A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

TEN YEAR-OLD TAMMY quietly sat, watching the snowflakes through the bus window.
   She was having fun visiting her grandparents, even though they had surprised her by sending her off to Sunday school.   However, the experience wasn't as bad as she thought, and now the bus was coming to a stop in front of the house.
   "It was nice meeting you, Tammy," the bus captain said as she was getting off.   "Come see us again next time you visit your grandparents."
   Tammy waved goodbye and ran through the snow covered path that led up to the front door.   She stomped her snow covered boots and went inside.
   "Tammy?   Is that you, Honey?" Grandma yelled from the kitchen.   "Lunch is almost ready; get cleaned up."
   Tammy took the usual "eternity" it required to peel off all her winter gear and then made her way to the kitchen.
   "There you are," Grandma said, taking the chicken out of the oven.   "How was Sunday school?"
   "Okay I guess."
   "Did you learn anything new?"
   "Kinda."   Tammy watched as her grandmother transferred the chicken to a large serving platter.   "Well?   What did you learn?"
   "Grandma, did Jesus have to die because of me?"
   "Child, what on earth . . . ?"
   "Martha!"   Grandpa Thomas roared into the kitchen waving the Sunday paper.   "Where's my comics?"
   "Oh, Henry - grow up!"
   Grandpa redirected his piercing look toward Tammy.   "You took them, didn't you?"
   "Henry!   Shame on you.   She just got home.   Now go get ready for lunch.   You too, Tammy."
   Tammy followed her mumbling grandfather to the bathroom.   "Don't worry, Grandpa; they'll turn up."
   "Ah!"   Henry flung the paper toward the couch and continued his mumbling.   "Probably makes no difference anyhow.   It's always the same thing.   Beetle gets tied up in knots, Lucy tricks that dumb bald-headed kid.   Who's ever seen a dog talk, anyway . . . ?"
   By now, they were both standing in front of the sink.   Grandpa started washing his hands while Tammy gazed up at him.
   "Grandpa, did Jesus die because of me?"
   "The teacher at church told me He died for my sins."
   "So what?   It's too late now to fret over it."   Henry was splashing water all over the place.
"Hand me that towel before your grandmother has a fit."
   "But, I didn't want Him to die because of me."
   "Look, don't be like your grandmother.   She gets these crazy ideas, too.   Besides, I don't believe He died for all your sins anyway; so, stop blaming yourself."
   Tammy tilted her head like an inquisitive puppy.   "What do you mean?"

   "Well.   The way I see it. . ." Grandpa said, glancing upward while rubbing his chin.   ". . . if He died for all your sins, then why do you still have to get baptized, confirmed and forced to keep all those commandments?"   His glance suddenly came down to earth.   "Now let's go - I'M HUNGRY!"
   Tammy was even more confused as they walked back to the dinner table.   Grandma had just finished setting the table when Grandpa reached for a french fry and got his hand whacked with a serving spoon.   "Henry, where's your manners?"
   "Where my stomach is."
   "Tammy, Dear, since you went to church today, why don't you say grace."
   "She'll take forever," Grandpa said.
   Grandma gave him a mean look, then turned again toward Tammy and smiled.   "Go ahead Dear."
   Tammy nervously looked at the two of them and then bowed her head.   "Dear God. . . . thank you for this food. . . and I'm really very, very sorry.   Amen!"
   Grandma looked at Henry, perplexed.
   "Oh, pay no mind to her," he said.   "She's got this crazy idea that she single-handedly killed Jesus."
   "Henry, you scared the child."
   "Oh . . . I did not!   It's impossible to scare any of the women in this family."
   Grandma faced Tammy, "Now what's all this about?"
   "At church today, they told me that Jesus had to die because of my sins."
   "Well," Grandma said, "I suppose there is some truth to that."
   "But I don't want it to be my fault!"
   "You wanna know what I think?" Henry chimed in with his mouth full of food.
   "NO!" Grandma said, placing her hand gently upon Tammy's.   "Tammy, it's not all your fault.   There are a lot of people in this world who have done worse things than you.   Why . . . you're still so young," Grandma smiled and patted her hand.   "You just keep trying to be the best little girl you can."

