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I made a big mistake and I'm paying for it. The Bible asks the question, "Can two walk together, except they be in agreement?" (Amos 3:3). How true! God's Word is filled with good advice. If only we would heed it!

A little more than two years ago I was befriended by an attorney who wanted to involve me in a youth mentoring program.

Everything he said sounded so good, but he was not a Christian.

And even though God's Word says not to yoke up and enter into any kind of partnership with such a person, I tried to reason it out. I teamed up with this man. My motives were good. I wanted to do the right thing. But because I did not follow the Bible's instructions in this matter, I went off course. Aftert two years, I realized my error.

I was devastated when the attorney made off with hundreds of my belongings to include childhood and Bar Mitzvah photos, college transcripts, personal and legal documents, and much more.

It was in November of last year when I first discovered this man's true motives: to use me, and to cash in on our casual relationship. And I did indeed learn a powerful lesson by getting burned. I pray, too, that I will never make this mistake again.

Nevertheless, the Lord chastened me through my blunder.

He did not let me off the hook. For God is no respecter of persons. He had to discipline me, and there were times when I felt His displeasure because of my poor choices.

I have been going through a grieving process over this.

But I am also on the road to recovery. At one point, however, I was thinking of stepping down from my position as pastor of this prison congregation because I had become uncertain of my ability to truly hear from the Lord.

I do not want to dare stand behind a pulpit to preach to men if I cannot discern what God is speaking at any given moment. To many souls could get hurt by a minister who speaks from his flesh, and not from the Spirit.

God, though, strengthened and encouraged my heart through this experience. I am still grieving. I suffered personal loss. And I suppose my ego has also been hurt.

After all, it is painful and embarrassing to realize that one has been duped and deceived. That somehow a con man penetrated my defenses and played me for a fool. Yet the Lord has been a patient teacher. I'm wiser now, and much more cautious. I will forever be more discerning. I will continue to be forgiving, too.


David Berkowitz

January 20, 2005


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