In January of 2011 I was in Jacksonville, FL running the helicopter field trip for children. I had rented a condo from a big shot in Las Vegas for a short term rental. He was a big shot only because he lived large on other people’s money and continued to lie to me about it.
I had never been so angry in all my life to be duped out of $1100 of hard earned money that I pledged in good faith as a security deposit on the condo I had rented. Never had I come so close to exacting some serious revenge. I am a very docile person, but I can only be pushed so far. I was also a relatively new Christian and I knew I needed to evaluate this situation in light of what God said. In the meantime, I sent this letter to the landlord. Basically I told him he was the scum of the earth, that he needed Jesus and the only thing I had left to say to him was what Jesus would have to say about all of this.
Sound off Letter
A few excerpts from the “sound off” letter …”It has been a revolving door of process servers at the condo this week. The last one was attempting to serve you notice of foreclosure on Unit xxx at The Greens Way, the unit I am renting from you. As I am the tenant, I had to accept this notice and I am under obligation to inform you. In an earlier visit, another process server was trying to serve you notice of a lien filed against the condo for failure to pay the condominium association dues prior to and throughout the time we were paying you rent for the condo in good faith.”
“I remember on our move-in day at the condo, there was a notice on the door stating that the homeowner fees had not been paid for several months. When I told you about this you told me that the management company was hopelessly inefficient and that you had it set up to automatically pay these dues from your bank account.”
“I distinctly remember your attitude when giving you notice on October 16th when yet another process server came to the door and tried to serve notice to you for foreclosure proceedings for another property you owned but no longer paid your mortgage on. I asked you how long it would be before we received notice of foreclosure on the condo we had rented from you. In that same email I asked for the fully executed copy of the lease agreement which you had failed to provide to me. You called me and you were highly offended at my attitude toward all this. As you ranted and raved about how nice a guy you are, and how you went out of your way to accommodate my every request prior to me moving in (and prior to my payment to you of $3,847) you assured me there was no problem with the status of the condo.”
I have abided by the terms of our agreement in every way. If you will remember when I was first discussing renting from you, I provided you with significant financial information about me to allow you to feel secure that I would not be any sort of risk as a renter. What I should have been doing was allowing YOU to provide ME with some assurance that you would not be a risk to me as the landlord. I also explained to you that I am a Christian and I operate based on the biblical principles of truth, honesty, and integrity.”
“You on the other hand, as a landlord in the State of Florida have failed to provide me with notification of where my security deposit was being held, you have failed to provide to me a fully executed lease agreement even upon my second request, you have failed to answer my request for the return of my security deposit on the day of our exit or make any specific arrangements for inspection of the property on our last day. You have blatantly lied to me regarding paying your condominium association dues and paying the mortgage on the condo resulting in foreclosure. And let’s not forget that you threatened me (you “strongly suggested”) that I not have any contact with the management group of the condo association. Now I see why. If you still want to pretend that you are just a victim of a terrible economy, go ahead and continue to fool yourself. Public record information reveals loans of 2-3 times the property values were taken out on the foreclosed properties and while it is not my judgment or what I think of you that counts, it is God’s judgment and the bible says “the wicked person steals under the guise of borrowing.” See Psalm 37:21
“I too have suffered the wrath of this economy. I have had numerous schools contract with me for a certain $ amount and then the day of the event renege on the terms and I was left holding the bag. Again truthfulness, honesty, and integrity in business is severely lacking. That was why it was extremely important to me to secure the return of my security deposit upon my exit. You have failed to address this and even if you gave me your promise, you have proven that your word is not worth the paper it is written on.”
“I have consulted with all the attorneys who are suing you. I have learned that under the circumstances the likelihood of you returning my security deposit is nil and a lien on the property or a lawsuit in small claims court would simply be me throwing more gasoline on an open flame. I suppose you know this as well. One attorney did give me some interesting advice. He advised me to just stay put and allow you the pleasure and expense of evicting me. I guess since business is so tough, I could enjoy another few months by the beach “rent free.” This attorney also suggested that I inform the others, particularly the condo management company that you have a new renter coming and that renter could pay the rent directly to the condo management company or risk being kicked out as a result of you not following the RULES for renting. He also suggested I could change the locks and hold on to those precious gate clickers until my security deposit was refunded. We all know how hard it is to get into the complex at night without the gate openers. We also know that the condo management company will not provide a gate clicker to a renter unless the terms of a sublease are followed. I am considering all of this.”
