The Cost of Prejudice.
Just before Easter, I watched a movie about the passion and death of Jesus. I was fixated on the attitudes of the crowd which the script writers presented. I couldn’t help but wonder, why the animosity toward this man who had a reputation for being kind and loving and how might this be demonstrated even today?
A fews years back I was involved in a business deal with an old acquaintance. I involved myself was because he and his wife were having financial difficulties that were running over into their marriage and causing a great deal havoc. At the onset, his wife told me privately that she was very thankful for what I was proposing, but she thought I should to know that she was having problems getting a straight story from her husband about virtually everything having to do with their business and anything else for that matter. And furthermore that if they didn’t get things straightened out she was going to seek a divorce. Considering that they had several children at home, this really concerned me. I had known them for a long time and I was concerned for their welfare. Before I got into this deal, I point blank asked the guy to whom he all owed money. He gave me a handful of people who were pressing him for payment. It seemed like not to big of an amount so I lent him the money to pay them. In addition he had not made a payment on their home in over a year and subsequently it was in foreclosure. I paid off the mortgage and took ownership of the house. They agreed to pay a small amount of rent and continue living there in order not to disrupt their family life until hopefully their financial situation would improve enough which might allow them to acquire another mortgage and purchase it back from me. Since the house mortgage was in foreclosure they did not have the option to any recourse other than to move or be evicted. I simply did not want that to happen.
We then entered into a small business partnership in which all the profits would be used to get them back or their feet. It was about this time I started realizing the truth I had ignored. (After all, his wife had warned me) Seemingly the only time this guy didn’t lie, was when he had his mouth closed. He was dishonest about virtually everything. When the rent came due, he didn’t pay it. He left me holding the bag on the one charge account I cosigned up for him so he could continue his small business. Part of the money I lent him was to get the IRS off his back. He used that for what he called float money, what ever that is. I never found out. So what to do? Without being able to get honest answers, there simply was no way to continue the arrangement. I began proceeding to extract myself from the situation.
Here is where the interesting stuff starts. His wife who threatened divorce changed her attitude toward me. I only did what she threatened to do for the same reason. I evicted them from the house because they wouldn’t move out voluntarily. A move that was inevitable. The mortgage company was in the process of doing the same for the same reason. They, just like me expected payment and honest answers, which as it was proven, did not exist. I had always been suspicious that this woman had a tendency toward jealously and prejudice. I was not sure of it until then. When faced with the consequences of inept personal and financial choices, instead of stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility, she aligned herself with her husband and fell back on their petty jealousies and prejudices. In their estimation I went from being a benevolent wonderful guy to a “miserly; rich SOB who wanted nothing more than to control their l lives.” All logic and sound thinking were tossed overboard; and at a horrible cost. All that was required is honesty; to me and to themselves. Had they not succumbed to their base instincts, we could have become a powerhouse. Instead they lost everything and I lost a lot too.
However I gained a powerful lesson: I have found that almost invariably people will rely on their jealousies and prejudices when making decisions instead searching and finding the truth. I believe this to be a foundational difference between those who have and those who have not; the difference between functional and dysfunctional families; between an intimate walk with God and one something less; and furthermore it seems to be a huge factor in the difference between the financially wealthy and those who are not. And no doubt it was the difference between those who cried out “Crucify him. Crucify him” and those who wept in response to his love. It seems to me little has changed! Later