I used to be in Bible Club in middle school. I was even the president of the club one year. I was a model student and a goodie-two-shoes to boot. Every Wednesday, I'd stay after school and read my Bible with five or six others. If we were feeling a bit rowdy, we'd listen to D.C. Talk.
Then came my eighth grade year. I decided I was going to get in trouble and not care. I became too cool for my former Christian friends. I went against everything I had been taught and believed in.
Enter Mrs. Jones, my English teacher. She was a quiet, polite and mild-mannered lady. She always wore her long salt-and-pepper hair pulled straight back in a simple pony tail. Colorful business suits and too much lipstick.
She quickly became my target.
I loved to act up in class and make the other kids laugh. Having a pushover for an English teacher only encouraged me.
I'd cause scenes daily - throwing things, making comments, pulling pranks. I thought I had her figured out. I was full of myself and didn't mind the occasional reprimand she meted out.
There was one thing I didn't count on.
Mrs. Jones was a Christian. She was the new sponsor of the Bible Club, which met every Wednesday after school.
Partway through the year, her choice of punishments changed a bit. Rather than assign extra homework or sending me to chat with the principal, she'd make me stay after school for detention.
I thought this was great. It's far easier to sit and stare at a wall for a bit than to write a paper. I was winning.
I started to notice a pattern, though. The majority of my detentions were awarded on Wednesdays. It's hard to sit in the same room with your former Christian friends and not feel awkward. I'd sit on the other side of the room and ignore them, then bolt for the door the second the required amount of time had elapsed.
Soon, I was in detention each and every Wednesday. I quickly learned to behave. This did nothing to relax the relentless Bible studies, though. Mrs. Jones gave me detention whether I deserved it or not!
Each week, everyone in the study politely asked me to join them. Each week, I sullenly declined.
Mrs. Jones was winning.
I stayed after one non-Wednesday to have it out with Mrs. Jones.
"I know what you're doing," I accused. "Why are you forcing me to come to the Bible studies?"
"I know you," she responded.
"What do you mean?" I retorted. "You know nothing about me!"
"I know you used to go to the Bible Club. I know your friends have been praying for you all year. I know they miss you. I know this childish behavior you antagonize me with isn't who you really are. I know you miss them and want to join them again, but feel like you've ruined your chance. Take it from me, they'd love to have you back. The real you, that is."
Mrs. Jones won.
Thanks, Mrs. Jones.