The Bend in the Story

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Once there was a group of small boys who were very close friends. There were five of them, and they were inseparable. They went to school together, they played after school together, they spent countless hours in the summers together, and they often spent the night in tents in one another’s back yards. Although they had no real concept of life-long friendship, they were as close as can be imagined.

At some point, this one boy began to think that he was too cool for the others because he had been distracted by another group of boys. Sadly, this other group was not spiritually healthy at all. For a time, this boy tried to keep his friendship with both groups, but with every day that went by, he found the strain greater and greater, and finally he realized he had to choose. Because he chose poorly, this affected the way he chose. He did not choose honestly, but justified his folly to himself by pretending that his first friends had something very wrong with them. He did this to justify the wrong that he was doing. And so he did not just leave his old friends behind. One day, he announced to his new friends that he had always hated his old friends, and that he only played with them because he had no choice. Of course, the word got back to his old friends.

That night, the four boys were having dinner together at one of their houses, and they asked the father why this had happened. What he said surprised them very much. “In a world full of sin,” he said, “this is how stories must go. You know about Edmund in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. You have read about Benedict Arnold in school. Someday you will learn about Quisling. And of course, you know about Judas Iscariot, a man hand-picked by the Lord Jesus.”

Treachery, he went on to say, impoverishes and destroys those guilty of it. But it always enriches the story.

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