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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: A good group of folks...
By Misti Chancellor


“Don’t you know that man’s a heretic?” James fumed. “He’s stubborn, prideful, and insists on being an island. Just look at the influence he’s had on you, a once respected pillar of the church; you’ve openly questioned the leadership, disregarded my counsel by having the audacity to visit those people, and are causing others to question the ministry. Why?”

“Well, James, I’ll answer that question if you can tell me what sin the man’s committed,” Paul said quietly. “If you can tell me why we’re dis-fellowshipping a man who has bent over backward to keep the peace, who has searched his soul and the scriptures to find what is true, and who has shown more humility even in the midst of suffering things he shouldn’t have had to suffer than I’ve seen in a long time, then I’ll answer your question.”

James huffed out an exasperated breath. “I tell you, the man’s stubborn! He just wouldn’t listen, and besides that he’s just plain wrong. He’s dangerous. Can’t you see that? If he can influence you this much, don’t you see how dangerous he is? Besides, he was the one who decided to leave. We didn’t cut him off.”

Paul ran aged fingers through his thinning grey hair, and sighed. “Son, if I’d known it was going to be this way when I turned over the pastorate to you, I would have just stayed on. They threw Daniel to the lions, and you know it. I’m disappointed in you, but I’ll do my best not to cause a problem. Just so you know, though, I’m not going to back down from what is true. So, do what you feel you have to do.” He rose to his feet and limped toward the door, pulling his jacket on as he went. He paused and turned… his hand on the knob.

James grimaced, and an angry flush rose in his cheeks. “You’re no longer allowed to participate in the services. We’ll be praying for your soul.”

Paul bowed his head slightly and after a few moments looked at James and said sadly, “God forgive you for what you’ve done,” and slipped quietly out the door.

As he climbed painfully into his truck moments later, he whispered, “Lord, forgive him, he’s young and he doesn’t know what he’s doing.” He started the truck and smiled, “When I think about others that have suffered for choosing to take the hard road of truth… you know, I guess I’m being classed with a pretty good group of folks after all.”

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This article has been read 558 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/07/08
Well done--the conversation struck me as very realistic.

Since you had words left over, I'd have appreciated some context. Set the men in a room, give them cups of coffee, let me know what they look like. It just makes the story more relate-able.

Yes, he's in good company, indeed!
Helen Murray02/09/08
"Paul ran aged fingers through his thinning gray hair." I began to relate to the storywith this sentence - it brought it to life! Great topic - I too would love more detail.
Patty Wysong02/09/08
Great conversation. I was a little lost in the middle--a few lines of background or setting would've cleared that up, but the dialog was good.
Glynis Becker02/09/08
I would love to hear the background of this conversation a little, but the dialogue is well done.
Lyn Churchyard02/09/08
This could easily have been taken from the Bible. Different names for the characters and you could almost be reading about any of the early churches.
I would have liked to have been able to read more of the background too. Good read all the same.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/10/08
You do a great job with dialogue. The story ended a bit abruptly for me, however. I didn't feel like I knew for ceratin who was keeping bad company. The father/son relationship makes the story extra sad.
Holly Westefeld02/10/08
I like your title/take on the topic. The last paragraph was a great conclusion.
I, too, would vote for more explanation of the background of the dispute.
Loren T. Lowery02/12/08
I like your writing style, it flows nicely and you handled the conflict between the two individuals very well. When I read what James was saying about the other individual, my thought was, "talk about calling the kettle black". Great job.
Sara Harricharan 02/13/08
Heehee, you had me here for a moment! I was really thinking he was Paul and wondering where a James had come in. ^_^ Nice job, the twist at the end, making this a more modern story is good. I like how he says he classed with a group of good folks. Nice job with tying your title in and everything. ^_^
Debbie Wistrom02/13/08
Love the ending, too bad, but maybe the youngster will have a change of heart. Great comparisons.
Rita Garcia02/13/08
Love the way your words flow! Well written!!