By Anne Robertson



G:  Abner, I was wondering something.


A:  What is it, Gladys?


G:  I opened your closet this morning.


A:  The one in my room?


G:  That's right.


A:  That was a brave thing to do, Gladys.


G:  It was a stupid thing to do.  I was hit by an avalanche of animal crackers.


A:  Yup.  That was my closet all right.


G:  Abner, why do you have a closet full of animal crackers?


A:  Because I make a lot of mistakes.


G:  That doesn't make any sense, Abner.  What do animal crackers have to do with making       mistakes?


A:  Well, I was reading the Old Testament.


G:  That's pretty amazing.


A:  Well, the pastor was visiting.  Anyway, I read in there that when people did something wrong,          all they had to do was      offer a sacrifice and everything was OK again.


G:  I think I know what's coming.


A:  You're always telling me that I do bad things, so I decided I needed to make some sacrifices--         like they did in the Old Testament where they killed sheep, bulls, birds and all that stuff.


G:  You didn't kill any animals, Abner!


A:  No.  My mother is pretty attached to the cat, and I'd need more animals than there are in the            neighborhood.  And I found out that killing animals could land me in jail.


G:  So you got animal crackers.

A:  Boy, you're smart, Gladys.  It's a great system.  There are about twenty in a box, and I have             about 500 boxes.  That means I can do 10,000 bad things before I run out of sacrifices.


G:  And how do you sacrifice your animal crackers?


A:  They're eaten alive.


G:  I thought they might be.  Abner, I hate to tell you this, but those sacrifices aren't working.


A:  What do you mean they're not working?


G:  I mean God does not forgive you for what you've done every time you eat an animal cracker.


A:  But the Old Testament says...


G:  I know what it says, Abner.  But there's more to it than that.


A:  Like what?


G:  For one thing, Abner.  You can't be forgiven unlesss you're really sorry for what you did.      You have to repent, and that means you're sorry and you're really going to try to be better.


A:  I might be sorry.


G:  Abner, if you were really trying to be better, you wouldn't have 500 boxes of sacrifices in your         closet.


A:  I suppose not.


G:  Besides, God doesn't want sacrifice.


A:  But it says...


G:  Forget that, Abner.  You have to read the WHOLE Bible, not just little parts.  It also says that         God wants obedience and not sacrifice.  Sometimes the people had to give a sacrifice for    what they did.  But God would have been happier if they just did what they were supposed           to from the beginning.


A:  I guess I missed that part.


G:  I guess you missed the whole New Testament, too, Abner.


A:  The pastor didn't visit very long.

G:  If you had read the New Testament, you would have found out        that the people don't need to     make sacrifices of animals anymore.


A:  They don't?


G:  No.  That's why Jesus came and died on the cross.  He was the last sacrifice needed.


A:  Well, what do people do instead?


G:  Now, when people do something wrong, the sacrifice part is taken care of.  They just have to           do the rest.


A:  What's that?


G:  To repent, Abner.  They have to be truly sorry for what they did.  Sorry enough to apologize            to whoever they might have hurt, and sorry enough to do their best not to do it again.


A:  That's hard.


G:  It's very hard, Abner.  It's embarrassing to admit you were wrong.  But if you do, God         forgives you and helps you to be better the next time.


A:  So I don't need the animal crackers.


G:  No, Abner.


A:  But what will I do with them?


G:  Well, Abner, you could...


A:  Never mind, Gladys.  I have an idea.  If I mixed them all up with 75 gallons of whipped        cream...


G:  Don't bother to explain it, Abner.  I'm sure it's disgusting.  It's more important that you          remember to obey God so that you won't have to repent.


A:  You know you can count on me, Gladys.


G:  Sure, Abner.  Now say goodbye.  The thought of all those crackers and whipped cream is   making me sick.


A:  Bye!

G:  Bye!