Without a doubt, I knew that I had it made. My despicable crafts had been honed from an early age. Multiple records in Juvenile Detention were like trophies showing many years of criminal excellence. Perfected scams were treasured memories highlighting facets of my deceptive skills. At that time greedy needs overpowered my good judgment. Figuring the lifespan of a con artist was early twenties, I decided to play everyone for everything they were worth.
Yet, it’s amazing how such things backfire in your face. My latest scheme, a well put together pyramid con, was supposed to net me thousands. Its classical sting appearance convinced me it could be peddled to anybody. Or at least the frame up seemed fool proof at the time.
Dressing businesslike, I went door to door throughout neighborhoods in Brightington, New Hampshire. Fool after fool bought into the bologna I fed them. My pockets were almost too small to carry all of their checks and cash.
Up the next street was an older looking house. It seemed below my standards for places to perpetrate hoodwinks, but I decided to stop there anyway. Besides, that old place seemed to draw me closer and closer with strange sensations which I had never experienced before. What did I have to lose, I pondered, as up the old rickety stairs I sauntered.
As I knocked, a man opened the door and welcomed me inside. Trusting fool, I though, as I strut into his house. He didn’t give my demeanor a glance, but instead offered me a seat. Too friendly, I mulled over in my mind, but I sat down anyway. It was growing late, the sun already setting, so a little off time was due me, I figured.
He sat, across from me, a knowing smile on his face, like he was actually happy about something. The natural friendliness haunted me so I felt compelled to speak. Out popped stupid things I had never said in my life. I asked the old guy why he opened his door to a complete stranger without a thought to his safety. His reply stunned me as I listened to his words.
“Well, young man,” the old man began. “I don’t get out much now.” “But, people often come to me.” “Those are blessings I get from my Lord.” “Many years ago I was crafty, defrauding others, like you.” “Now I am a saved man.” “I reckon you need God too.”
“God!” I sputtered. “You old coot; I knew you had an angle.” “No angle except one,” he whispered. “What’s that old man?” I retorted. “Want it all, do you?” he grinned. “I already have it all so what’s the big deal you are peddlin’? I snapped. “You have nothin’, boy, nothing but trouble!” He suddenly exclaimed.
His penetrating words had pierced my soul. He was right and I knew it. Pockets full of money and tricking other humans weren’t fulfilling anymore. He challenged me at my own game and won. I, for reasons unknown to me, burst into tears.
Getting up from his old chair, he came to me, leaned down, and put his hand on my quivering shoulder. “Give it all up to Jesus and you will be changed,” he spoke gently. It was like a lightening bolt went through me. That exact moment I knew I needed to change. Blubbering how sorry I was for scamming innocent people, he just listened. Then he spoke, “Don’t tell me that, son,” “Offer your sins to Jesus and take Him into your heart. He will make you born again and forgive you; just ask Him.”
That evening, kneeling, I begged Jesus to enter my heart. I put my hypocrisies and hurts at the foot of Christ’s cross as I beseeched Him for forgiveness. Cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, I was transformed and saved.
You may wonder if it was another of my shell games to con the old guy, but I’ll tell you this. Today and everyday, I live a new life. Restitution was made to all those people I fleeced. The old man actually left his house and went with me to each of them to make things right. Those folks were willing to give me a second chance when they saw me with their retired preacher. Now I live with Pastor Glenwither and when I pray each night, I thank God that he opened his home, showed me his faith, and lead me to Jesus.
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