As I headed to church that morning, I was sure it would be another “happy Sabbath.” I was wrong.
As I came through the door my best friend, Leanne, greeted me. “Hey, Vanessa!”
“Hi,” I said. Turning, I spotted a new girl standing not far from me talking to an adult. “Who’s that?” I asked Leanne. She turned around and glanced at the newcomer.
“Oh, that’s Sarah Reynolds. She came all the way from overseas, I think. She said her real name is too hard to pronounce, so she’s using a more American one.”
“Oh,” I responded.
I wonder if Sarah is a new addition to our Sabbath school class, I thought. Or is she just a one-time visitor? I figured I should go and introduce myself. But I secretly hoped she’d be leaving after the sermon.
As I walked toward our Sabbath school classroom, I was very quiet. I had noticed that Leanne and Sarah were getting along quite well. While Leanne and Sarah jabbered on about what grades they were in, I began to wonder if I would end up liking Sarah after all.
When Leanne opened the door to our classroom, our leader smiled warmly, welcomed us in, and immediately led Sarah to a seat.
For the next half hour I daydreamed about the new girl and how she might plan to take over Leanne as a friend.
Later, when we were doing some memory verse work, I decided to prove to Sarah just how well I could memorize. The ability to memorize Scripture is an important quality in a best friend, right? I was sure Sarah would drop her pursuit of Leanne soon after my recital.
But when my turn came I got flustered and said, “Therefore keep watch, because . . . uh, well, uh . . .”
“Thanks for trying, Vanessa,” Ms. Wilson said. “You may sit down now.”
When class ended I was very relieved, but my relief was short-lived. “Hey, Vanessa, guess what?” Leanne asked.
“Sarah gets to come over to my house this afternoon! Isn’t that cool?”
“Uh, yeah, great,” I replied, a frown settling on my face. Sarah was not easily discouraged. Couldn’t she see Leanne already had a best friend?
Later that day as my family drove home, I thought about how I had embarrassed myself in front of the entire Sabbath school class. Sarah must think I’m a total idiot, I fumed.
When we arrived home I went straight to my room to change clothes and to think some more about Sarah, who was robbing me of Leanne. How many other girls had Sarah stolen from? Why couldn’t she have brought her own best friend with her? And why did she have to act so innocent while she lured Leanne into her trap?
Next Sabbath all Leanne could talk about was Sarah. “She’s so nice, Vanessa! So together and fun and smart!”
She’s also cruel and deceiving, I thought. How can Leanne not see that?
I started to feel sorry for myself. I thought about all the good times Leanne and I had had before Sarah came along. Leanne will probably abandon me altogether for Sarah. She’ll forget all about me.
When our teen club met on Wednesday I was relieved to find that Sarah hadn’t joined. Maybe there was a little hope for my friendship with Leanne after all.
At that moment I saw Leanne standing not far from me, looking unsure. She must have noticed how quiet I’ve been toward her since Sarah came, I thought. Part of me wanted to stand where I was and make Leanne suffer for choosing Sarah for a friend. But instead I took a deep breath and walked toward my friend.
“Leanne, can I talk to you for a minute?”
“Sure, I guess,” she said.
“You know how you talk about Sarah so much? Well, it makes me feel like you don’t want to be my friend anymore.”
“I’m sorry, Vanessa. I knew you were upset about something. But Sarah isn’t going to replace you as my best friend. I was just trying to be nice to her, since she’s new. And you have to admit you don’t really know her. She’s really nice. When I’m with her I talk about you a lot. She just wants to be friends with both of us. For my sake, do you think all three of us can get along?”
I sighed. “All right.”
Maybe Sarah isn’t trying to steal my best friend after all, I thought. My mind wandered to past lessons I had studied in Sabbath school. Jesus was kind to everyone, including those who wanted to kill Him! If Jesus could be nice toward His future murderers, I can be kind to the new girl.
*Not her real name.
Illustrated by Joel D. Springer