The study group has been together for two weeks and Jeff Winger has already made the habit of showing up late to their study sessions, so much so that they are discussing talking about it with him when he arrives. Pierce Hawthorne, the oldest in the group, volunteers.
Pierce Hawthorne: “If you want me to have a chat with Jeff, I’d be happy to do it. We’ve got a bond going, kind of. Sorta like brothers.”
Troy Barnes: “I hope your mom didn’t make you take baths together, ‘cause one of you would’ve been, like, thirty.”
Of course, when Jeff arrives, Pierce and the others are charmed by him and say nothing confrontational, except for Britta Perry, the girl Jeff is into. After the study group, Jeff tries to get in Britta’s better graces, unsuccessfully.
Pierce: “You know, Jeff, you can’t pursue people so desperately. It starts to creep them out. Why don’t we go get a beer, I can give you some advice and we’ll have what the kids are calling a ‘Sausage Fest’.”
Jeff Winger: “I’m not much of a ‘sausage’ guy, Pierce. Maybe next time.”
In Spanish class, Senor Chang pairs up a group assignment by placing cards with either a picture or a Spanish word on them underneath the desks. Britta has a picture of a house and Jeff trades Abed Nadir for the card he has, which says “Casa.”
However, when he walks up to Britta, he discovers she traded cards with Pierce. They meet up in the library to write out their assignment, a simple conversation of five Spanish phrases.
Jeff: “So, the assignment is to write a Spanish conversation using those five phrases in…”
Pierce (removing a bottle of liquor from his bag): “Oooo… Hemingway’s lemonade.”
Jeff: “Uh, we don’t need to make this a long evening.”
Pierce: “What am I, a piece of garbage to you?”
Jeff: “What? … No!”
Pierce goes overboard, making this grand and ridiculous story that doesn’t even include the five necessary Spanish phrases, and Jeff finally has enough, leaving so he can continue on doing what he’s been trying to do all day: hit on Britta.
Pierce: “Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You’re bailing on our first sausage fest? This is your definition of friendship?”
Jeff: “No, this is my definition of you trying way too hard and me finding it harder and harder to stay polite.”
Jeff tracks Britta down at a “silent protest” for a cause that Shirley Bennet and Annie Edison are championing, and slyly joins in, standing next to Britta. Britta, amused that he’s still trying, apologizes for being too harsh on him lately. However, the moment is interrupted by Pierce, who obviously finished the bottle.
Pierce (drunk): “Awesome! Look at awesome Jeffery Winger! Too awesome for old Pierce, with your hip shirts and your gelled hair and you’re cool tape over your mouth… Why is everybody wearing tape over their mouth?”
Jeff: “It’s a protest, Pierce!”
Pierce: “Oh, good! ‘Cause I know what I’d like to protest: How much you hurt me! First, you constantly blow me off, then you want me to do your homework, then you say I’m trying too hard to be your friend!”
Pierce then manages to set himself on fire and runs away screaming. Jeff is even more convinced that he is a crazy old man and even apologizes to Britta for Pierce’s behavior the next morning in Spanish class. The rest of the group start explaining why they think Pierce is crazy, but Britta speaks last.
Britta Perry: “You know what he did that’s really crazy? He offered me a hundred dollars to switch cards with him just so he could be partners with Jeff. I think he thought getting closer to Jeff would bring him respect in the group. I think he’s spent his whole life looking out for himself and he would trade it all for a shot at some kind of family.”
Pierce walks in with Senor Chang, having explained the falling out, and asked to do the show on his own. Senor Chang offered to give Jeff a “C” and let him sit out, but Jeff, realizing what a jerk he’s been, says that the show is bigger than whatever he and Pierce are going through and that it must be done right.
Jeff: “You ready, amigo?”
They both then put on a long and terrible show that earns them both F’s, but they don’t care, because it was fun. The episode ends with Jeff earning a spot in Britta’s good graces and then walking away with his renewed friend, Pierce.
“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
-Luke 6:31 ESV
It’s hard to love everybody. And I’m sure most of us have that one friend or relative that just gets on our nerves, but they always want to hang out with us.
Or maybe it’s been a pattern of people looking up to us, but us not being willing to be looked up to.
The one thing we all have in common is that we need to be needed, we need to have friends, we need to be loved. When we are rejected, we feel abandoned and alone. But God doesn’t want us to ever let any feel that way.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
-Romans 12:9-10 ESV
And sometimes it’s hard, because, sure, sometimes people ARE annoying, or depressing, or rude, or needy, etc. But we should be willing to love in spite of these things, because that is what love is, that’s what being a Christian is.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
-Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
We should be this way always and to all people, and do it with a smile knowing that we are not only doing the right and Godly thing, but that God is actually USING us at that very moment to speak to someone else who may be hurting or lonely.
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
-1 Peter 1:9 ESV
Bottom line: You should always be kind and loving to people, because you would want the same thing from them, amigo.
Matthew Coker is a Media Director at a church in his hometown, where he also is a leader at a Celebrate Recovery program. He’s a huge comic book nerd, Whovian, and Funko Pop Collector. Matthew and his wife live in New Mexico.