It was a sunny day outside, but clouds seemed to hang over Harold. In fact, the afternoon atmosphere in the kitchen seemed to change when Harold brought in the wood and kindling.
Mother turned off her iron and followed him to the kitchen door. She laid a hand gently on his shoulder and turned him around so that their eyes met. “Harold, my boy, what is the trouble?” she asked. “What has happened to make you so miserable? Tell me about it; perhaps I can help.”
“It’s all over now, and I don’t see as there’s anything more to be done.”
“Tell me about it. Can’t you trust me not to speak of it to anyone?”
“Oh, it’s no secret. Everybody in the school knows about it. Teacher gave me a scolding; and I’m not saying I didn’t deserve it. This is what happened: After lunch Jack and I were playing catch with my new ball, when Tom came to bother us. When Jack missed the ball, Tom got it and ran. I took after him, and when I finally caught him he refused to give it to me, so we had a fight. Of course, I don’t think Tom had any right to take my ball; but I know I shouldn’t have got angry, either.”
Mother’s face was happy as she greeted her husband that evening. “I’m so glad you came home early tonight,” she said, as she kissed him.
At worship time father read the story of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross. When the chapter was finished, mother asked, “What was it that touched the heart of the thief and made him want to be with Jesus in heaven?”
Harold was the first to answer, “It was the prayer of Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’ ”
Handing Harold the open Bible, mother said, “Will you read the words that Peter wrote to some of his Christian friends who were mistreated because they loved Jesus?”
Harold read: “ ‘For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.’ I Peter 2:21–23.”
“That means that when someone did something mean to Jesus, our Saviour did not do anything mean back. He was kind and loving always.”
Harold thought how unlike Jesus he had been at school. Father remembered the harsh letter he had written that day, and he decided he would not send it.
After prayer, the family gathered around the piano and sang “More Like the Master I Would Ever Be.”
Harold whispered in mother’s ear, “I’m going to let Tom play with my ball. I feel sorry for him; his parents are not Christians. And mother, would it be all right to invite him to our home sometime?”
Ella M. Robinson, Happy Home Stories, TEACH Services Inc., Ringgold, Georgia, March 2005, 11–14.