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Matt sat beside his friends, Justin and Jessie, in the Sunday school classroom at church. He listened carefully about how Nehemiah’s enemies teased him and tried to trick him. “Wow!” thought Matt. “Even Nehemiah got teased, like my brother does to me.”
After class, Matt walked down the hall. “Hey, Matt,” said Justin, “is your brother, Craig, still bothering you about being a Christian?”
“Yeah.” Matt sighed. “He teases me all the time and laughs when I pray before I eat.”
“That’s too bad,” said Jessie.
“I guess I’ll have to quit praying whenever Craig is around,” said Matt.
“Hmm. I don’t know if NOT praying is the right thing to do,” said Justin.
“I think,” said Jessie, “Nehemiah trusted God to deal with his enemies.”
“Yeah,” Justin added. “And he kept doing what he was supposed to do and ignored his enemies’ tricks.”
“So, you think I should keep praying and coming to church even when Craig teases me?” Matt asked.
“That’s right,” replied Justin and Jessie.
“Okay, I’ll try,” said Matt. “But it sure is hard to ignore Craig.”
After church, Matt walked in the front door of his house to find his brother lying on the sofa. “Matt,” he groaned, “I need your help; I can’t get up.”
Matt ran to his brother’s side in a panic. “What do you mean? Are you hurt?”
“Yeah,” Craig croaked. “It’s my leg. Maybe you can pray for me.”
“Sure, I can,” Matt said, bowing his head. But before he began his prayer, he heard someone behind the sofa, snickering—tehee, hee. Matt looked up and saw Craig—and his friend, Dan—laughing hilariously.
“Ah ha ha!” the older boys laughed. “We got you good!”
Matt felt embarrassed and angry. He went to the kitchen to eat his lunch. Bowing his head, Matt said a quick prayer. “Dear God, thank you for my food. Please make Craig and Dan stop teasing. Amen.”
Matt finished eating and went outside to play with his dog, Penny. “You’re a good girl,” he said, patting Penny’s head. “You don’t tease me—you watch out for me, don’t cha?” The dog looked up at Matt and barked—woof!
Penny and Matt played happily together until Craig and Dan came out to the yard. Suddenly, Penny dropped her ball and growled at the boys—grrrr!
“Hey!” Dan said. “Tell your dog to stop doing that.”
Dan scowled at Matt then turned to Craig. “Come on, Craig, let’s ride our bikes to the park.”
“I can’t go now,” said Craig. “I’ve gotta stay here with Matt until my mom gets home.”
“What?!” Dan exclaimed. “Just let Matt stay by himself. He’s got his mutt to take care of him. And he can always pray if he needs anything—ha ha!” Dan laughed at his own joke.
Penny growled again, and Matt turned away to wipe his tears. Craig saw that Matt was crying and moved to stand beside his little brother. “Hey, Matt, it’s okay. Dan just talks a lot.”
Matt nodded and sniffled. “I know, but it hurts my feelings when you guys say mean things about God.”
“But we’re only teasing,” Craig said.
Dan jumped off the porch and trotted over to where Craig and Matt stood. “What d’ya say, Craig? You wanna come with me?”
“No, Dan,” Craig replied. “I told ya, I’ve gotta stay here.”
“Are you going to waste the whole day babysitting your baby brother?” Dan sneered. “Maybe he can teach you how to pray, too. Then you can go to church with him, huh?”
“Dan,” said Craig, poking his finger at his friend, “I’m supposed to take care of Matt, and you’re bothering him—and me, so you better go.”
Just then, Penny got up and ran toward Dan. “Woof!” she barked.
When Dan saw Penny lolloping toward him, he panicked and started to run. Dan sprinted around the yard in circles, tripping over Penny’s play toys. But the dog kept up with Dan, staying right at his heels. “Hey! Make her stop chasing me!” Dan shouted.
Craig and Matt watched as Penny dashed around the yard, wagging her tail as if she were playing a game. Each time Dan slowed down, Penny would give a quick bark, which made Dan run faster. Finally, Dan came to a tree and shimmied up the trunk as fast as he could. “Help!” Dan called out. “Craig, let me down from here.”
“I don’t know,” said Craig. “You said some pretty rotten things about Matt.”
“And,” Craig continued, “you said some bad things about me, too.”
“I’m sorry, okay?” Dan yelled from the tree.
“Hmm. Now that I think about it, you also said some bad things about God and praying. I don’t think that was right,” Craig told his friend.
Dan felt his hands slipping from the branch. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry, okay?”
Suddenly, Dan couldn’t grip the branch anymore. He slid down the tree trunk and sprawled on the ground. Penny immediately lurched at him—and began licking his face—slurp, slurp, slurp!
Craig and Matt laughed as Dan tried to wipe his face. Finally, Penny moved back, and Craig helped Dan sit up. “So, no more teasing, got it?” Craig warned his friend.
“Yeah.” Dan nodded. “I got it.”
Penny barked happily and gave Dan another good lick—slurp!
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.