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When a mob comes for us, should we Christians attempt to survive by allying with someone who has a questionable character? Or is going it alone and letting the mob murder us the right thing to do? I examine this issue in a short story. (And I’m sure it has nothing to do with current events.)
With a howl, the last of Tom’s enemies fled into the distance. “Thank you, Harry. They would’ve murdered me if you hadn’t arrived with your reinforcements.”
“My pleasure!” Harry belted out. He yelled after the retreating communists and didn’t hold back on the obscenities.
“I’ll be prepared for them when they return,” Tom told him.
“Ha! Very good. And seeing as you are without serious injury, I’m off to other tasks,” replied Harry.
They bid one another adieu and Harry and his men rode off.
Movement in Tom’s peripheral vision caught his attention. Dick and his group of upstanding citizens marched towards him.
“Just in time to avoid the fight,” Tom muttered.
“How dare you, Tom! How dare you!” Dick yelled.
“I’m really not in the mood for you,” Tom advised him.
“This time you’ve gone too far.” Dick and his scowling companions screeched to a halt. “Not only was your fighting uncivil, but you had the gall to team up with the loutish Harry. That’s indecent!”
“They were trying to murder me. And you just stood there and watched,” said Tom.
Dick’s face turned redder. “You think we should’ve debased ourselves by fighting? It’s obscene you’d even hint at that. Our current public discourse is so vulgar because both sides are all too willing to be rude and vicious.”
“Harry’s much better than you are,” Tom said.
“Harrumph! And you call yourself a Christian,” Dick squawked. “Do you know how much it damages our Christian witness when you side with such a deplorable person? A person who swears and womanizes? Who drinks and relishes in his ignorance and bombastic behavior? Do you have no conscience, sir?”
Tom sighed and wiped something wet from his forehead. Blood stained the back of his hand. “You refused to stand up to the communists. And now someone else has filled that void. You don’t like it? Then it’s on you, you immoral cowards.”
Dick gaped. “Are you saying you think Harry’s a moral man and you’d side with him again?”
“If no one else is willing to fight the communists, then of course I would.”
Dick slammed his pork pie hat on the ground and immediately picked it up. “That’s outrageous. I can’t believe I’m hearing this from someone calling himself a Christian.”
“And I can’t believe people calling themselves Christians think those of us who want to survive are somehow violating our faith,” Tom shot back.
“You are when you team up with a vulgarian!” Dick shouted.
“Right. I should’ve just died.”
“So what are you saying? All the Christians who were martyred for their faith throughout history were somehow fools? Were wrong? I guess they should’ve abandoned all their values and done the easy thing,” Dick argued.
“You really are evil.”
“Indecent! Indecent! Shame on you!” Dick cried.
Loud whooping interrupted the conversation. A throng of people appeared on the horizon.
“Looks like they’re coming back,” Tom said. “If you’ll excuse me, I have to get ready for them.”
Dick fumed. “You’re just as bad as that Harry is. You’re looking for fights instead of engaging in mannered dialogue. That’s the problem with everyone. Both sides just want conflict. And you all think your way is the only way.”
Tom smirked. “Both sides don’t even exist. There’s only the communist side, and they’ve torn everything apart. That’s why I now have to ally with the uncouth Harry while all you good people keep your hands clean.”
Tom walked off and Dick and his cohorts screamed about his terrible conduct and thuggish incivility. Two minutes later the communists arrived. They gave Dick and his band of good fellows a grand thrashing, and then they sent them to the rear of their formation. Dick and his companions marched with them, and ranted on about how un-Christian and destructive folks like Tom were.