The Persecuted Girl
By Faisal Fransu
Learninghouse High School accommodated about two thousand students. Nevertheless, there would always be an empty bench in the cafeteria during lunchtime. The only person who occupied that bench was a fifteen-year-old girl named Christiana. Does this name sound a little odd to you? Her parents had named her after the main character in the second part of the Pilgrim's Progress.
Christiana, a shy and quiet girl, was in grade ten at Learninghouse high school. She was not that pretty, you know. But she owned a very beautiful and angelic voice. The little girl lived a very simple and Christian life. Unlike most girls at her school, Christiana did not have very expensive clothes, because she loved to have a simple life. Some of her hobbies included praying, reading the Bible, preaching and singing only Christian music.
Many boys had asked to date her, but she refused them all, because they were not believers. She did not like to associate with people who used bad language.
Because of her faith and her simple lifestyle, Christiana was bullied by a large number of girls at her school. These girls thought that Christiana lived a boring lifestyle. She did not participate in "worldly events" as she called them. Therefore, many girls at Learninghouse did not like to associate with a "dull person," as they referred to her. In fact, over four hundred girls had formed a bullying club against her. At first, their mission was to influence everyone at their high school not to be friends with her. But when their number had reached four hundred, their leader, whose name was Samantha Secular, said, "We can finally start bullying her publicly. The school won't be able to punish us, because they can't punish over four hundred girls and three hundred boys. Besides, according to the law, we have the right to do whatever we can, except assaulting her physically. But we can make fun of her whenever we see her."
Therefore, Christiana was constantly being bullied by these people. The girls decided that whenever a boy would fall in love with her, they would send one of them to persuade him to fall in love with her instead.
Poor Christiana endured all this persecution quietly. She never complained to anybody. No one sat with her, or even talked to her. Nevertheless, she took comfort in praying and reading the Bible or the Pilgrim's Progress. She often said to herself, "If my favourite author [John Bunyan] was imprisoned for his faith, and my Lord was crucified, then why shouldn't I be persecuted?"
As she was looking for a place to sit during lunchtime one Tuesday afternoon, Christiana saw a blind gentleman sitting all by himself. She had often seen him walking with his cane, but she had never introduced herself to him.
"Hi, John," she began rather shyly as she sat beside him. "Do you know who I am?"
"I'm not sure," he responded. He was wondering why she had come to sit beside him, since he was also ignored by most of the students.
"My name is Christiana," she extended her hand to him, and he shook it happily.
"Are you the one who sang at the talent show last year?" John asked.
"Yes, that was me," she told him.
"I really liked your voice," John explained. "And I've been wanting to meet you ever since. That was a great performance."
"Aw? That's so kind of you," she blushed.
"And the song that you sang is my favourite," he added.
"So are you a believer then?" Christiana asked curiously, because the song that she had sang at the talent show was called 'Revelation Song.'
"Yes," he answered. "I opened my heart to the Lord about four years ago. I like to tell people about Jesus, but no one wants to listen."
"I know exactly what you mean." Christiana was enjoying her conversation with John. He seemed very kind.
"Well I have to start getting ready for class," Christiana told him. "But we'll try to sit together everyday. Won't we?"
"Of course we will," John extended his hand to her.
Two days later, one of John's classmates said to him, "I have found a girlfriend for you. She's really pretty. Would you like to see her?"
"Does she love me?" he asked.
"Very much," the speaker replied. The speaker was none other than Samantha Secular, the leader of the group that bullied Christiana.
"And who's that girl?" John asked.
"It's Lily Worldly," Samantha replied with a sweet accent. "She's always thinking and talking about you."
"But I already have a girlfriend," John told her sadly.
"And who may she bee?" she asked mockingly, because she already knew the answer.
"It's Christiana," responded John.
"But Lily loves you too," she said. "She'd kill herself if I tell her that you don't love her."
"Do you think that I'm a liar?" he asked a little angrily. "How can I go to Lily when I've promised Christiana that I will always love her?"
"Christiana doesn't love you," Samantha told him. "She's only pretending. I can see it on her face whenever she's talking to you."
"Well last time I checked, Christians don't lie," he chuckled.
"See you later then," Samantha left defeated. She thought that John would gladly accept her offer, but he didn't.
