Bye-bye, My Pals!

Sometime school is no longer a pure land but, like society, full of strife; so is my school. Every class has some bullies. They always bully weaker classmates apart from those who have special relationships with the head-teachers or the president. Also, I was often bullied. My neighbor, tall and strong, always troubled me and asked me to buy him something. If I didn’t do so, he would hit me with his partners. Because of these, I took care to deal with him for fear of being hit. Even though I am a Christian, when encountering things, I did not know how to seek God’s will or how to tell right from wrong, much less rely on God. Unconsciously, I fell into Satan’s temptations.

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One day, when I was doing schoolwork, some bullies came to me, one of which was their head. He sat cross-legged beside me and said with a toothpick in his mouth, “Xiaoqiang, let’s be sworn brothers. Every now and then those boys pick a quarrel with you, as long as you hang out with us, I guarantee none dare make trouble for you anymore.” I thought to myself, “You guys are not good people and notorious for pugnacity. If hanging out with you, I will be dragged down to your level. I won’t do that.” So I declined, “We are classmates even if not sworn brothers. Now I have to review my lessons. Why don’t you just find someone else?” He said, “It’s for your own good. Think it over.” After his word, they left.

Thereafter, they came to me many times. One of them said to me, “I see you’re honest and always bullied. That’s why I want you to join us. Don’t you see that if we don’t want to be bullied at school, parents have to visit (give gifts to) the president or the head-teachers frequently? Under the care of our head-teacher, none dare pick on you.” And their head said, “If you don’t want to be bullied, only when you are somebody at school does no one dare provoke you. If you don’t listen to us, you must help us with our homework. It’s up to you.”

After school, I lying in bed in my dormitory, their words surfaced in my mind just like playing a movie. I thought: What they said makes sense. I am often bullied at school and my tall and strong neighbor always wants to find fault with me to hit me. Besides, I live in a poor family and my dad won’t give gifts to teachers. Alas! They’ve come to me several times. If I refuse again, will they also pick a quarrel with me? After a struggle, I decided to agree with them.

I, hanging out with them at first, spent all my time eating, drinking and playing, except when I attended classes. I grudged spending my allowance given by my father but saved it to treat them to food and drink. They wouldn’t spend their money until mine was used up. I thought they just used me to treat them to dinner, but never thought that they began to call me to fight.

One day, when I was doing my schoolwork, one of them ran to me and panted, “Our boss asks us to fight. Why are you still here? Hurry up! Let’s go!” Upon hearing this, I was stunned, thinking: Fight? I’ve never fought with anyone in my life. Why do we fight? What if we hurt someone? With this in mind, I was somewhat afraid and asked him, “Why do we fight? What if we beat someone to a wreck?” He answered, “I don’t know. Since our boss asks us to do so, let’s go. It’s impossible for us to beat others to be disabled.” With that, he dragged me away.

When arriving there, I heard them saying, “Where are the two boys? Where are they? Where did they hide?” I thought: It’s better to not find them, that way we don’t have to gang up on them. If anything is to happen, then that will be trouble. At the point, the boss said indignantly, “Let’s go and have lunch first and then deal with this matter.” After the lunch, we went upstairs. All I heard was the boss bellowing, “Beat them! Beat hard!” After hearing this, I said to myself: I have no animosity against them. Why will I do that? But if I don’t do that, I’ll be ashamed and looked down on by my sworn brothers. Then one word, “Do anything for a friend,” popped into my head. Anyway, I am here, and I’ll just pretend to beat those two boys. Then walking toward the two boys, I pretended to kick them but actually missed. When I tried to do that again, the boss yelled, “Stop! Stop it!” And the two boys freaked out and rushed to escape.

When they had gone, the boss asked me harshly, “Why didn’t you fight?” “Because you’ve already tangled with them,” I answered, “I couldn’t tell who was who and was afraid to beat the wrong guy.” The second I said this, the bell rang. We came back to the classroom and with that the boss said quickly, “Xiaoqiang, we are asked to go to our head-teacher’s office.” I thought: It’s over. Was the fight discovered? As I went into our head-teacher’s office, I caught sight of the two classmates who were beaten and their parents, as well as our president. At the moment, I was very nervous with my heart pounding, thinking: How will their parents treat me? What should I do? Why do I hang out with these bullies? Why did I help them fight? If I didn’t fight I wouldn’t encounter this matter.

