A teenage girl moved to a new city and tried to adjust to the peer structure in her new surroundings and school. Being a little shy and quiet, she was drawn to people who were more outspoken and energetic than she. She had been the closest friend to a very popular and confident girl from childhood. The two complimented each other in their different strengths, and she hoped to find the same kind of friend again.
She found a friend in a lab partner in science, one who was just as confident and vivacious as her old best friend had been. The new friend was a popular girl, despite the fact that she was not particularly attractive. She made up for any physical defects with humor and spunk, and in general was considered one of the ‘cool’ kids at the school, invited to all the best parties and given preference when she attempted almost anything.
The new girl was a different friend than her others, for she didn’t expect much from her. She found that even if she wasn’t witty or funny or even was sometimes down or whiny, her new friend tolerated it all very well. Finding that she could confide in her, the two became close friends and told each other many secrets and dreams. The popular girl began to expect her new friend to be with her at every event. Happy to comply and be wanted, the girl made her best effort to be a part of her new friend’s life in every way she could.
The new student was not into sports, but did enjoy supporting her friend at all of her athletic competitions and attended almost every game. The young woman became used to seeing her friend in the stands, cheering for her and smiling if their eyes met. She loved having a personal fan, and was very content with her life. Her friend blossomed over the year, and became more attractive and shapely. Both girls agreed that appearance was nothing, but could not ignore the new attention the young lady was receiving.
On occasion the outgoing girl forgot her friend was around and took her for granted. Being certain of her friendship, she worried more about the boy she secretly admired asking her friend on a date than how her friend felt about him. When they were seen talking in the stands one night, she lost her focus and the team lost points. She would get the story out of her on the way home tonight, she thought as she had a momentary pang of jealousy. When her reason returned she decided that she would accept it if they were to date, but knew it would be hard. As she left the locker room after the game she was unable to find her friend. Her jealousy increased and her mind raced to assume she had gone with the boy somewhere.
Assuming the worst about her friend; she sent an angry email when she returned home. In it she accused her friend of ‘leaving her’ to beg for a ride when in reality she had three other choices and was not in any way inconvenienced other than to be a little embarrassed for a moment. The email brought up faults in her friend in a way that was intended to be hurtful and cruel, to show her there was a consequence to being disloyal.
When she received no reply, she wondered at the wisdom of her decision. After pacing around, she called her friend and heard a pain filled voice on the other end. The girl’s brother had been caught in some unfortunate circumstances, and had compounded the problem by running from the police in a stolen vehicle. He was now in jail and would likely not see her outside of prison for many years. The stigma of her association with a criminal would mean social consequences, she was sure of it.
After they spoke, the popular young woman thought about the strange turn of events. She realized that this might mean the boy she liked would notice her again. The more she thought about distancing herself from her friend, the more she became convinced it was the right thing to do. There was no value in both of them facing social consequences by remaining friends. After the call, she made a few innocent sounding phone calls expressing concern for the young lady, knowing that was enough to start a buzz of activity and interest.
The next day as soon as she walked into school, the new young lady realized that her story was already known from the looks and whispers around her. Even the boy who had seemed so interested in her friendship the night before would not look in her direction. She turned to face the one friend who would accept her, only to realize that there was no friendship left. Secrets were not safe after all.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I wanted to reflect on outward acceptance for a hidden wrong.
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
In Matthew 4:3 Satan (the tempter) comes on the scene. We are never told of a physical interaction, but often to portray it in art or movies it is depicted as if two men are talking together. As I was thinking about my perceptions, I realized I had always pictured that – when more than likely it was not face to face but more a spirit accusing Jesus and casting doubt. The tempter starts off with a bang; he takes God’s declaration after the baptism literally, but twists it slightly. “If you are…” Why do that? God is not a liar, but that is exactly what Satan tries to imply, by putting doubt on how trustworthy His words and promises really are. He started this in the Garden of Eden, and still uses it as his best attack.
Everyone, including Satan, heard God declare the identity of Jesus. Why must Jesus prove anything? Jesus had no need to prove it, that wasn’t what He came for. He could have dismissed this accusation easily and yet Satan adds a little spice. He had waited for the physical weakness and longing for food before he said make these stones into bread. Certainly a little miracle, easily accomplished and no one would know the difference as Jesus was alone. The little white lie, the little sin unnoticed by anyone but God are something we may justify to ourselves as harmless or innocent enough as well.
Were it so that a sin done in private held more weight than a sin that damaged or destroyed lives this would be definitely in that category. Jesus had just done what was required for all righteousness, and then fasted for forty days. I may fool myself into justifying that I ‘deserve a break’ or that I’ve been generous in one way or another and so I can be selfish if I was good, God won’t mind. This is such backwards thinking to God’s way though. God loved me when I was abhorrent to Him; there is no cleaning up necessary. I can’t be ‘good’ like my son and earn a little more privilege if I behave well. God loves me, not my actions and not my attitude. In that light, there is no sin that is small or great, they all keep me from drawing close to Him and why (I ask myself yet again) would I want to run from the only One who truly loves me?