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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Don’t Look Back (04/19/12)

TITLE: No Time For Forgiveness
By Joe Moreland


“Hey Karl! We’re heading off to a dinner at church. Care to join us?”

Karl looked at his neighbor and shook his head. “No thanks, Jim, I got something I need to take care of here.”

“You sure?” Jim stood in his doorway for an extra second, hoping for a change of heart.

“I’m sure.”

“Well, okay then. Catch you later.”

Karl sighed, and slowly turned back to his empty home and spent the evening alone, watching television.

A few weeks passed in peace as Karl successfully avoided his neighbor. Jim was nice enough, but Karl didn’t want nice in his life.

Karl had been a Christian himself once. Before the incident in his life that cost him his wife, his kids and left him barely hanging on in this big old house. What had been a family home, full of laughter and joy, now haunted him with a silence that seemed to smother every breath he took. He fought the deep depression his life had become by staying “busy”. There was no time in Karl’s world for Jim, his conversation or his church.

One Sunday morning Karl was unloading some groceries from his car (he found Sunday mornings a good time to avoid a crowd at the store) when Jim and his family pulled into the driveway.

“Guess church got out a little early today,” Karl muttered under his breath.

Jim made a beeline for Karl. “Hey neighbor. Need any help with those?”

“Nope. This is the last of it.” Karl tried to keep his annoyance at the interruption out of his voice.

Instead of heading back to his house, though, Jim started walking with Karl as he made his way to the front door with his produce. About halfway to the door, Karl stopped and turned to his neighbor.

“You need something, Jim?”

“Well, the church is hosting a festival next Saturday and Beth and I were hoping we could coax you out for a little fun and some good food.”

Karl closed his eyes for a second and let the frustration get the better of him. When he opened them again he let poor Jim have it with both barrels.

“Let me ask you something, Jim. When are you guys going to get it through your thick skulls that I don’t want to go to church? I don’t want to go to bible study. I don’t want to go to a dinner or a festival or a concert or any other outing with you, your family or your church! Would you just leave me the hell alone?!?” Angrily, Karl turned and started up the walk towards his door once more.

Behind him he heard, like a whisper in the wind, so quiet he almost didn’t pick it up. “What happened to you, Karl?”

Now Karl was really angry. He spun on Jim and yelled, “What happened to me? What happened to me?!? You know very well what happened to me! You and every other person in this entire town. I messed up, is that what you want to hear? Are you all so desperate to get me back in church so I can confess and repent? Is that it, Jim? For what? For God’s forgiveness? Well, what good is forgiveness going to do me when I’ve already lost everything that I cared about?”

“Karl,” Jim interrupted, “you ask me what good is forgiveness? It’s everything my friend. You think you’re the only man who’s ever messed up and lost his family? You can’t live by what’s happened in the past. That’s what the enemy wants. You’ve already been forgiven, Karl. The least you can do is accept it. Move out of the past and into the future, and don’t look back. God doesn’t.”

Karl was at a loss for words. He turned away and walked quickly into his house, leaving Jim standing in his yard. But he had already heard what he needed to hear. Later that day he knocked on Jim’s door.

“Jim, I just wanted to say I’m sorry for the way I treated you,” Karl began. “I don’t know what came over me.”

“Don’t worry about it, Karl. I’m sorry if I stepped over the line myself.”

“You didn’t. It needed saying. Lord only knows what gave you the courage to ask me what happened to me after the way I unloosed on you, but I’m glad you did.”

“What are you talking about, Karl? I never asked you that.”

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This article has been read 401 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marina Rojas04/26/12
Ahhh...good story, I liked the little sneaky twist at the end!

Well written, enjoyable. Gave me an opportunity to think about the things that I mull over in my life without taking God into consideration first.

Liked this!
C D Swanson 04/27/12
Wow - this was a well written and powerful story. I loved how Karl heard "God's voice" asking what happened to Him. It gave me chills. God is always waiting for one of His children to come back home. Lovely job.

This was really good. Thank you so much.

God Bless~
C D Swanson 04/27/12
Wow - this was a well written and powerful story. I loved how Karl heard "God's voice" asking what happened to Him. It gave me chills. God is always waiting for one of His children to come back home. Lovely job.

This was really good. Thank you so much.

God Bless~
Laura Manley04/29/12
I love your little twist at the end of this fine piece of writing. Makes for a perfect ending of this story. When it is said "God works in mysterious ways, your story would be a source to reckon with/
Graham Insley04/29/12
This is powerful and a clear message of how God can be speaking to us/through us/for us/about us all at the same time.

The story grabbed me right from the start and your little clue about the whispered comment was a master stroke; only saw it after I reached the end.

bless ya and well done.
Helen Curtis04/30/12
A lovely story with a twist I didn't see coming. This would be a great novel, padding out the past of dear, hurting Karl and the way Jim and his wife are able to move into his world and help him.

Great writing, very true to life. Well done.
annie keys04/30/12
Well done! I enjoyed reading this piece.
Margaret Kearley 04/30/12
Excellent. A brilliant story, right on topic. Really great to read. Thankyou
Allen Povenmire 04/30/12
I thoroughly enjoyed the article and loved the twist at the end. One line that tripped me up though was "Karl had been a Christian himself once himself." It has theological implications about salvation that maybe you could have avoided through rewording.
Allen Povenmire 04/30/12
The line was "Karl had been a Christian himself once." Eye/finger coordination not working well this morning!
Hiram Claudio04/30/12
A great piece with a wonderfully solid message. I'm glad Jim was persistent with providing Karl with opportunities to respond ... in any way possible - that took courage. The twist at the end was great too. Very well done!
lynn gipson 05/01/12
I really liked this. At this point, all I can write are naratives. I can't write conversations yet. Great stuff!
Ada Nett05/01/12
So well-written I heard "the whisper in the wind." Great job!
Amanda Brogan05/01/12
Whoa-ho-ho! Good ending! If that little bit doesn't get Karl's attention, nothing will!

Love the message to move on from the past. So often people let one tragic event fester and embitter them to the rest of life. But what we need to do is let go and look to God for what the rest of our life holds.

Good story!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/02/12
I love this story! The characters felt so real. I almost jumped a bit in my chair when he let Jim have it!

The only red ink I see is ?!? isn't necessary to put the added punctuation in because you did such a stellar job with your words that I totally got the emotion behind the words without the extra punctuation. This is little too and could be I've heard/said it wrong all these years but I thought it was unleashed not unloosed. :)

The ending was superb! I didn't see it coming at all. I love how you added the whisper of the wind into the mix. It made it even more perfect (I guess more perfect isn't possible but if it were, you did!) You brought the topic in and showed the reader what can happen when we refuse to let go of our hurt and anger.
Leola Ogle 05/02/12
A great story. I'm so glad that it ended with Karl being receptive to Jim. Good job! God bless!