Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

The Unpayable Debt (1)

A Character story about forgiveness.

"Hi, Mom, I'm home," called Carl as he rode a shiny new bike up to the house. His mother glanced out the door.
"Carl! Where did you get that beautiful bike?" she asked with surprise.
"It's Mr. Maloney's. He said I could ride it today if I take good care of it. Isn't it neat? It must cost a fortune! Wait 'til Jimmy sees this. He's always bragging about his bike. But it ain't nothin' compared to this one."
"Well, just be careful with it, Carl. You surely couldn't afford to replace it."
"Don't worry, Mom. I will."
"Oh, Carl, I have to run to the store. Would you like to ride along?"
"Thanks, but no thanks. I want to ride over to Jimmy's and show off Mr. Maloney's bike. I bet he'll turn green with envy."
"Would you let Janice go with you on your bike? She's been begging me to let her play with Pam."
"Ah, I suppose. You caught me in a rare generous mood."
"Oh Boy!" Carl's little sister squealed, bounding out of the house and racing for the garage.
"Good," Carl's mother replied. "I'll be home shortly." She disappeared into the house to get her purse and coat. Soon Janice came riding around the house on Carl's bike.
"Look, I can go no hands, just like you," she bragged.
"Not on my bike you don't. If you don't take extra good care of it, Janice, you'll never ride it again. Wait here. I'll be right back. I'm going to call just to make sure Jimmy will be home."
While Carl dashed into the house, his sister raced up and down the sidewalk, her long blond curls streaming behind her.
"Hello, Jimmy? This is Carl. Are you going to be home?.. . Great. I wanna come over. Have I got something-" But just then his conversation was interrupted by a loud bang and a crunching sound. Carl slammed down the phone without a word and raced outside to see what had happened. His first horrifying sight was of Mr. Maloney's bike under the back wheel of the car. His mother was white and he could see her legs shaking.
"Oh, no!" Carl cried. "Now what am I gunna say to Mr. Maloney?"
"I've been trying to get you to put things where they belong," replied his mother, calming herself. "This ought to make a lesson you will long remember. I'm just glad it's only a bike. I was afraid I had hit Janice."
As Carl pulled the bike from under the car he thought, Only a bike she says. I'll bet it would cost a lot less to fix Janice than this bike. He checked the bike over carefully. "At least the frame isn't bent," he said, sounding relieved, "but this wheel and brake stuff is pretty well ruined. I wonder what that'll cost. I'm sure it will be a lot more than I have."
"Well, there's no point in putting it off. You better to take it back to Mr. Maloney and explain what happened, and tell him you'll pay for the damages the best you can."
Carl sighed. "Yah, I guess you're right."
A hour later Carl arrived home for supper wearing a jubilant smile. "Well, how did it go?" his mother asked.
"You can't believe what Mr. Maloney said. He said the bike was very expensive and he didn't think I could pay. Then he said since I admitted it and didn't try to cover anything up, he would forgive me the whole thing."
"My, that's very generous. Did you thank him?"
"Of course I did. Man do I feel relieved!" Carl moseyed into the living room where Janice was on the floor playing with her doll.
"Oh, there you are. Where have you been riding my bike anyway?" Carl asked gruffly, his smile now gone.
"I don't know. Just around I guess," she replied without looking up.
"Don't try to play dumb with me. It just so happens that you rode over a nail and now the back tire is flat. And that's the hardest one to fix, too."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to."
"Yeah, well sorry doesn't put air in the tire," Carl snapped. "You're gunna come up with the money to pay for another tire anyway."
"But I don't have any money," she answered, beginning to cry.
"And don't give me any of that crying routine. You think you can get your own way by crying but it won't work on me. I'll expect that four dollars by the end of the week, or else."
Carl walked down the hall to his room, leaving his sister in tears. Just then the phone rang. "Honey, will you get that. My hands are covered with flour."
"O.K. Mommy," Janice answered, wiping her face. "Hello?"
A few minutes later, Janice knocked on Carl's door. "Phone for you."
"Who is it?" Carl asked through the door.
"Mr. Maloney," Janice answered. "He wants to speak to you right away he said."
When Carl hung up, his long face told his mother something was wrong. "I can't believe it," he began. "What a bummer! Mr. Maloney said he changed his mind. He decided to charge me the full price to fix his bike. When I told him I couldn't afford it, he said I could work for him until I paid for it."
"I wonder what changed his mind," Carl's mother mused.
"He said when he asked Janice why she was crying, she told him it was because I was making her pay for the flat tire on my bike, and that made him change his mind. The little blabber-mouth."
(to be continued)
"But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:14-15 (How is this story like the one Jesus told in Matthew 18:21-35?)