The Words of the Weber Family

Path Of The Guardian, a short story

Ken Weber
February 26, 2011

Recently I was looking through my Sunday School things for notes, and I found a story that I had forgotten that I had written. I must have written it several years ago and put it in a notebook. It is an interesting story about indemnity, and has an interesting lesson. I hope that you enjoy it. (And see if you can figure out who The Guardian is before the end of the story!)

I once asked a wise man two questions about good and evil. "Why do evil people succeed so often?" and "When evil people succeed, why doesn't God do something to punish them?"

In answer to my first question, the wise man said, "Evil people succeed when good people stand aside and do nothing." In answer to my second question, the wise man told me a story, a legend actually, about someone named "The Guardian."

The Wise Man's Story

The Guardian did not like his name. It had been given to him by God Himself when he had died and had gone to spirit world. It was a description of his new mission as well as a name, a mission which he dreaded. He cringed now as God called out his name!

"Guardian! Come here!"

"Is it another one?" asked The Guardian.

"Yes," said God. "May 4, eight years ago!"

"That must be Bill Miller," said The Guardian. "Yes, I remember him."

"Mr. Miller has lost his job and his reputation," said God. "All because of the actions of another man."

"I know," said The Guardian. "All because of Hector Smith!" The Guardian gave an exasperated sigh. "Yes, I know very well!"

"Your mission," said God, "is to help Mr. Miller stand up against Hector Smith to regain his job and his reputation."

The Guardian shook his head and walked out of the room. Here he was stopped by Satan himself!

"You can't do this! Satan said with a sneer.

"I have no choice," said The Guardian. "What can I do? Pushing Satan aside, The Guardian was in obvious discomfort.

Up and out of the blackness, and backwards in time flew The Guardian. Finally he materialized on the front porch of a home. There on the porch sat Bill Miller. The startled man jumped up out of his chair and looked up.

"Don't be afraid," said The Guardian. "I am here to help you!"

"Are you a ghost?" asked Miller. "I can see right through you. I can't make out what our face looks like. It's dark and featureless!

"I am a spirit who has been sent to help you regain your job and reputation. I know that you invented a machine for your boss and your job. I also know that the idea for your invention was stolen by Hector Smith and that he said that you stole the idea from him! As a result, you were fired and your reputation was ruined."

"What am I going to do?" asked Miller.

"If you expect Mr. Smith to think like you do," said The Guardian, "he will defeat you. You must understand that he is thinking only of himself. This is how evil works."

"Miller shook his head. "You make it sound as if evil is a tangible entity."

"Evil's greatest accomplishment is convincing people that it doesn't exist," said The Guardian. "At other times it misleads people into thinking that real evil is something supernatural! But, Satan exists inside evil and selfish people. He exists inside people like Hector Smith, a man who has the same qualities that Satan has! That's what makes Hector Smith dangerous. Most people would be concerned if they were in a position to hurt someone else. Not Smith! He thinks only of what is best for himself, and he has no remorse if his actions hurt other people!"

"No remorse?" asked Miller.

"Most people would have remorse," said The Guardian. "But, when you expect that of Hector Smith, you are basing that on your perspective, not his! He only sees his own needs, not anyone else's. He has left his position to begin stealing from and dominating others. He will continue to do this unless you stop him!"

"But he already destroyed my reputation! Said Miller.

"Then you have nothing more to lose!" said The Guardian. "He can't hurt you any more than he already has!" With that, The Guardian disappeared.

Bill Miller stood in silence for awhile. Suddenly a plan began formulating in his mind. He would begin by going to the president of the company that he had been fired from, and he knew exactly what he was going to say to him!

The next day Martin Wilson, president of the company, received a visit from his former employee, Bill Miller. He tried to send Miller out of his office, but the man would not leave. Finally in exasperation, Mr. Wilson threatened to fire Miller.

"You already fired me," said Miller. "You can't do it again. Now I have something to tell you, and you need to listen to it!" With that, Miller began telling Mr. Wilson where the idea for the stolen invention had come from and how he had developed it.

At first the frustrated Mr. Wilson refused to talk to him. But as Miller explained in detail how he had thought up and developed the invention, Mr. Wilson slowly looked up at him. "How could you possibly know these things about that invention?" he finally asked.

"Only the person who actually invented the machine would know such details," was Miller's reply.

