Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

Continue Reading...

– posted 12.04.2009

#18- Problems with Parasites

A Character story about love.

It was a Monday evening, a week after their return from Arizona. Mr. Jensen arrived home from work to a different type of greeting. "Hi everyone," he called as he came through the back door.

"Hi, Dear," Mrs. Jensen said blandly.

"You don't sound very happy. Where are the kids?"

"There's a problem with the kids . . . or, I should say, they have a problem. I'll let them tell you about it. I don't think they will feel like eating supper until they have worked it out."

Mr. and Mrs. Jensen went into the living room where the twins were seated silently staring across the room. "Hi, kids. I understand you have a problem you want to talk about," Mr. Jensen began, seating himself across from the twins. "Who wants to go first?"

"Julie will," Jason offered quickly.

"OK," Julie sighed. "It's about my new friend Karen. At least I thought she was my friend. She was so sweet and-" Julie broke off and began to cry.

"Don't start that again," Jason pleaded, "or we'll be here all night."

Julie stopped sobbing, wiped her face, and continued. "Well, today we had a test on that science stuff you were helping us with last week- you remember, about mutualism and parasites? At recess I saw Karen sitting in the corner of the playground crying so I went over to comfort her. She said she was crying because she didn't know the science and knew she would fail the test. So I told her that I would help her during recess as much as I could. Then she stopped crying and said, 'Are you really my friend, Julie?' and I said yes and she said, 'If you're really my friend then write the answers to the test on a piece of paper and pass it to me. Please?'"

Mr. Jensen looked surprised, but didn't say anything. Julie continued. "I was so shocked I didn't know what to say. Then I thought of what you and Mom taught us so I said, 'I couldn't do that. I'm a Christian and that wouldn't please the Lord.'"

"Good for you," Mr. Jensen inserted.

"But that's not all, Daddy. She just kept crying and pleading until I felt terrible saying No to her any more. Then, just before recess was over, she told me to just hold my paper so she could see some of the answers. Before I could answer her, the bell rang and we went in for the test. I was so shook up I don't know if I put the right answers on or not." Julie paused and looked over at Jason. "Now you tell your part."

"OK. Well, 'cause I sit in the back I can see a lot of stuff. So during the test I happened to look up and saw Karen look over at Julie's test and then write on hers. She did this several times. It sure looked like she was cheating."

"I guess I forgot to cover my paper," Julie confessed.

"But it wasn't easy to see," Jason continued. "Karen had to lean over to see it, but the teacher was busy and didn't see anything."

"Uh huh," Mr. Jensen responded thoughtfully. "And now you're wondering what to do next?"

"There's more to it than that," Mrs. Jensen said.

"Yah," agreed Jason. "I knew what you would say - to go first and talk to Karen. So I didn't tell the teacher right away."

"But then Miss Meadows noticed that our papers were almost the same," Julie interrupted. "So she called us out in the hall and you know what Karen said? She said that we had a deal that I would pay her five dollars for the test answers. I said that was a lie but the teacher asked to see my purse. And there was this five dollars in it." Julie pointed to a bill on the table. "I don't know how it got there. Miss Meadows told me to keep it until the matter was settled. She said she didn't know who to believe, but that she was going to be called you. Oh, I'm so embarrassed!" Julie began to sob again.

Mr. Jensen moved to the couch and put one arm around Julie and the other around Jason. "When you guys do right, you have nothing to fear. I'm proud of both of you for standing for right in a difficult situation. Jason, I guess you should tell Miss Meadows what you saw during the test."

"But now it's too late. She'll think I made it up just to protect Julie. It seems like we did right and everything went against us."

"Yes . . . perhaps. But remember, God is still in charge."

"You know what I think, Daddy," Julie said, drying her eyes again. "I think that Karen is nothing but a parasite. The only reason she wanted to sit by me in class was to copy from me. Now I see why she was always telling me how smart I was. She was just flattering me to get what she could out of me. I'm never going to be friends with her again."

"Now, Julie," Mrs. Jensen said kindly. "There is nothing wrong with Karen that the Lord Jesus couldn't fix. We need to pray for her."

"How true. But the situation is a good warning," Mr. Jensen added. "Some people are mutualism kind of friends, and others are parasites. We need to be careful to discern who is a real friend and who isn't. In Proverbs chapter one we are warned against friendships with those whom we will not help but they will hurt us. And in Ephesians Paul tells us to 'walk circumspectly.' This means with both eyes open, not believing every word but checking things out to be sure they're true. We need to be alert to the real motives of those who flatter to gain our friendship. In fact, we are warned that flattery will spread a net for our feet."

"That's a good way to remember what a parasite is," Jason added with a twinkle in his eye. "Someone who might hurt us and someone we need a 'pair o' sights' to watch out for. Get it?"

"Yes, we get it," Mr., Jensen said with a grin.

"Well, you can be sure I've learned a lesson from all this," Julie affirmed. "I'm going to go easy in making new friends from now on. But that doesn't help me now. What can I do to get out of this mess?" (more next time)