   Later that night, Tammy sat by the window watching the snow fall.
   "My, my," Grandma said, as she sat down next to Tammy.   "It's still snowing.   Henry, it looks like your work is cut out for you tomorrow."
   Henry sat across the room, laughing while he read his paper.   "HA HA!   Lucy did it again!
When will that bald-headed, nin-com-poop learn not to try kicking that football?"

   Grandma rolled her eyes.   "Simple things for simple minds; that's what my father used to say."   Her attention went back to Tammy.   "Honey . . . you've been awfully quiet.   Is anything wrong?"
   "I'm kinda confused Grandma, because . . ."
   Grandpa yelled from across the room, "You're still not hair-braining over that ‘Jesus thing’ are you?"
   "Henry!   Stay out of this.   And besides, I thought you were busy furthering your education with those comics."
   "I'll have you know, WOMAN, that I can do two things at once!"

   "Then chew some gum, and make it three!   Now shut up and mind your own business."
Grandma produced a tender smile as soon as she faced Tammy.   "Now go ahead Dear don't mind him."
   "Well . . . it's just that . . . if Jesus died for my sins, then why do I have to do certain things to pay for them?"
   "Honey, I thought we had settled this.   Jesus paid for some, and you can help Him pay for the rest."
   "Which ones are the rest?"
   "The ones you commit."
   "Then which ones did Jesus pay for?"
   "I guess the ones you didn't commit."
   "But, if I didn't commit them, then why do they have to be paid for?"
   "Now, Honey . . . you're thinking too much and that's why you're confused. . ."
   Henry cleared his throat loudly while holding the paper high in front of his face.
   "Okay, Einstein," Grandma said, directing her attention toward him.   "What's your explanation?"
   "Well," he said, slowly lowering the paper.   "The way I see it . . . she has a point!"
   "That's it?   You're agreeing with a ten- year old?"
   "Yes, I am," Henry said, mockingly opening his mouth to reveal a piece of gum.   "She has put her finger on why I stopped going to church a long time ago."
   Grandma crossed her arms in disbelief.   "Now, Henry, I thought you stopped going because they kept asking you for money?"
   Grandpa stood up.   "It's not just the money; the rules, the minister saying look to God and yet trying to solve our problems using something out of a self-help book.   A lot of it just don't make sense."
   "But Henry, that's the way it is.   Why don't you just go along with it and stop trying to figure it out?"
   Henry shook the comics over his head.   "BECAUSE I'M NO BALD-HEADED NIN-COM-POOP!"
   "Henry what on earth are you . . . ?"
   "I'm not," Henry continued, "going to just follow something that I can't make sense out of just because some minister says, ‘Trust me!’   If they can't explain it to my satisfaction, then why should I trust my soul to it?"
   "But, Henry, who says it can't be explained?"
   Henry shook his head, and plopped himself back in his chair.   "Okay, Martha, go ahead.
You tell me why we have to earn our way to Heaven if Jesus supposedly paid the way for us?   You couldn't explain it to a ten year-old.   I doubt if you could explain it to me."

   Grandma was stunned, surprised by her husband's out break, and even more surprised by his reasoning.   In 47 years of marriage she couldn't remember the last time he made more sense . . .

Dear Reader, The Bible says: "if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."   (Gal. 2:21)   Think about it, if you could earn your way into Heaven then Christ died for nothing.   However, His death was not in vain, it served an important purpose.   It provided a reconciliation to God that was not possible any other way.   Here's why:

The Bible teaches that, "your iniquities [SINS] have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."   (Isa. 59:2)   "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom. 3:23).   And there is a price to pay for having sinned before God, and that price is death.   "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."   (Rom. 6:23)
"and without shedding of blood [DEATH] is no remission [FORGIVENESS]."   (Heb. 9:22)

Of course, this means that BAPTISM cannot pay for your sins since no one dies while getting baptized, nor can CONFIRMATION, COMMUNION, KEEPING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, CHURCH MEMBERSHIP, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, or GOOD DEEDS.   Anything other than death CANNOT and WILL NOT pay for any of your sins.   That's why:
"Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).

He paid the price.   He died in our place and if we don't put our trust in His death to save us,
Jesus warned that: "ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he," (John 8:24).   And that means eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15).   To claim what Christ has done on the cross for you, you must REPENT.   That means: change your mind, and agree with what you have just read from the Bible and place all your trust in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, to save you.   So "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [i.e. REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9).

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