Johnny throws a stink bomb

“Johnny just do it!” Marcus said. Johnny contemplated the stink bomb in his hand and wondered. He desperately wanted to get out of it. Johnny was popular in his own way. There were certainly enough classmates that thought he was cool and really looked up to him, although he was not as popular as the starting quarterback of the varsity team.  Now He had the unenviable assignment of throwing a stink bomb into Mr. Bender’s classroom, while he was teaching. The smell although not destructive would certainly disrupt the class. Although it was risky, what Johnny hated most was that it was Mr. Bender.  He was a demanding teaching that often would assign the longest Homework and give by far the hardest exams. But he taught American History and Johnny loved the course. He had aced it and his work had been routinely praised as “well thought out”, “an in depth analysis”  “highly developed” and “especially creative”. Johnny had enjoyed his moment in the light with Mr. Bender and all those good memories were floating in his head.  He could hear his favorite teacher discussing the causes of the American Revolution.  Johnny thought to himself “I can’t do this to Mr. Bender.” Then a sweet voice carried across the hall, “Hey Johnny what you got there?” It was Marie, the prettiest girl in his official class. She was Johnny’s dream girl. No way could he appear to be soft in front of her. Now his best friend Marcus repeated the order “Johnny just do it” and added “What are you chicken now, scared of old Bender?”  Johnny looked at his friend and then at Marie and released it. Like the cowards they were they all took off running.

Soon Johnny found himself in the school yard and thought it best to just head home. That evening Marcus called “Man that was a thing of beauty. Why did you take off? Dude nobody knows who did it. Just Marie and she has a thing for you.” The guilt was so great Johnny didn’t even realize what Marcus had said about Marie. Johnny didn’t want to talk about it. Johnny told Marcus “I’m not feeling well Marco, talk to you later” and he hung up.

Two weeks later the guilt was still driving Johnny crazy.  Now he stood before his favorite teacher, frozen and speechless. Old Mr. Bender, grey haired and bearded and wearing a brown cardigan sweater looked up and smiled. “Nice seeing you Johnny, few students had such a deep and extensive grasp of American History. I sincerely enjoyed our discussions. I really thought you enjoyed the course as well.” It’s as if he knew and just wanted to make this more difficult for Johnny. Now came the icing on the cake “Hey Johnny didn’t I write a letter of recommendation for that summer job you wanted. How did that go?”  Johnny could not bear to look at him and while he hung his head low, he finally just came out with it. “I did it Mr. Bender.” Mr. bender decided he wasn’t done with it and added “What are you talking about Johnny.” “ I threw the bomb the other day.” “I knew you had done it Johnny.” “Why didn’t you report it?” Johnny asked.  “In a couple of months you’re going to start applying for colleges. Would you like something like that on you record?”

Johnny now realized he had given in to peer pressure and made a victim, of not only his favorite teacher, but a teacher who was merciful and considerate of his future.  He was undeserving of such kindness and even after the apology still felt there was more he should do. Fortunately, wise old Mr. Bender had an idea. “You know Johnny I was thinking my car is going to need a good cleaning this weekend.” Johnny smiled. “It’s going to be shiny as new by Sunday Morning Mr. Benson.” Mr. Benson responded “Excellent, just in time for my niece and I to go to Sunday school.” Johnny was satisfied and headed for the door when Mr. Benson stopped him “Oh Johnny you know my niece right.” Johnny answered “No sir.” Mr. Benson with a smile said “Oh you do, her name is Marie.”

Solomon said it perfectly “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”(Proverbs 1:10) God does not want us to fold to the pressures of others or this world. We must remain strong and listen to the Holy Spirit that guides our actions. (John 16:13, Romans 8:14 ) It is God himself who speaks to our conscience so that we can do what is right. When we fail it is that same spirit that convicts us. Let us ask God to make us strong that we may resist temptation and live a life that we need not be ashamed of.  Peter wisely adds   “We must obey God rather than men.”  (Acts 5:29)

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