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When he first noticed the change, he had hoped there was something wrong with the polished steel; his classmates’ glances and ill-quieted whispers told him his hair was indeed brightening from a barely-tolerated commoner’s brown to an openly reviled Rinc Nain chestnut.

—By Ways Unseen, Chapter 2 - Deeds

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”—Matthew 7:18

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.”—John 15:18-19a

Things are getting worse for Haydren; not only his relational situation is open for judgement, but who he is biologically is alienating him from an entire quarter of Burieng—all because of a cultural dispute that is centuries old. Though his home is in a province traditionally occupied and controlled by the Cariste, he is proving to be from Rinc Na. He is a foreigner in the land. The beliefs associated with him is in opposition to the beliefs of the country where he resides—even if he does not yet display those same beliefs.

We are foreigners in the land. The beliefs associated with us are in opposition to the beliefs of our country—even if we do not yet display them personally. But once we have accepted Christ, made him our Lord and savior, and committed to living through him (Galatians 2:20), we begin to change. Maybe only a little bit at first; but as we continue, and as we cultivate the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), before long our affiliation with Christ, and with our true home (Hebrews 11:13), will become more apparent.

Haydren isn’t ready to accept this, and wishes it would change. We, too, can come to moments in our walk where we falter in our pursuit of Christ. When the world—when our friends reject us, dismiss us, make fun of us, hate us; when the person we admire wants nothing to do with us, we might wish our hair was not a Rinc Nain chestnut. Peter, too, denied association with Jesus when doing so might pit him against those around him (Matthew 26:69-75).

But, like Peter, we can return to Christ when we remember his resurrection, and our acceptance of him. Haydren cannot ultimately change his hair, or his heritage, even if he wants to. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV). “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13 NIV).

Rejoice in this! What awaits us in eternal life cannot be imagined by us here on earth—we know only that it will overwhelm us in beauty and wonder. And you will be saved.

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