A Smooth, Benevolent Project --Too Good To Be True
It was the perfect social project to unite all the churches in our town. The 2010 Haitian earthquake had left thousands homeless, and the idea was to build all the pieces for modular homes, especially designed for Haiti, put them in crates, and ship them to Haiti for final assembly. We saw pictures of the new development and heard testimonies of why this exact design was perfect to fit the culture. As pastors, all we needed to do was generate the funds, organize our people, and on one Saturday we could gather our entire town on a big parking lot and build several hundred houses.
One of my fellow pastors, burdened to connect the Gospel message with concrete, social action joined the organization to use his skills as an engineer and a former business executive to move this housing development from only an idea to reality. There was only one catch. The entire project was a scam, and the supposedly “godly” entrepreneur who was directing the project was a con man.
I was an experienced pastor, but I was as naïve as the teen in Proverbs who needed his father to teach him about the danger of con men and their persuasive yet twisted words.
“To deliver you from the path of evil, from the man who speaks twisted words, who has abandoned straight paths to walk in ways of darkness. To deliver from the con man who actually enjoys doing evil, painful things, who dances with joy as he carries out evil’s perverted schemes. His ways are crooked, and use all the behind the back tricks.” - Proverbs 2:12-15
My former associate, who innocently went to work to actualize the Haitian homes project, blew the whistle as soon as he discovered that his boss was one of the most skilled con artists you could ever meet. This evil man is now in prison for his fraudulent fund raising activities, and my friend is going strong for Jesus as a powerful light back in the business world.
LORD, I was naïve. A simple check into this con man’s background on the Internet would have thrown up some warning flags, but the project looked so beneficial, and I am too trusting. I still need the warnings the wise father in Proverbs gives his son against violent thieves and con men.
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