“Culture versus Grace” - A Short Story
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(2/6)! Now, here’s David—
Welcome Friend! This is David Telbat with a new short story for you! Since we are aware of Satan's tactics to ruin lives, we should not be surprised that in these last days, he's using society to harass God's people. It is remarkable that a Christian's entire game plan is spelled out in the Bible for all to know—that we are to love like Christ and show mercy and grace when wronged. However, the world continues to test the resolve of the faithful, as if God's character in us is going to produce different fruit than Christ's fruit.
Oh, and we are tested, aren't we? But true disciples of Jesus have burned the bridge to acting like the world because our old nature is in the grave, buried with Christ (Romans 6:4). May we remember in this New Year, amidst a sinful culture, that our life in Christ transcends the damage this world attempts to cause for Jesus followers. Here's a short story inspired by actual events. —David Telbat
Culture versus Grace
by D.I. Telbat
Nine-year-old Clay Bronson kicked at the ashes at the edge of the burned-down tire shop. His father, Jason, crouched next to him, surveying the damage.
"Do you think Kev will rebuild?" Clay asked his father. The boy's voice cracked a little, even though he wanted to be brave in the presence of the strongest man he knew. "What if they did this to us?"
Jason stood tall and nodded, his brow furrowed, and set a hand on Clay's shoulder.
"Christians have been mistreated like this since people started following Jesus, Clay. We would be foolish to think that we can escape the hatred of the world that hates Him."
Clay licked his lips and held back a shudder. The machines still stood in the ashes where Kev and his mechanics had changed flat tries or tested transmissions. It was now all indistinguishable from the rest of the wreckage.
"Will we help them start over?" Clay asked.
"Oh, absolutely. Kev and his family are part of our church family, so we'll help them in whatever way we can."
Behind them on the street, a car horn blared. Clay turned, hoping to glimpse someone his family knew. After all, his father was a local fireman who'd been honored as a hero more than once. Instead, a crude gesture was flashed from the open passenger window.
"Quit hating, you filthy—!" shouted a woman in sunglasses, then the car sped off.
Clay wanted to shout back. Barely containing his rage, he looked back at his father to see his reaction.
"We don't hate anyone, right, Dad?"
"No, we don't hate anyone."
"They're really angry. I think they think we're Kev."
"Probably." Jason sighed and continued to watch the street. "We’re believers who follow the Bible. We don't approve of anyone's sin, but we don't hate anyone who disagrees with us."
"Why do they hate us so much? They might burn down more places since the police aren't catching the arsonist."
"Yeah, they might burn down more places. I think their hatred comes from a demand that people approve their sinful choices. They don't even like their choices being called sinful."
"Was Kev calling them sinners or something?"
"Not directly. Some people wanted to use the side of Kev's shop wall to announce how proud they are of their lifestyle. Kev said he'd change anyone's tires, but he wasn't putting up a sign on his outside wall for something he thought was wrong."
"Well, they burned his shop down, so they still can't put up their sign."
"Sin blinds so much, Clay, that people who boast in their rebellion against their Creator don't realize how much they're really just damaging themselves."
"So, they're mad because we don't agree with them?"
"That's a good way to put it. They don't understand the freedom we live in, but we understand the bondage they're in. We have to respond very carefully and prayerfully."
"What do we do, then?"
"Well, I don't know about you, but I'm going to look for opportunities to show mercy and grace to people even more."
"As a fireman?"
"Yeah, as a fireman, but also as a simple neighbor in this community. You never know when you'll have an opportunity to help even those people who yelled at us a minute ago."
"You'd help them with anything, wouldn't you, Dad?"
"Absolutely. Jesus inspires me to help anyone with anything as long as it isn't sinful, just like Kev would've helped those people with anything that didn't cross his conscience. How about you?"
"How about me what?" Clay watched his father's face, sensing the whole afternoon had been for this one moment. "You mean, what would I do?"
"Can you trust God to help you help others who might not like you?"
"I'll watch for those opportunities, too, Dad, like you said. I'm not a fireman, but I ride my bike around. I see stuff. I can help people more. I know I can."
"Yeah." Jason nodded with a smile, then returned his gaze to the ashes of the shop. "Good answer, son. We're going to be just fine with that plan. Just keep showing people mercy and grace. And Kev will be just fine, too. We're not too bothered about our loss here on earth. We belong to another Kingdom.”
Clay grinned, never happier than to be at his father’s side.
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