"Revelation" is one of the stories that I just finished, also dealing with this racial tension. It's about a large white woman named Mrs. Turpin who feels very good about her lot in life. She thanks God that she has a cheery disposition, wants to help others, and that she is not black or is not white trash. After being belittled by a stranger, she rises up in anger and pride. In the midst of this, she sees a vision:
"A visionary light settled in her eyes. She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were rumbling toward heaven. There were whole companies of white-trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of black niggers in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognized at once as those who, like herself and Claud, had always had a little of everything and the God-given wit to use it right. She leaned forward to observe them closer. They were marching behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. They alone were on key. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away."In that moment, Mrs. Turpin realized that her virtuous acts made no difference in heaven. The pride that she felt about being better than other people was met by the grace of God, that strips away every ounce of arrogance of those who believe they deserve to go to heaven. I'm struck by this story, because I think and act like Mrs. Turpin a lot of the time. And it's only by the grace of God that I can be humbled to realize the truth of the gospel, that I deserve only hell, but that by Christ's blood, I have been offered peace with God and true life with Him.