc
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Jenny put her hands on the edge of her desk and pushed herself back a little, widening her eyes at Mandy’s outburst. “Who infuriates you? Jim?”
“Yes, J-i-m,” she said with a deep, gravelly voice, like she was dragging it through the mud, twisting her mouth and rolling her eyes. “Nothing I say changes his mind. He thinks it’s ok to live with his girlfriend, and he says that marriage is for old-timers, a thing of the past.”
“I didn’t know he was that extreme,” said Jenny.
“Yeah! And he just sits there with that smug smile on his face. It’s … just … so … evil. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s like the sly smile of a snake. I keep waiting for a forked tongue to flick out of his mouth.” Mandy shivered.
“I know what you mean,” said Jenny. “He gives me the creeps, too.”
“I told him that what he was doing wasn’t God’s way, but he just laughed at me and said the Bible was for old people. By then I was so mad that I called him a “jerk,” and maybe some other names.”
“You cursed at him?”
“No. I didn’t go that far, but the whole thing was a big joke. He said that us Christian girls need to live out in the world, that we’re sheltered, and that God’s our crutch. I really lost my composure by then. I stomped my foot and left.” Mandy looked at Jenny. “I STOMPED my foot! Who does that? I heard him laugh behind me.”
Mandy started crying. She plopped herself down in one of Jenny’s chairs, and put her face in her hands. Jenny got up and went over to her. She leaned over and put her arm around Mandy. “It’s okay,” she said.
“I never felt so ashamed. I was the worst Christian witness in the whole wide world.” Mandy continued to cry. Jenny handed her a couple of handkerchiefs. Mandy wiped the tears from her eyes and cleaned up her face a little.
“Sometimes the best arguments don’t change a person’s mind. Sin blinds people. It is like being in a dark room. They can’t see the light. They can’t see the truth,” said Jenny.
“Maybe I should just tolerate him. I know he doesn’t know Jesus, and that’s why he believes what he believes.”
Jenny answered, “Well, that might be the easy way out, to just tolerate him and let him go on his merry way. But toleration is unloving.”
“Unloving? But he is SO wrong!”
“With the love of Christ, we should care that he is wrong, pray for him, and take every opportunity to share the truth.”
Mandy rose and gave Jenny a hug. “Thank you, Jenny. You’re such a great friend.” She left Jenny and headed back to her office.
Mandy started going the long way back to her office, avoiding Jim, but then resolved not to. She knew the truth, and didn’t have to be ashamed about it. As she approached Jim’s office, she looked down where she walked and thought, “Don’t look up. Don’t look up.”
Passing by his office, however, she heard Jim yelling. “No way! Pam….” Pam was Jim’s girlfriend, and she had never heard Jim raise his voice before. He was always sly and smug. She couldn’t help it. She looked up and saw Jim on the phone. His face was red and twisted. He waved his arms and paced his office.
Jim and Mandy’s eyes met. Time slowed down for her. What should she do?
She pressed her lips together in a straight smile. Her eyes drooped in sorrow. She put her hands together to suggest she was praying for him.
Jim followed her with his eyes for an eternity as she walked by. Then, he nodded his head slightly, acknowledging her gesture.
A tear appeared in Mandy’s eye, and she prayed for Jim the rest of the way back to her office.
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