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“Class, we have a new student today and her name is Olivia,” announced Justin and Jessie’s schoolteacher.
Jessie gave the new girl a big smile, but she only stared back with dark, hard eyes.
When the bell rang for recess, Jessie ran to the toy box and grabbed two jump ropes.
“Here, Olivia, we can jump rope together.” Jessie handed one rope to Olivia.
“I don’t like to jump rope,” Olivia said as she threw her rope back into the box and stomped away.
After school, Jessie went to her cousin Emily’s house to play.
“Hey, Jessie!” said Emily. “How was your day?”
“Okay, I guess,” Jessie replied gloomily. “We have a new girl in our class, but she’s not very nice.”
“Uh oh. That’s no fun,” Emily replied. “Did you smile at her?”
“Yeah. I invited her to eat lunch with me, but she just sat by herself. Then I tried to get her to play with me at recess. She stole my swing and tripped me while I was trying to jump rope.”
“That’s terrible,” Emily replied. “Sounds like you need revenge.”
“What does that mean?” Jessie asked.
“Getting somebody back for being mean to you. I heard Jeremy say he wanted revenge on the guy in the video game that took all his energy jewels.”
“Hmm. I don’t know how to get revenge on Olivia.”
“Well, let’s see,” Emily replied. “You could stick a frog in her pocket when she’s not looking.”
“Yeah,” Jessie giggled. “Except I don’t even wanna touch a frog myself. Yick!”
“Oh. That’s right. Umm . . .” Emily thought hard. “I know! You could fill up her backpack with chicken feathers! Then when she opens it—poof!”
“That would be funny!” Jessie exclaimed. “But where would I get chicken feathers?”
“I don’t know,” Emily shrugged. “You can take an egg to school and crack it on top of her head.”
“How would I do that? It would smoosh all over in my backpack before I even got to school.”
“Hmm. Maybe you just need to trip her like she did to you.”
“I guess I could do that. Okay. Tomorrow is Operation Revenge.”
That evening at dinner, Jessie munched on her hamburger as she listened to her mom and dad talk. Then something her dad said caught her attention.
“I’ve tried to be nice to him, but he acts like he hates everybody. No one in the office likes him.”
“Poor man,” Jessie’s mom replied. “He must be lonely.”
“Yeah. I think so too,” said Jessie’s dad. “Let’s keep him in our prayers. Maybe someday we can be friends.”
“Dad,” said Jessie. “How come you don’t just take revenge on that guy if he’s being mean to you?”
Jessie’s dad looked at her in surprise. “Where did you hear about revenge, Jessie?”
“From Emily. She said Jeremy was going to get revenge on the guy in the video game.”
“I see,” said Dad. “But I’m not talking about a guy in a game. I’m talking about a real person that needs kindness and understanding.”
“But he doesn’t sound very nice.”
“Well, he hasn’t acted nice. But the Bible says I should show mercy to him instead of getting revenge.”
“Mercy? I’ve heard that word at church.” Jessie thought for a minute. “It means not punishing someone even if they should be punished.”
“That’s right,” said Mom. “God shows us mercy all the time—whenever we confess our sins, he forgives us.”
“And God wants us to show the same kind of mercy to others too,” said Dad.
As Jessie crawled into bed that evening, she thought about revenge and mercy.
“Maybe I should try again to be Olivia’s friend,” she said to herself as she closed her eyes.
The next day at school, Olivia still wasn’t being friendly, and Jessie was getting frustrated.
“I wish I had a frog or some chicken feathers,” she mumbled angrily.
While the class was outside for recess, Jessie saw Olivia walking toward her. This was it—Operation Revenge. Olivia came closer and closer. Jessie stuck her foot out right where Olivia would step. Then Jessie noticed something; there were tears in Olivia’s eyes—and both of her knees were bleeding!
Jessie ran toward Olivia. “What happened?”
“Someone tripped me,” Olivia sniffled, “and I fell and skinned my knees.”
“Let me help you. I’ll take you to the nurse.” Jessie took Olivia’s hand and gently led her inside.
After the nurse bandaged Olivia’s scraped-up knees, the two girls went back outside and sat in the sunshine.
“Olivia, I’m sorry you got hurt,” said Jessie. Jessie gulped then went on, “I’m sorry that I was going to trip you too. I was mad because you tripped me yesterday, and I wanted to get you back.”
“I guess I was pretty mean,” Olivia replied sadly. “I was really upset that we had to move here. I miss my old school and my best friend.” Olivia wiped her eyes.
“That is hard. I’m sorry you miss them so much,” Jessie sympathized. “I was wrong to want revenge. Will you forgive me?”
“Yeah. I forgive you,” Olivia continued. “Thanks for being my new friend, Jessie.”
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.