Friday, March 5, 2010

It's All About Bob

by Sharlyn Guthrie

“Do you mind filing today while I watch the desk, Lauren? I’m expecting someone, and I don’t want to miss him.” Christy, Lauren’s co-worker, had that ask me more look about her.

“No problem. Is he a friend of yours?”

“Sort of. I mean, Yes! I met him online, and he’s such a cool guy; a little older than most of the guys I date, but the things he says to me…oooh, I just can’t wait to be alone with him. We’re staying at the resort. That’s one of the perks of working here, you know.”

Lauren gulped. Christy often talked too much, revealing startling naïveté. Lauren was hesitant to interfere, but besides being thoroughly disgusted, she feared for her friend. “Do you really think it’s wise to spend the weekend with someone you’ve never met?”

“I’ll meet him soon, and so will you. You’ll see. Bobby’s wonderful!”

“God, I don’t know what to do. Give me wisdom,” Lauren prayed as she filed. But she was soon interrupted.

“You’ve got to be Christy. Wow! Your picture doesn’t do you justice.”

Filled with dread Lauren turned, and her dread immediately turned to horror. “Bob?!”

“Lauren? I certainly didn’t expect to see you here.”

I’ll bet you didn’t, Lauren thought. Instead she managed, “What brings you to Lake Geneva?”

“Just a little R and R,” Bob replied, winking at Christy. “Ready to go?”

“You two know each other?” Poor, gullible Christy looked delighted as she glanced from Bob to Lauren and back to Bob again.

“Not very well.” Lauren’s eyes narrowed as she considered the irony of her reply. She thought she knew Bob. In fact, she had once admired him. Now she felt like throwing up.

Christy grabbed her purse and was chattering away about the resort’s amenities. Lauren watched in stunned silence as Christy walked out the door hanging on the arm of her former youth pastor.

Lauren was tormented all weekend; both by Bob’s sleazy charade, and by her unwitting involvement in it. She knew she should do something, yet she had never been particularly courageous. “God, make Bob and Christy miserable this weekend,” she prayed, hoping that the problem of Bob would simply go away.

It had been through Bob’s youth group that Lauren first accepted Christ. She had grown to love Bob and his wife, Carol. In fact, the whole congregation loved and respected him. They would never suspect the double life he was leading. As Lauren continued to pray and consider her dilemma, she knew what she had to do first. It would require extraordinary courage; she would just have to trust the Lord to provide it.

Christy was somewhat subdued on Monday, but she accepted Lauren’s invitation to dinner that evening. “There’s something you need to know about Bob,” Lauren began hesitantly, and from there the whole ugly truth was gradually revealed.

“Bobby, or uh…Bob said he was divorced, but I noticed that quite a few things he told me didn’t add up. I had already decided I didn’t want to see him again. It was really stupid of me to spend the weekend with him. It’s not like you didn’t warn me.” Tears coursed down Christy’s cheeks as she asked, “Do you think God can ever forgive me?”

It was just the opening Lauren had prayed for. She confidently shared the truth of God’s grace and forgiveness with Christy. Christy listened with interest and humility as Lauren read Scriptures on repentance and reconciliation. With a sense of awe, Lauren witnessed Christy’s transformation from friend to sister in Christ. The two held hands and prayed together, tears streaming down their cheeks.

Much later their conversation returned to Bob. “It’s all so wrong, Christy. Bob not only deceived you, but he is also living a lie before God, his family, and the church. Will you help me expose the truth?”

Following a carefully devised plan, Lauren and Christy left early the following Sunday morning and drove two hours to Chicago. They slipped into a back row after the church service began. Bob was easy to spot, sitting near the front with his wife and their four children. “Courage, Lord. I need courage. Make me strong for Your sake, and for Christy’s,” Lauren prayed.

After the service Bob and Carol proceeded to the youth room for high school Sunday school. Lauren made her entrance as class was about to start.

“Great to see you, Lauren!” Bob’s plastic smile looked a little off-kilter. “I hear you’re living and working up north these days. You all know Lauren, right?”

“Hello everyone. Bob’s right. Most of you know me,” Lauren replied, as she pulled Christy through the doorway, “but I’m certain he will want to introduce all of you to his friend.”

The story I’ve shared for Fiction Friday today is based on a true story. Sexual misconduct by church leaders is something most of us would rather not think about, and if we do think about it we often deny that it could happen in our midst. If you are a long time reader of my blog you will understand why this topic is important to me. I hope you will understand, however, that exposing this kind of behavior is not about getting even. God’s grace and forgiveness is sufficient even for the “Bobs” in the body of Christ. For more on this topic, you may be interested in reading two of my past posts: Can God Use Me If I Fail? and Thanksgiving For Dreadful Deeds.

Fiction Friday is hosted today by Karlene at Homespun Expressions.


  1. Brave writing! Being a whistleblower is not easy. But as Christians we ought to examine our hearts in keeping secrets. Gossip isn't good but neither is hiding harmful truth.

  2. Yes, I remember this one from the Challenge. Hard thing to do but for sure a "must do."

  3. Wow. This was written very well. I was a secretary when our pastor and custodian/worship leader had an affair. It's a horrible experience to go through and I felt so responsible that I didn't put so many clues together.

  4. It's not easy to think about this kind of story being true - thank you for reminding us that ALL have sinned and fallen short, and those we tend to place on a pedestal need our prayers the most.


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