Green Looks Terrible on You!

"Kelsi, did you see the top that Mikayla was wearing in class today?" Amber remarked to her friend. "It was so out of style! I'd be ashamed to wear something that old. Some people have no taste."

"But Mikayla did a great job on her report!" Kelsi replied. "She must have spent hours and hours working on it."

Amber quickly changed the subject. "Did you know that Deven lives in the trailer park? I'm surprised they allow him to come to this school--I mean, considering the neighborhood he comes from."

"Deven's a nice boy," Kelsi commented. "He and his family go to my church. They're great people. Who cares where they live?"

"It's just that when people live in certain neighborhoods they pick up some bad habits, and they can bring down a school's reputation. My mother says that once lower-class people start moving into an area, all the homes in that area go down in value."

"I need to go home." Kelsi excused herself. "I'll see you on Monday."

"Mom, I need your advice about something," Kelsi said to her mother that evening.

"What's the problem?" Colleen asked.

"Amber!" she replied. "She's constantly making catty remarks about people. No matter what we're talking about, she'll say something unkind about someone."

"She must be a very unhappy girl," Colleen replied. "She's probably jealous of those she criticizes."

"Jealous?" Kelsi said in disbelief. "Mom, Amber's parents are rich. She's a spoiled rotten snob! She looks down on anyone who doesn't have a lot of money. I'm surprised she even wants to be my friend. But, then again, I don't know what she says about me behind my back."

"Just because her parents are wealthy, doesn't mean that she's happy. Even rich people can be miserable and envy those who are contented and thankful for whatever God has given them."

On Saturday Kelsi decided to call Amber and invite her to church. To her surprise, Amber accepted the invitation.

"We'll pick you up at nine o'clock tomorrow morning," Kelsi promised.

"I'm glad you decided to come," Kelsi told Amber as Amber climbed into the van the next day.

"Sunday mornings are boring at my house," Amber replied. "My parents usually stay out late with their friends on Saturday night and then sleep till noon on Sunday."

"So what do we do in church?" Amber asked as the girls walked into the church lobby.

"First, we'll go to Sunday school," Kelsi replied. "We've got a great group of girls, and you'll like our teacher, Mrs. Rodriguez."

"Hi! Welcome to our class," a girl named Chantelle greeted Amber.

Kelsi introduced Amber to Mrs. Rodriguez and the rest of the girls.

After a while, Amber whispered to Kelsi that she needed to go to the restroom. So, Kelsi raised her hand, and the girls excused themselves.

As soon as they entered the ladies room, Amber started talking about the girls in the class.

"I thought you needed to use the restroom," Kelsi responded.

"The girls in your class have no style," Amber commented. "Did you see Chantelle's sweater? It was hideous!"

"Stop it!" Kelsi replied angrily. "They're my friends, and you're a guest here."

Just then the door to one of the stalls opened and Chantelle came out. She had heard the entire conversation.

"Green looks terrible on you!" Chantelle commented to Amber as she washed her hands.

"I'm not wearing anything green," Amber replied. "Are you color blind? My top is red and my pants are black."

"But your face is green," Chantelle replied. "You're green with envy, and that's not an attractive look for anyone."

Amber looked shocked, as if someone had splashed cold water in her face to wake her up. Kelsi had known Amber since they were in first grade together, but she'd never seen her at a loss for words. Amber always had plenty to say.

The three girls stood there in silence. Then, finally, Amber whispered, "I'm sorry, Chantelle."

"I accept your apology," Chantelle replied. "Now, let's go back to class."

Mrs. Rodriguez was discussing Moses' sister, Miriam, when the girls returned to their seats.

"Can anyone tell me why God struck Miriam with leprosy?" she asked.

"Because she was jealous of Moses and was talking against him," a girl named Netanya replied.

"Jessica, please read our memory verse for today."

Jessica stood and read, "Where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."*

"I will give a 10 dollar bill to anyone who can tell me just one good thing that envy, jealousy, and gossip accomplish."

No one responded.

"Why do you think that God hates those character traits?" Mrs. Rodriguez asked.

Amber replied, "He hates them because they hurt people. He loves everyone, and Jesus died for us all."

"What do jealousy and gossip do to the person who is guilty of these sins?"

Chantelle responded, "They make the person more miserable, and eventually nobody wants to be around the person."

"You can't trust a person who gossips," Netanya added. "You never know what the gossiper is saying behind your back."

Jessica volunteered, "The jealous person is never glad when something good happens to someone else. No matter how much the jealous person may have, she'll never be happy."

As Kelsi's parents drove Amber home, the girls chatted.

"The people at your church are very different," Amber commented. "I mean that in a good way," she quickly added.

"When you accept Jesus into your heart, He forgives your sins and gives you peace. But that's just the start. The more you get to know Him, the more you love Him and want to be like Him," Kelsi explained.

"I don't know if I'm ready to accept Him yet," Amber stated. "But I'd like to learn more. Could I go to church with you again next Sunday?"

"Sure," Kelsi responded.

"And I promise not to wear green to class next week!" Amber added.

© by Nancy A. Stevens

* James 3:16,17 (NIV)