This is a personal testimony from Rodney Johnson's life before Christ. He is a brother, a father of three beautiful children, an uncle, a great friend to those he loves and my fiance. He will share his personal life experience to give other young men motivation to choose God's path instead of gang life.
I grew up on the Westside of Phoenix, one of the most gang-infested cities in Arizona. My older brother's at the age of twenty-eight and twenty got into the gangs and the drugs, the money, violence, women, and the street life attracted me, and that was something I decided to pursue myself. I was only in the fourth grade when I became a gang member.
My mother was a workaholic, she was the breadwinner in the family. While my father was an alcoholic. The gang, I joined soon became my new family. They gave me the attention, I was looking for at this young age that I didn’t receive at home. I believe that my gang provided security for me. They provided an identity which instilled in me that my gang was worth living for and even worth dying for.
But, gang life caused years of my life to be stolen away from me. I was charged in a drive-by shooting and sentenced to three years. In prison, I no longer had my family and friends and soon became a product my environment for two in half years. Thankfully, I released early due to good behavior.
My experience is jail was terrible, the food was disgusting, we had to follow strict rules, we were told when to eat when to use the restroom, when to shower and when to talk. I remember laying in my jail bed with my feet dangling over the rail. My roommate came into the cell upset. He grabbed me by my feet and then tried to stab me with a pencil right the eye. We started tussling then I picked up the sharpest object I could find and stabbed him right in the chest. The prison guards eventually broke the fight up. This is when I realized my life needed to change. My identity was stripped away from me. I no longer felt like a man as I was allowing my bad choices to determine my path in life.
- How to protect myself (with the use of my fist or guns).
- Street knowledge (having a lot of common sense, being aware of my surroundings, understanding the in and out's of my urban neighborhood).
- The importance if Trust & Loyalty (discerning earlier on who in my life could be considered reliable or faithful as friends).
- The law (a strong understanding of how to maneuver the law ).
The Bible says in Romans 3:23-24:
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
We as men need to understand that EVERYONE sins and falls short of God's glory. Yet, if we accept him in our life. He will freely take away our sins. Nothing, we have done in our past will stand in the way of God love for us. Yes, after reading my story. EVERYONE is now aware of all the bad things I have done in my life. But, if you would just call out to God and ask him to save you, He will.
Lord, please help me become the true definition of a man. A man who can truly humble himself before you, a man that can deny himself daily and take up the cross and follow Jesus Christ.