A chilling blackness consumed the tiny prison cell. It devoured the occupants like a great hungry beast feeding on its helpless prey, engulfing them in its foul breath – the stench of an under-maintained prison. Two men sat in the belly of this darkness, each slumped in his own corner. Nothing was heard but the occasional clomp of soldier’s boots outside the heavy wooden door. Unable to stand the numbing silence any longer, one of the men spoke up, mumbling more to himself than to his cellmate.
“I wish my comrades would hurry up and come to my rescue.” His accent was thick and his voice was gravelly. “I know they must be plotting some sort of break-in right now.”
The other man, a peaceful-looking fellow named Krystof, squinted up at his fellow prisoner, only barely able to see him through the darkness. For a moment he said nothing. But after some thought he responded, “Have you ever thought, my friend, that violence is not the best form of opposition towards an oppressive government?”
“Well, what would you have us do? I suppose that you are one of those gutless cowards who thinks that we should allow the government to trample us underfoot and restrict us to the point that we can no longer take a bath without their say so.” He sniffed his dirty sleeve and made a face. “Something that I could use very soon.”
“On the contrary, sir, I would greatly desire to have a free country once again. Only in a country with freedom of speech and religion can a man serve God without hindrance.” He leaned his head back against the grimy wall. “Or at least without worrying about being thrown into prison for it.”
The rebel snorted in disgust. “So if you do not like the government, how do you propose we regain our freedom without a fight?”
“Oh, there will be a fight if we are to retrieve it. That much is certain.” He paused and peered again through the black cell. “But we must fight not with fists or weapons to win back our rights . . . the most powerful form of combat we possess is the written word.”
“The written word? Ha! What good are words when action is needed? Words on paper are only useful for starting a fire in this freezing dungeon.” He rubbed his arms.
“They may be more influential than you think. Yes, there is a time when we must act, but the written word can sometimes go places and speak to people that we cannot. A simple book or article can arouse the hearts of hundreds of people, convincing them that something must be done. Letters written to government officials can break their resolve to enforce an unfair law when they see thousands of citizens rallied against their system. . . . The written word can even set a prisoner free.”
Krystof’s cellmate scoffed, “I’d certainly like to see your precious words free you from this place!”
“Oh, but I have been set free once. The mightiest and most enduring words ever written set me free from the prison of my own wrongdoing. And they needed neither sword nor club to do it. The words of the Bible are sharper than any two-edged sword and they cut through my heart and freed me from sin.”
“A lot of help that Bible is to you now. It seems to have brought you nothing but trouble.”
Krystof shook his head. “I only pray that someday you will know its power.”
Suddenly the door squeaked open to reveal a uniformed soldier.
“Prisoner Krystof!” he barked. “You have been formally exonerated from all charges and are hereby free to leave. It seems that the prison head has had no rest from annoying letters demanding your release.”
He turned to Krystof’s astonished cellmate. “And don’t you worry. You won’t be alone in here. We caught a group of rebels attempting to overpower one of the guards to the prison gate. We’ll be sure to send one of them to this cell to keep you company.”
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