"You little heathen brat! How dare you speak that way to me! We have been Christians for years! We live an upright life, and we have been trying our best to train your brother and sister to behave. We give to the church every week, and we do good deeds for others who are less fortunate than we are. I always take food to those who have lost a loved one. Your grandfather is a deacon in our local church. You certainly have a nerve asking us such a question!"
"But, Grandma! Putting us into the cellar for punishment; is that what a Christian would do? Beating me with a belt; is that the way to make us be good?" My resolution to quietly take whatever was meted out had flown out the window with my good sense, and my mouth had taken over.
"Just for that, young man, you get no breakfast! In fact, no lunch either until you apologize for your smart mouth. The Bible tells us to 'spare the rod and spoil the child'. Your mother has molly-coddled you children till you have no respect for your elders. Well, you will find that you won't get any such rewards here! The sooner you learn that, the better. Now, get out there and help your grandpa stack that firewood. We'll see what a little work will do for you."
With those words, she handed my coat to me and sent me outside. The snow had begun to fly and it wasn't long before my back was hurting as I bent over and stressed the welts that were there from the belting.
In my heart, Jesus whispered to me that He was with me and to be brave. That made me feel better and I knew I was not alone. I remembered reading about Jesus being whipped and realized he had it a lot worse than me. I couldn't stop telling them about Jesus. They had to eventually hear me. I could maybe show them by my behavior. I would wait my chance and speak again when I felt the time was right.
My hands were soon blistered from handling the rough wood, and when I showed them to Grandpa, he just laughed and said, "They'll soon toughen up, boy! You have been living the life of a panty-waist! We'll have you able to do all kinds 'a things. Just keep working. How did you like that good breakfast your grandma made for you?"
"She didn't give me any breakfast, sir. She got mad and sent me outside without it."
"Uh-oh. Sassed her, didja? She don't stand fer that from nobody, not even me. Ha! She's right bossy, she is. You'll learn, boy! She don't hold with any back-talk. Only thing is, she don't boss me! I am the boss here."
I kinda thought maybe he was blowing smoke, cause it seemed like she did tell him stuff to do, but I wasn't saying anything.
"Grandpa, what do you think it takes to be a Christian?"
"Well, ya gotta live right for one thing, and ya gotta do good stuff for other people. Ya have to raise yer kids right, and whop 'em when they are bad. All those things are right important in being a Christian."
"Well, I asked Jesus into my heart last night while we were in the cellar, and now, I'm a Christian."
"You don't say! Well, I'll be! You think it's that simple? Don't you know there's a lot of rules you have to follow?"
"Not according to our preacher back home!" I could see it wasn't going to be as simple as I thought it would be to witness to my Grandpa and Grandma. It was going to take some real thought on my part, and a lot of help from God.