To Believe or Not To Believe

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To Believe or Not to Believe
The short narrative “Salvation” portrays the life of Langston Hughes at an early age confronted with the decision to “come forward” and be saved. His aunt’s church,“ held a special meeting for children, ‘to bring the young lambs to the fold’”(Hughes, 197). Throughout the story, he sits in his seat, his aunt Reed sobbing the whole time, congregation pressuring him to “come and be saved,” and waiting to see Jesus. Yet nothing ever happens-no “bright light,” no Jesus, nothing. The church is full of “a mighty wail of moans and voices”(198) waiting for Langston to get up and see Jesus. So he does. He cannot wait any longer and lies to the entire congregation, simply saying he was saved, but only to save from any further trouble. In the end, he never “sees” Jesus, keeps his lie a secret from his aunt, believes there isn’t even a Jesus, and is farther from the truth than ever.
The story does have good logic. It is understandable if someone is completely turned off to the gospel because they were pressured or forced to accept Christianity. It is not that person’s fault if that do dislike the truth of the Bible. It is, however, the fault of whomever was doing the witnessing. They either did a terrible job presenting the gospel message, or they didn’t have any Scripture to back up their words. In Hughes’ case, the gospel presentation was the worst I’d ever heard: going from “a wonderful rhythmical sermon, all moans and shouts and lonely cries and dire pictures of hell, and then he sang a song about the ninety and nine safe in the fold, but one little lamb was left out in the cold”(197). What a smooth transition.
In my aunt’s case, she, too, was completely turned off to the gospel. At her husband’s funeral, two or three nuns came up to her and attempted to witness to her. Attempted mind you. What may or may not shock some people (however not surprising to me), was that they blatantly told my aunt that her husband went to hell. Again, this is at her funeral. I do not know if he did or did not believe in Christ as his Savior-I was too young at the time-but what an unfortunate way to let her know about the grace of God. It is no wonder she is still turned off to the gospel to this day.

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