Mr. Wilson looked at Miller and nodded. "Then Smith is the real thief," he finally said. Quickly he called his secretary on the intercom. "Find Hector Smith!" he said angrily. "Send him into my office immediately!"

Bill Miller sat back in his seat. His confrontation with Smith was about to take place.

In a few minutes, Hector Smith walked happily through the door. He was proud that he was being called by the big boss. But, he stopped in surprise when he saw Bill Miller sitting in the office.

"Sit down," said the boss sternly. "Just for the record, I want to hear how you thought up the idea for that invention of yours."

"Well," stammered Mr. Smith as he sat down. "I don't recall the details of how I first got the rough idea."

"Then." continued Mr. Wilson, "please explain to me how you refined this rough idea of yours and developed it into its present form and finished invention."

"Er… let's see," stammered Mr. Smith. "I really don't remember. I'll have to review my notes."

"You do that," said Mr. Wilson. "But, until then you can consider yourself demoted to stocking shelves in our warehouse. I am re-hiring Mr. Bill Miller to take your place. And, mark my words, I will be watching both of you!" Mr. Wilson then walked over and shook Miller's hand. He then turned and said, "Thank you, Mr. Smith, and good-bye!"

Hector Smith frowned and slowly left the office. Minutes later when Bill Miller came out of the office. Smith was standing in the hallway glaring at him. "I'll get even with you for this!" growled Smith. "You will regret the day that you did this to me."

So forceful was Smith that Miller staggered back in fear. He then remembered that if he acted cowardly now, it would open the door for Smith to continue hurting people. Stepping forward he glared at Smith. "And I will be watching you!" he said forcefully. "Watch your step, or you will be the one who regrets this day!"

Angrily Smith turned and walked away, leaving Miller go give a sigh of relief.

The next day, The Guardian appeared as Miller set up his new office. "Congratulations," he said.

Miller looked up at the transparent figure. He still could not make out the features of The Guardian. "If it hadn't been for you, I never would have had the courage to stand up to Smith," he said. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," said The Guardian with a deep sigh.

"How do you know that Smith won't try to get revenge on me?" asked Miller.

"Some people would," whispered The Guardian. "But, Smith is a coward. I ought to know."

Miller looked at The Guardian. "Who are you?" he asked. "Why did you help me?"

The Guardian gave another deep sigh. "It wasn't my idea," he whispered softly. "You see, when I was alive, I was a man just like you. But, the things I did were so evil that I destroyed the lives of many people. When I died, God was so angry with me that He personally gave me the mission of going back in time to help save each and every person that I had hurt! He gave me the mission of saving them FROM MYSELF!!!

Slowly The Guardian became less transparent and started taking on a tangible form. His face now became brighter and took on familiar features. Bill Miller staggered back in surprise. "Oh my gosh!" he said. "You're the spirit of Hector Smith!"

"Yes," said The Guardian. "And now that I have helped you, I will have to go to another time when I hurt another person and correct what I did then. The thing is that I lost count of how many people I hurt in my life, and how many lives I destroyed! I have no idea how many people I still have to help!"

Bill Miller looked sadly at The Guardian. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

Slowly The Guardian walked out of the office and down the hall to the warehouse. In the warehouse he saw himself, Hector Smith, eight years younger, sitting on a bench plotting and scheming how to get the best of someone else.

"Please stop!" cried The Guardian to his younger self. "The more people you hurt while you are alive, the more times I have to come back! Please stop hurting people!" But the younger Hector Smith could not hear. He was so wrapped up in his scheming that he could not hear The Guardian's voice.

Now another voice called out, "Guardian! Come here!"

The Guardian gave a deep sigh. "I hear you God!" he whispered. "Who do you want me to rescue now?" Soon he was speeding off to another time and place to help another person he had hurt. How many more times would he have to do this? With a deep sigh of regret, he flew on!

Now the wise man's story was finished, and as he looked at me, he shook his finger. "So this is the answer to your question," he said. "Situations and punishments may be different, based on the people and what they did wrong. However, evil people are punished, not by God directly, but by themselves. This is because God gave us the responsibility to take care of each other AND OURSELVES."

He sat back and closed his eyes as if he was deep in thought. "God does not take this responsibility away from us. It is up to us to fulfill it!"

The wise man now sat in silence, and I realized that he was finished. I left and began walking toward home. My questions had been answered. 

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