When John sat with Christiana that afternoon, he told her everything that Samantha had said to him.
"I knew that they were going to do this," she remarked. "None of them loves you, but they're only trying to take you away from me."
"Why do they want to take me away from you?" he asked interestedly.
"Because they want to make my life miserable," she sighed. "They all hate me, because I don't live like them."
"Then, I'm going to stick to you no matter what," John assured her.
"Many boys made the same promise, but none of them kept it," Christiana replied, almost crying.
"But I'll keep it," he hugged her for the first time. "Don't you trust me? I love Jesus, too."
"Thank you very much," she said as she was wiping her tears. "I trust you too. So can we be best friends?"
"O more than that," he smiled.
"But they will persecute you too, you know," Christiana warned him.
"They never liked me anyways," John chuckled. "I don't really care what they'll do to me. I wanted a girl to love me, and here you are. That's all I care about."
"Aw? You're so sweet," she put her arm around him. "I love you, John."
"I love you too, Christiana," he confirmed.
Meanwhile, Samantha and her group were thinking how to persuade John to love Lily. He was the first person who had resisted them. They were able to influence all the other boys.
"So what can we do to get him away from that horrid girl?" Samantha asked her advisers.
Lily told her something, which we will see next.
The next day, Samantha sent one of her friends to talk to John. Her name was Emily Lari.
"Lily is very depressed," she told him. "She doesn't want to talk to anyone until you tell her that you love her. Please do something!"
"A very clever plan to persuade me to leave Christiana," he chuckled. "I don't care about Lily. None of you cared for me when I was broken hearted. So how do you expect me to care for you? But I know that Lily is not depressed or anything. You're only trying to steal me from the prettiest girl in the whole world!"
When Emily saw that she could not persuade him, she left him.
"We've been defeated again!" shouted Samantha. "No! I will not be defeated! I will force him to love Lily!"
Meanwhile, John and Christiana were enjoying their friendship. They walked together whenever they could.
When Valentine's day had come, Samantha came to John and said, "Here's a present for you from Lily."
Then she gave him a very beautiful bracelet. Lily had bought it herself. She was sure that John would love her after that.
This trick was the strongest one, for it made John wonder whether to accept the gift or reject it. It would be rude to reject it. But if he accepts it, it would mean that he loved Lily. But then he remembered that Lily did not love him. They were only trying to steal him from Christiana so they could make her life miserable. So he said, "Your tricks are very good. I won't accept the gift, and I love Christiana."
"We've been defeated for the third time!" Samantha told her followers. "What should we do? Nothing seems to persuade him to leave her."
Then one of them, whose name was Mary, made a sensible suggestion. She said, "If we can't make Christiana's life miserable, then what's the use of our group?"
But Samantha argued, "What! Do you want me to give up trying to make her life miserable?"
After that, they kept bullying both Christiana and John, but it had no affect on them whatsoever. Therefore, many of the members began to leave the group, seeing all their hard work was in vain. So at last, Samantha's group was disbanded. But the group members still did not reconcile with John and Christiana.
One day, Christiana said to John, "I've just learned that Samantha's group has been disbanded. So why don't we go and talk to them? Perhaps they'll be friendly to us."
"Why don't we buy them gifts?" he asked, because they were in the month of December. "We'll only buy for those who were top leaders in the group."
So that weekend, John and Christiana went shopping together, and they bought gifts for those who had bullied them. They even made Christmas cards for them.
During lunch on Monday, John and Christiana went to where Samantha and her friends were sitting.
"Hello, ladies," smiled Christiana. "We've brought you Christmas gifts."
So they put their gifts on the table and left. Christiana said, "We'll see if they'll come and apologize to us."
The next day, John and Christiana were eating their lunch when Samantha and several of her friends came and said, "We are very sorry for mistreating you. You didn't deserve what we did to you. But could you please forgive us?" Samantha and her friends were crying.
Christiana replied, "We forgive you." Then she and John began comforting them one by one.
"How could you be so kind to us when we've been so mean to you?" Lily asked.
"That's the love of Christ," John explained. "Then he gave them a short sermon about Christ's love for the whole world. Finally, he and Christiana led them in the 'Sinners' Prayer.
At last, they all became best friends. But Christiana was still John's girlfriend.
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