ROBERT | “I don’t have anything but bad”

“I’m sitting there in prison and I just close my eyes I start praying. But I’m not praying to God. I’m saying, ‘satan, if you will have my souI, just just give me everything that I want in this life.’

‘Give me money. Give me power, control over every situation I want. You can have my soul. I’m ready to die. I’m ready to do whatever it takes.’

I grew up in a broken family. I have one brother and we grew up mostly with our grandmother. My mom’s been a heroin addict the whole time, coming in and out of prison. My cousins — everybody — is just hooked on heroin.

All we seen is heroin, all our lives growing up. So me and my brother got into drinking alcohol, started selling drugs, you know, to support the using of drugs.

Got involved with a gang about the age of 14 or 15 and within the next couple years we just went really fast. Started robbing drugs from connections and other people and, you know, we’re gang banging. Rolling with the gang, doing the things that we do. So there’s a lot of enemies involved.

Somebody paged my brother who had to go to the corner pay phone to make the call. And that was the last time I seen him. The next day after school I remember going home and being like, ‘hey, where’s my brother, you know, have you seen him?’ And she’s like, ‘no, we haven’t.’

And then about an hour later the gang unit came and gave us the news that he was kidnapped, murdered and dumped in the trash can and everything was like a dream.

I was angry. Everything inside of me wanted revenge, you know? I started using a lot more drugs. I started being violent. No remorse for anything. There’s no sadness for anything other than that my brother was dead and I wouldn’t see him anymore.

I started making moves and I’m getting stronger, getting better at this. I’m getting more power and money and people are recognizing me for what I do and who am.

I spent a lot of time in jail, in and out. I must have 30 arrests since I was a kid. And every time I get out of prison, it’s like maybe two or three months and I’m going back in again.

And I’m kind of loving it, drinking and smoking and gambling like crazy. Just living it up in there. I have have a bunch of money so I could just do what I want in there.

But I’m reaching out to my family members and I’m not getting no communication with anybody. I remember feeling so alone in there. Just so much resentment built up inside of me; anger, bitterness for everything that happened.

I tell one of my homeboys, ‘I want you to write ‘f*** you’ on my eyelids so that when I die and my family buries me, it’s the last thing they’ll see when I’m laying in my casket.’

I’m sitting there on my bunk praying to satan. And I’m thinking, ‘man, when I get out I’m just going to go so hard. I’m just gonna rob so many connections and just do everything I can to get paid.’

I’m pretty sure I’m gonna end up dead.

And I ended up getting caught drinking one night and they sent me to solitary confinement.

So, I’m in the hole reading the book of Matthew and all the sudden I come across this scripture, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’… those who are spiritually bankrupt.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 — From the Sermon on the Mount | New International Version

Man, I could not understand or tell you for the life of me, but I just started bawling. I just started crying and I just knew right then and there; I knew what I’d never known before.

I knew that God’s judgement was on me; that I was poor, bankrupt had no hope at all.

I remember crying out to Jesus, saying, ‘I don’t want to be spiritually bankrupt. I don’t have anything to offer you. I don’t have anything but bad.’

And I’m crying, I’m bawling my eyes out. And I remember thinking, ‘I’m doing this. I’m going to do whatever it takes to follow You. I want You in my life.’

I got out of the hole and I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know how to follow Jesus. All I know is how to do what I’ve always done as a gang member.’

So I go over and I try to sit down again at the poker table and start gambling and it’s just not the same. I’m like, ‘what’s going on?’

I’ve seen a guy that, a week before I went to the hole, I had him beat-up. I walk up to this dude and I’m like, ‘I’m sorry I had that done to you.’

That’s remorse! Now I’m starting to have regrets; real remorse over the things that have happened in my life.

Well, there’s peace in my life and this repentance that I don’t even know where it’s coming from.”

— Find out the rest of Robert’s story in the compelling video below.

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If you know someone who is struggling and knows that they’re spiritually bankrupt, please share this video with them.

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Real human stories of people overcoming challenges and seizing a second chance with The Salvation Army.

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Kathy Lovin

Kathy Lovin

Salvation Army PR gal, Jesus lover, harpist, Janeiac, former White House staffer, sewist, cat lady, Seinfeld scholar, Presbyterian deacon & wildlife advocate

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