The Wrong Way In

The Wrong Way In

“Stupid rules,” Daniel griped. “Why do we have to sit and melt out here during recess when it’s so much cooler in the classroom?”

“Yeah,” Ryan agreed. “You don’t see any of the teachers out here.”

“It’s torture, that’s what it is!” Daniel burst out after a pause. “It’s so hot, my tongue is sticking to the roof of my mouth.”

“Didn’t you take a drink before you came out?”

“No. I didn’t need to then, but now—”

“I wish there were some way we could go inside,” Ryan sympathized. He felt sorry for his friend, who was still getting used to the rules at the Christian school. The students weren’t allowed back in the school building during outdoor break times.

From the primary end of the building came the sounds of children playing. It was the north side, where there was some shade. They could hear the girls singing.

“Go in and out the windows, go in and out the windows, go in and out the windows,” Daniel mimicked them. “Can’t they think of anything else?”

Ryan turned and stared at him. “Did you just say to go in the windows?” he asked.

“Yeah. It’s a stupid song they sing all the time.”

“No,” Ryan said, smiling. “It isn’t stupid at all. That’s the way we can get inside!”

“By playing a girls’ game?”

“No. By going in the windows. Mr. MacIntosh left the windows of the classroom open when he dismissed us after lunch.”

“You mean—” Daniel still wasn’t sure what Ryan was getting at.

“Don’t you get it?” Ryan asked. “The windows to our classroom are open. We can climb inside, and then we’ll be cool and comfortable, and we can get something to drink from the water fountain.”

“But what if someone sees us and we get into trouble?”

“What kind of trouble could we get into? There’s nobody on this side of the building, so nobody will see us. And when they open the door to let the other kids in, we’ll just be the first ones in the classroom. Come on!” he urged when Daniel still hesitated.

After they’d climbed through the classroom windows, Daniel was the first one to arrive at the water cooler. “Ah, this is much better,” he sighed blissfully after he had drunk two glasses of water.

The boys grinned gleefully as the other children trooped in when the bell rang. The kids’ faces were red, with rivulets of sweat streaming down. Mr. MacIntosh, who came in last, looked cool and comfortable by contrast.

“Before we begin our work this afternoon,” he said, “I want to read you something from John 10:1. Jesus said, He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber’” (NKJV).2 He laid the Bible down and sat on the edge of his desk.

“It has come to my attention,” he said, “that some of you did not enter this classroom by way of the door.”

“But that’s impossible,” one of the girls said. “That’s the only way in.”

“It should be,” Mr. MacIntosh agreed. “However, someone came in another way. And Jesus said that whoever climbs in another way is a thief and robber. I don’t want any of my students being suspected of dishonesty, so I want whoever came in another way to go out again that same way, then come in through the door, as he should have in the first place.”

Nobody budged.

“Daniel,” Mr. MacIntosh said, looking at him, “what will it be?”

Daniel’s face turned even redder than those of the other children. Slowly he got up and walked over to the window. Hoisting himself onto the windowsill, he slipped out and dropped to the ground.

“All right,” Mr. MacIntosh said, “now the rest of you take out your history books and turn to page 197.”

There was a rustle as the students took their books and turned pages, but Ryan sat still, staring at the window. Someone must have seen Daniel climb in and had told Mr. MacIntosh. But nobody had seen him, and Daniel hadn’t snitched. Daniel wasn’t even a Christian, while he—

He could get away with breaking a rule, but could he live with a guilty conscience?

“What’s the matter, Ryan?” Mr. MacIntosh asked. “Why don’t you have your book out yet?”

“There’s something I need to do first,” he answered, suddenly getting up and going to the window. “Daniel wasn’t the only one who came in the wrong way. In fact, I suggested it. I’m sorry. If you’re going to punish him, you should also punish me.” Swinging up onto the windowsill, he slipped out too.

As Ryan dropped to the ground, the laughter that had started inside the classroom died down and turned into an admiring cheer.

1Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

2Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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The Wrong Way In

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