Pastor Brian was in his office proofreading his sermon when a parishioner walked into his office. "Hey Paul, how was your trip to Florida?"
Paul just looked off in the distance for a second, sat down, and buried his head in his hands.
Pastor's smile changed to a frown. "What's wrong, Paul?"
"I flew down there to check out the land that I bought. Itís a swamp."
"What!" Pastor's jaw dropped and his eyes popped open.
Paul looked down at the floor. "I bought swamp land."
Pastor Brian knocked over his coffee cup. "How could that be?"
"I discovered a reputable real estate agent online. When I saw the picture I knew it would be the perfect place to build my winter home."
"Paul, do you mean to tell me that you didn't look at the land in person before you purchased it?"
Paul inhaled slowly then blew air out of his mouth. "Yeah, itís a piece of property, it's not like there was a house built on it. I thought it would be safe."
Pastor widened his eyes. "Can you get your money back?"
"Thatís the thing; I signed a contract that had a lot of legal mumbo jumbo. If mediation was necessary it would be at my expense. I canĎt afford that."
"Paul, whatís done is done. You canít change the past, but you can change the future. People get swindled all of the time."
Paul eyes started to tear up as he felt blood rushing to his face. "Pastor Brian, I can't forgive myself. I wasn't a very good steward of the Lord's money."
"Donít be so hard on yourself. The Lord knows that youíre going to make a mistake from time to time. Jesus forgave you at the cross."
Paul wiped his eyes with a hanky. "I donít know."
Brian jotted down a number on a post-it. "Contact Florida's Attorney General, maybe he can look into it. The worst that could happen is he could say no."
Paul started to cry even more. "I lost fifty thousand dollars. I just can't forgive myself. How could I be so stupid? God will not forgive me for this. He'll take everything away from me and as a result, IĎll be living on the streets."
Pastor patted his hand. "You need to forgive yourself, people make mistakes."
"I don't know, Pastor," Paul slouched in his chair.
"The Attorney General may be able to do something. At least, you might be able to alert people to this scam."
Paul stood up, " Thank you Brian, Iíll pray about it."
Pastor gave him a side hug as both men walked to the door. "Good, the Lord will see you thorough this."
The following Sunday Paul shook Pastorís hand after the service. "Pastor Brian, Iím doing better than I was a few weeks ago. I talked to the Florida Attorney General and he said that he would help me. I learned a valuable lesson that I need to let go of the past."
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