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Returning The Punches - a short story by A.B.King

   Once upon a time, in a place much like where you live right now there lived a 12 year old boy named Paul. He was very strong but obviously not as strong as the school bully who always bullied him.
   Somehow Paul never got home with any marks or bruises to prove anything for his parents to even care.
   Paul had a friend named Selena. She was a Christian. She told Paul to pray about it and to also report the matter to the school principal.
   Paul taught that that option was out of the question. It was bad enough that the school bully was pushing him around like a weakling but being the guy who reported the matter to the principal would really make him look like a wuss and Paul didn’t want that – Paul couldn’t have that.
   Paul liked to listen to Selena’s advice on a lot of matters. He admired her faith in God and her steadfastness in holding on to her beliefs but he couldn’t commit himself to following her totally surrendered to Christ lifestyle because he wanted to be one of the cool kids – one of the hip hop heads he sees on TV – one of the rough and rugged kids who were the epitome of COOL in his eyes. COOL was everything to Paul. Even though Paul wanted deep down to become a committed Christian like Selena, he knew being a true Christian not in word only but in lifestyle too would mean walking away from ever looking tough and gangsta hip hop. The appeal of that world was stronger than his desire to walk seriously with God.
   Believe it or not, trouble makers like the school bully in Paul’s school never seem to ever be found at war with a Christian. It’s the same way that gang members always have beef with gang members. You rarely ever hear of a gang member ever having beef with someone who isn’t in a gang. It funny, one won’t think that it’s the other way round but the truth is signing up to join a gang is signing up yourself to be a beef magnet plus the beef of anybody in the gang you join becomes your beef too. So joining a gang is just joining trouble. It’s funny that people enter a gang to find a family in the gang and also importantly get protection but ironically, the safest place to be is out of a gang. Sure gang members sometimes have run-in’s with folks that aren’t it gangs but if you observe you would notice it never evolves into beef or turns into a thing that goes on for weeks.
   Paul however was determined to solve his bully problem. He wasn’t going to do it the Christian way, he was going to do it the tough guy way.
   While watching Music TV; Paul watched a new song by his favorite gangster rapper that featured another critically acclaimed gangster rapper. The song was about a kid in a similar situation who later went back and beat up the folks that were bulling him.
   Paul went online and illegally downloaded the music video from the internet for free. He listened to it over and over again until the message unconsciously merged with his thoughts.
   Paul worked out for a week and after that he confronted the bully with a punch to his face but sadly the Bully bounced back and the bully won that fight.
   Selena understood what Paul was trying to do and so she talked to Paul but Paul waved off everything she said because he just couldn’t see himself as being looked upon by people as a Quiet – Peacefully Christian which a part of him clearly mistook as weakness and sissy-hood. He wanted to be gangster hip hop and super cool brotha. No matter what happens he’ll be just what he wants to be.
   Paul joined a gang and he got his revenge on the school bully because 17 members of the gang ambushed the bully and gave him a major beat down of legendary proportions.
   As time went on Paul was fully involved in the activities of the gang.
   One Friday as Paul was chilling by the basketball court with the gang, a yellow Cadillac pulled up. Next thing; a hand holding a gun came out and started spraying bullets at Paul and the gang. Everyone tried to run – everyone tried to get out of the way and some succeeded by sadly a few didn’t, one of which was Paul.
   The Cadillac quickly drove away and disappeared into the distance.
   Paul was dead as well as a few of his gang member friends.
   Oh! The story could have ended differently if only Paul had listened to Selena and became a Christian.
   Maybe you or those around you view Christians as soft but the thing is being a Christian isn’t soft because the joy of the Lord is the Christian’s strength and since nobody can be stronger than God nobody can be stronger and tougher than Christians are because God’s strength resides in the Christian. We just have to believe it and walk in it cause it’s already ours – it has already been given to us.


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