Was I Wrong?

15 11 2015

It was back in the 80s that after watching some very convincing infomercials on how rich I could get that I invested in real Rock _nestate, specifically rental properties. Now I don’t want to say those TV ads lied, I figure some made their fortune this way. But for this man it didn’t turn out very well, perhaps my approach was all wrong; here’s an example.

We had just purchased a 6 unit apartment complex and were excited to get on the road to riches, well at least enough to pay college tuition for the kids. A young couple with a young child stopped by one day when I was working outside. They had just moved to the community thinking they had a place to stay with relatives only to find that not to be the case plus penniless because it took all the money they had to get there. “We were able to get food vouchers from the city trustee for the grocery store, and he told us to come see you and he’d give me a rent one if I would let them live in one of the units. As soon as I get work I’ll pay you myself,” the husband explained. “This was awesome!” I thought. God is giving me a chance to help to someone with the apartments. I rented them a partially furnished one bedroom that I had when I realized they didn’t own much more than the clothes on their back. When I got home, I told Cathy all about it and we also called some friends informing them of this couple’s plight. By the next day we had gathered clothes and toys for the little one, dishes, towels, linens and many other staples of home life to take to these kids. They were so overwhelmed by the gifts and generosity the young mother cried and the dad nearly wore my hand out from shaking it. We spent some good time talking about overcoming hard times and how the Lord can be a great help in achieving that goal. When I left that afternoon I felt more blessed than they for God allowing me and others to get these two on their feet and pointed in the right direction; at least that’s what I thought.

A month passed and I would drop in to see how the young folks were doing. The husband would tell me about how he couldn’t find a job but was trying. Okay, that was good enough for me; I spoke to the city trustee and he gave me another voucher for rent. Another month went by and still no change. This time I was being told he had one job but since they didn’t have a car was late one day and they fired him. Then he got another one only to be accused of a bad attitude and let go. “No one wants to give us a break like you have,” he told me and once again how thankful they were for all I had done. Okay.

The next time I went to see the trustee he told me he wouldn’t give anymore vouchers. “They’re not even trying and they’re causing trouble around here; got caught stealing in one store and told they could never enter again. Then they got loud and picked a fight at the pizza place. Sorry I can’t do anything more.” I was upset with what he told mostly about the pizza shop; for someone who was flat broke, where were they getting money for pizza and beer? When I asked about this the man said he was able to turn in aluminum cans he found to get them a few bucks, then showed a pile he had out back of the apartment along with a lot of other junk. I stayed calm as I told him he had to get all that stuff out of there, and I would give them one month free rent but they would have to start paying then. Once again thank you, thank you, thank you; and we are so blessed to have you in our lives. I guess so but I sure wasn’t feeling that way about them anymore.

One month passed and no money, two and no money. I would go by and couldn’t catch them there and the apartment was looking terrible from the way they lived. On the third month I felt I had no choice and sent them a registered letter notifying then that they had to leave. Finally receiving a phone call from the husband he apologized they missed me and promised just one more month and they would make everything right with me.  “Friend I’m sorry but I can no further,” I told him “You’re going to have to move.”  All those words of appreciation and gratitude for all I had done were now replaced with every curse word and name this guy could think to call me. Then of course the dagger he flung before hanging up was; “and you call yourself a Christian!” Gotta love it.

When I entered the apartment after they moved the odor nearly turned my stomach inside out. In every room he had placed foul material that reeked beyond description. Then there were broken windows, ruined furniture and garbage thrown everywhere. The cost to restore the unit ran into the thousands with much of the cost coming out of my pocket. I was devastated and sick physically, emotionally and even spiritually. “God why did this happen?!!” “Didn’t we show them the love you wanted us to, what went wrong?” The answer would come several years later.

I think I’ve used the quote by Chuck Swindoll before, but it’s worth revisiting. “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you … we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

When I chose to follow the ways of Christ, I also made a commitment that no matter what came, be it good or bad, still I would follow Him. How someone else reacts to that, or should I say uses that for the wrong reasons, I have no control over. The only person I can control is the one staring at me in mirror.

Knowing a truth like that, this “Traveler of the Rock Road” makes no apologies nor has any ill feeling when he is called on to do good in the name of the Lord and is met with evil of any kind.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Well as you might guess I didn’t stay in the apartment business long (but that’s another story) and yes, I’m still a softie for a sad luck story. So if I ever do get back into the rental property business, you now know someone who will weep tears with you if you are downtrodden. And will do all he can to help you out of that oppressed state; just so long as you can supply three references and pass a credit check!

See ya next time.


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