The Bigger Picture
“In the meantime, I am looking at the bigger picture. It seems that you could use a higher standard on which to live. I looked for direction from God on how to handle this matter with you. I have enlisted a huge number of Christians to pray for you. I am part of a world-wide prayer group that circles around the globe. We connect through the internet and through prayer 24 hours per day. Actually if the truth were known, I introduced you to my Sunday School group when I first signed the lease and the entire group prayed for you. This was after one of them looked you up online as you encouraged me to do when I first met you. After they saw what you were about, we prayed even harder for you again!”
“On a human level, I am angry that you have deceived me and lied to me. I am financially running on fumes thanks to people who do not feel it is important to keep their word and uphold contracts. I have been honest with you every step of the way and I asked for my deposit to be returned on the day of our exit. You have chosen to ignore me and I could not believe anything you would promise me as your track record speaks for itself. What I have NOT done is lower my standards and taken revenge. I need to follow what God has outlined in the bible as the proper way to live and act. Leave the judgment and payback to a much higher, much more effective power.”
What God Says on the Matter
“I am going to share with you some excerpts from Psalm 37 and the theme is to trust in the Lord and wait patiently for him to act. This psalm vividly contrasts the wicked person with the righteous.”
“Do not fret because of evil men…, for like the grass, they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.” “Trust in the Lord and do good;…delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn and the JUSTICE of your cause like the noonday sun.”
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-it only leads to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”
“A little while, and the wicked will be no more, though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.”
“Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked. The days of the blameless are known to the Lord and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. But the wicked will perish. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land but those he curses will be cut off.”
“Most likely you have stopped reading at this point, but if you have not, please consider this. It is not too late for you. For all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. You can make a change today, ask for God’s forgiveness and then give your life over to God to run. God promises to forgive you and he gave his only son to pay for your sins. As you accept Jesus as your savior, the Holy Spirit comes in to you and will guide you. You will be promised everlasting life and you will escape the fires of Hell. Eternity is a VERY long time. You might also feel that life here on earth is a very long painful journey when you are not following God’s principles. If you would like help in doing any of this, I would be honored to help you, otherwise I have nothing else to say to you.”
Let God Handle It
I sent the letter and a few days later, I moved out of the condo with my car loaded to the gills and reached my little home in Lake Placid almost five hours later. I was exhausted and so disillusioned with all the people who find it so easy to take advantage of me. I went down to the little bar/restaurant around the corner from my place. It is a little shack on a lake. It was late, I had a bite of dinner and was closing the place down with a drink. My phone rang and I answered it without even thinking. It was the dirty rotten landlord.
I could barely understand him through his tears. I listened to his story of how he reached this dismal point in his life. Indeed he had spent my deposit money and would be unable to pay me back. He felt very ashamed and He offered me everything that was left in the condo as some compensation. I told him what was most important was redemption for his dirty rotten soul. And right there at 10 o’clock at night with the juke box playing in the honky tonk, by phone I took the landlord through the plan of salvation. He prayed and accepted Christ while I was in Florida and he was in Las Vegas.
I maintained some contact with him and even sent him an application study bible. I am guessing He is one that the parable says is one who gets all excited about the good news and then later falls away. But as proven by this story, God can change any heart. So I borrowed YIB Boney’s truck and made one more trip to Jacksonville. I rented a U-Haul trailer to go salvage what I could. When I lived in Jacksonville, I met a nice man, Aquarius Jefferson, who is a Christian who detailed my truck after the sprinklers spewed hard water and ruined the paint. He and a friend helped me move furniture, a washer and dryer and assorted items from the second story condo. There was a lot of stuff that not only blessed me, but blessed the guys who helped. Every last thing found a home that blessed others.
Vengeance is mine says the Lord. God answered my prayers because I think I was being obedient. I want to do whatever God has in store. I seek His advice on every move I make. I am blessed as a result.
Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan is a storyteller connecting people and the stories they tell.
Always be ready to close down a bar while sharing the gospel with a needy soul.