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Love and Hate

Billy looked up with a start. There was a big group of boys across the playground, and they were all yelling. They were at it again!

Where was Mrs. Johnson, the teacher? Everybody was jumping on Hank again. He was fighting hard, but it was hard to even see him. A big bunch of boys were all over him. There were so many of them that they couldn’t even all get at Hank because they got in each others way.

“Stop it!” Billy hollered. He ran into the crowd of fighting boys and began to pull them off of Hank. It wasn’t fair! All of those boys against one boy! Besides, people shouldn’t fight—they should love one another.

Bam! A fist hit Billy in the face. “Ow!” He was trying to pull a boy off of Hank when another boy, Jim, kicked him in the stomach. It hurt. Then Ronald tried to slug Hank in the ear, but Billy got in the way. For a moment, Billy saw stars. Ronald looked as if he wanted to hit Hank some more, but Billy was there, so Ronald quit. The other boys began to quit as well.

Finally, there was just Billy and Hank. Hank was lying on his stomach, but he started getting up. Billy smiled at him and reached out a hand to help him up.

It was then that Hank hit him! He hit him on the shoulder, hard enough to hurt.

“Hank!” Billy said, “I’m trying to help you!”

Hank hit him again. This time it was in the stomach. It hurt a lot and Billy could hardly breathe. He couldn’t say anything. Hank swung at his nose, and Billy ducked. Hank kicked him. Then he grabbed his left arm and twisted it behind his back. “Ow!” Billy hollered.

At that point Mrs. Johnson arrived. The principal, Mr. Jakowski, was there, too. Soon Billy was sitting in principal’s office, listening to him talk to his mother on the phone. “No, Madam,” Mr. Jakowski said, “I will not have fighting in my school.”

It was strange to be picked up early from school. All the other children were in class, except Hank. Billy wasn’t sure where he was.

“What happened, Billy?” his mother asked as they drove home. So Billy explained how he had tried to help Hank.

“I didn’t fight, Mother!” he said. “I didn’t even want to fight. I just wanted everybody to quit fighting.”

Mother nodded. Billy was different since he had gotten saved. Jesus had taken the fight out of him.

“Mother,” asked Billy, “why did Hank start hitting me? I was trying to help him.”

“Did he know that it was you?” Mother asked.

Billy nodded, strongly. “Yes,” he said, “he knew it was me. But he just kept on.”

Mother was quiet a moment. “Well,” she said, “in Hank’s home, they fight all the time. There is not much love there. His mother and daddy fight with each other. Hank doesn’t know what love is.” Mother stopped talking a moment. “People need love so desperately,” she said after a while. “When they don’t have it, they need it so much that they do strange things to people they love.”

Billy thought about this. “You mean that Hank was trying to show me that he loved me by hitting me!” he said. His Mother nodded.

Poor mixed-up Hank! Trying to show love to people by hitting them! Billy felt sorry for him.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”* (Matthew 5:9)