Steve was a successful businessman with a large property portfolio and a number of other businesses all running very nicely. That is, until a serious problem with one of the businesses threatened to bankrupt him. That’s when Steve contemplated committing murder!
A Shrewd Move
Although he had been through a tragic divorce, Steve was now happily married for the second time and relations with his first wife were good enough for them to meet as families and see all of the children. Steve had just one problem. He was facing a huge tax bill that he hadn’t bargained for. He talked it over with his mother and step father and they worked out a plan. Steve agreed to sign over the property portfolio to them so that he could just pay the tax owed on his other businesses. In return, they would get a long-term share of the profits from property rentals. When all was sorted out, they would give back the ownership of all the property to him. This way everything would be legal and Steve would eventually get everything back. All seemed to go smoothly and the tax man was satisfied.
All was going smoothly that is until Steve’s mother and step father changed their minds and refused to give him back his property, deciding to keep all of the income from it. He relied on the rental income from the properties to help finance some of the other business ventures that were not yet fully off the ground. Business can be quite a delicate balance. Not only was Steve’s mother stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds of property from him, she and her husband were now leaving him in a very precarious position. Suddenly he was faced with very serious financial hardship. Things gradually went from bad to worse. Steve was facing bankruptcy. He became increasingly bitter and resentful towards his mother and step father.
Although his businesses were legitimate, Steve had come across a fair few gangsters in his time. He was a martial arts expert in his early twenties and although he was not tempted into crime himself, he had a number of acquaintances who were heavily involved in shady dealings. One thing he discovered was how easily people could get business rivals killed in such a way that it looked like an accident or a tragic sudden illness. His feelings against his mother and step father eventually became so strong that he decided to have them killed by a professional hit man. He was amazed at how easy it was to set up. “People will do anything for money”, he says, “Including murder.” All was set. Steve agreed to pay a large sum and the ‘hit’ would be done in such a way that it would look like a tragic accident. He was dealing with professionals and knew that they would do a good job.
The deed was planned and the time and date set. Steve couldn’t wait to get his revenge. But there was a nagging hinderance. Steve had a conscience, and something his wife was doing was stirring it up. Margaret had become friends with a Christian couple. Even worse, the couple were a church pastor and his wife! Margaret had started attending the church on Sundays and was now also going to a mid-week meeting as well. As Margaret became more involved with the church, Steve moved closer to the day he would be avenged. However, with just two days to go, Margaret came home very excited and very insistent. She told him;
“Steve, I’ve become a Christian tonight. You have to call it off! You have to come and talk to the pastor with me.”
The Turning Point
Steve went with Margaret and listened to what the pastor and his wife had to say. He realised that God was speaking to him through these people and that he must forgive his mother and step father. Steve prayed and gave his life to Christ that evening. He immediately called off the ‘hit’, forgave his parents, and chose to leave the problem of the property and money behind. He chose instead to trust God for his future. Slowly things began to turn around and before long the family were out of serious debt and running a successful business. Things were not initially so good for his mother and step father. Less experienced than Steve at business, they made some bad decisions and lost all that they had gained. The stress probably helped lead to the early death of Steve’s step father, but his mother came to her senses and eventually she too became a Christian.
Steve believes totally that there is nothing too difficult for God to sort out. What started as a disaster ended with family reconciliation and forgiveness all round. Bankruptcy was turned into prosperity and many lives were saved, all because Steve listened to his wife and chose to follow Jesus!
Story by Ralph Burden
Photo: Steve & Margaret Bailey