Thinking about this, I felt my heart sank. When I was aggrieved, a passage of God’s word that was fellowshiped about at a meeting in the past came to me, “Can someone’s environment have a big influence on them? You are now performing your duties in God’s family and, in this environment, brothers and sisters are always together, those around you are all believers, and you can believe in God conscientiously here. If you alone were taken and placed in amongst the unbelievers and were made to be with them, would you still be able to have God in your heart? (No.) So what would be in your heart? If you were with them, wouldn’t you then very easily become exactly the same as them?” (“Young People Should See Through the Evil Trends of the World”). Don’t these words of God describe me? My relationship with God had been abnormal recently. I neither read God’s word nor prayed to Him. My heart became distant from Him and I couldn’t distinguish these evil things, so I dared to follow them in doing anything. With these thoughts in mind, filled with remorse, I silently prayed in my heart to God: “O God, what a jerk I am. Your words teach us to fear God and shun evil and to be a man who pursues the truth and possesses humanity. But now I not only followed them to do evil things, but still cared about our friendship. I really am too foolish. O God, I disobeyed Your word, and I know I was wrong.”

In the office, our president criticized us severely: “You are so young, yet you have learnt to fight. If you beat others to be disabled, how can you make the reparation? If you beat them to death, you’ll be imprisoned. Take two freshmen, for example. One strangled the other with a rope because of scrambling for a cellphone. Do you see the consequence of a fight?” Hearing these, I felt afraid. And the parent whose child was beaten said: “Yeah, it is very common for young people to fight in today’s society. If others are beaten to be disabled or to death, that will be a matter related to your lifetime.” The president continued saying angrily: “You will be suspended from school for a week. If you fight again, you’ll be expelled.” During this time, I kept praying to God within for fear of being expelled. Then, I heard the president call my name, my heart sank. He said, “Xiaoqiang, for your good behavior’s sake in normal times, you are allowed to remain in school on probation temporarily.” When I heard this, my heart was released. I was deeply aware that this was God’s protection. So I prayed to God in my heart again, “O God, I’ll no longer be with them, nor dishonor Your name or wound Your heart. O God, may You save me so that I won’t share in evil. I am willing to give my heart to You and be watched by You, Amen!”

Half a month later, they texted me, “We’re gonna go fight tomorrow. Do come with us! Get some more people by the way. We’ll meet you tomorrow noon.” When I read this message, my heart grew extremely chaotic: If I don’t go, what shall I do when they come to me again? If I go, it won’t conform to God’s intentions. Helpless, I told this to my dad. He said, “Everything that we encounter is a war and is the bet between Satan and God, so God will see which side we are on. Read this passage of God’s word.” I took the book of God’s word and read, “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). My dad said, “Encountering this thing requires you to stand witness for God. God wants to save you, while Satan uses every possible way to devour you. Through this environment, God helps you to gain discernment, tell positive things from negative things, know what to love and what to hate, and be a person who fears God and shuns evil. Now they text you to go fight, which is a negative thing and doesn’t conform to God’s intentions. So you should shun them.”

After hearing my dad’s words, I knew this was a spiritual war and I needed to be away from temptations this time. But I was still worried that I would be bullied at school without these bullies. Therefore, I poured out my misgivings to dad. He then let me read this passage from God’s word, “God dominates all things, and dominates the entire universe with ease, so as for the things that happen every day to every one of His chosen people, it is so easy for God to administer it all. … The more you lean on God and come before Him, the happier, the more gratified, the more comforted God is and the more He enjoys it. The more you leave God, don’t know to be intimate with God, don’t know to get close to God, don’t know to lean on Him and don’t know to seek for Him, the more hurt God is” (“If You Wish to Attain the Truth, Then You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You”). After reading God’s word, I understood everything that happens in the entire universe is administered by God and whatever happens is in God’s hand. I thought: The people, matters and things that I will encounter in the school are also in God’s hand. Whether or not they will pick a fight with me, whether or not my classmates will bully me, and every thought and idea of man is controlled by God. Since I’ve resolved to not follow them, I have to learn how to rely on God and let Him help me in all these things. Young as I am, God still arranges the surroundings for me to grow up in, and He will be responsible for me. After becoming aware of this, I was no longer afraid what things I would encounter in the future. I would learn how to rely on God and live up to what God expected of me. I set this determination in my heart: I will certainly make a clean break with these bullies, my pals!

Later, when they came to me, I declined with different excuses thanks to the guidance and enlightenment of God’s words. Seeing that I was no longer willing to hang out with them, they neither came to me anymore, nor troubled me as a result. From this, I’ve experienced that God arranges the surroundings for me and administers every thought and idea of man. As long as we are ready to practice the truth, satisfy God, and commit our difficulties to Him, He will open up a way out for us, watch over and protect us.

Today, there are ever more bullies in schools, many of them even go toward a life of crime because of getting into fights. This makes me have a deeper understanding: It is God’s love and protection that cause me to no longer continue to degenerate. Now, whenever I can, I’ll read God’s words, attend gatherings with brothers and sisters, and learn how to be a man fearing God and shunning evil. This is the right path of life. I sincerely give thanks for God’s protection and care of me. May all the glory, authority, and praise be to God!

By Xiaoqiang

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