Richard - Elkton, Tennessee
Entered on May 5, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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The wisest decision I’ve made was to repent. I learned the importance of repentance from pure experience after living a life of death and destruction. My mother always told me as a kid that I wasn’t bad- just hard- headed. My foolish ambitions as a youth in the pursuit of wealth caused my family and I several years of suffering. It damaged my relationships, destroyed my core values, and caused me to make poor decisions.

My gangster mentality overrode every good and noble principle my character was founded on. My mother raised me to be a family man with integrity. She taught me to love, protect, and help my family at all times. But when I entered into the underworld lifestyle of a drug dealer the Christian values I had been taught became tainted. Every day in the drug business I put myself, my mom, and my two younger sisters in danger. Any of us could’ve been kidnapped, held hostage, or murdered. Who knows? There are no rules in “the game,” but I took my chances anyway.

I remember my mom sitting me down on a number of occasions explaining to me why her hair was turning grey, and why her heart fluttered when the phone rang when I wasn’t at home. She said it was because the ringing in the chill of the night caused her to wonder who was on the other end of line. Was it me calling her to tell her I’m in jail, or the Pulaski Police Department calling to tell her that her son has been murdered? I felt horrible as I looked into my mothers’ teary eyes as she told me that she just wants me to call and let her know that I’m okay because she can’t sleep at night until she knows that all her children are safe. I would always say “Okay, ma,” but I never did. I heard that speech hundreds of times, and that’s exactly what it was to me – a speech.

Until the night my mothers’ biggest fear became a reality; it was early March, 2006 I was in Ellenville, New York, a small quiet village with a rural setting. That evening I was in my upstairs apartment dozing off to sleep when an old friend that I’d recently had some harsh words with came rushing through my open front door seeking revenge. In my pajamas, I immediately jumped up and entered attack mode. We wrestled for a bit until she broke loose from my grip. Then we darted toward the kitchen where she found the biggest butchers knife in the set. Weaponless, my hands flew up signaling my surrender as I slowly backed away, but in her rage she began violently slicing and stabbing.

Somehow, she dropped the knife and fled toward the stairway as I picked it up and caught her at the bottom. I slammed her against the wall while putting the same knife she had just stabbed me with to her throat. At the same time her four year-old son walked out their apartment door franticly saying: “mommy.” When I saw his facial expression of fear and confusion; I couldn’t do it. An eye for an eye no longer seemed right to me; so I pushed her away and slowly walked back up the stairs. I patched myself up as well as I could and before long the Ulster County police was in my face asking questions. I was taken to the hospital where I had a lot of time to think. After being stabbed five times I could only hold my bloody wounds as my mothers’ voice echoed in my mind. “Boy, you’re going to either end up dead or in jail.”

I don’t know which was worse the pain or the fear. I still remember the cold stare that chilled my soul as the ten-inch stainless steel butchers knife pierced my abdomen. I thought to myself I’m not ready to die, so with sincere desperation I cried aloud: “God, let me live and I’ll live for you. Whatever you want me to do I’ll do it?”

Just as clear as the chirping birds in the morning I heard my Lord say “repent.”

Since that day, I have been a changed man. I’m a minister now preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Repenting of my sinful lifestyle is the wisest decision I’ve ever made. The gangster mentality no longer governs my life. The way I was trained as a youth now reigns.