Deception

Charles Cook was anxious and restless. He found it hard to concentrate. When he sat down, he could never relax, so he got up frequently to pace the floor, to get a drink of water, to check the time or to look out the window. Cordial and friendly, Charles was the type of person who made you feel that, in him, you really had someone who cared about you and your problems.

“Give me a call–anytime,” he would say cheerfully to everyone visiting his office. Or, “You’ve got to come over to the house and tell me more about it.”

Some people took him up on his offers of hospitality. And there was the rub! His friendliness was an act. He didn’t really mean for business associates to call him–let alone drop in at his home. He was just making conversation. [Read more…]

A Divided House

“Oh no, not another family fight,” groaned 16-year-old Carole, and she fled to her room in tears.

Carole had asked her mother if she might go roller skating with the church youth group, and Mom had replied, “No. You were at Bible Study last night and you studied late the night before.”

Just then Dad had come in and urged, “Let her go. She’s young only once.”

“But Carole needs her rest,” Mom insisted. Then the seesaw argument began, and both her mother and father were soon angry. [Read more…]

Everyone Wanting Their Own Way

Jon was 14, a handsome, tough young man. A likable guy, he noticed the pictures on the wall of my office and asked what it took to graduate from the college I’d attended. Someday he wanted to be a professional man, he said. I found out that he liked sports, reading, and church, and had lots of friends.

But when it came to talking about his folks, his eyes became slits, his lips pressed into a line, and his voice raised a couple of levels as he shrilled, “I hate them!”’ [Read more…]

When Independence is Bad

When Independence is BadViola Walker was far from an avid angler, but she did go fishing with her husband, Louis, several times after they were married. Then, after three trips to the same trout stream and enduring her husband’s complaints that she scared the fish away, Viola gave up the fishing business.

Viola’s interest was community projects and current events. She became deeply involved in these activities. Then, after one fishing trip, Louis talked about a “genuine fisherwoman” who had been in their crowd, and Viola felt a pang of jealousy. And she was hurt when he said he couldn’t stay home to watch her debate the new expressway route on television because he was meeting his fishing friends, including “Lady Walton.” [Read more…]

Great Expectations

Great ExpectationsTodd Turner was in trouble: for the third time, his wife had threatened to leave him, and this time she meant it. And all over a dog—or so Todd said.

Todd was away from home much of the time and had bought Tracy a dog for company before the birth of their first child. After the baby’s arrival, Todd wanted to get rid of the dog.

“If the dog goes, I go, too,” Tracy warned.

“All right, go ahead,” he told her.

And so they separated. [Read more…]