From loving violence to loving people
Jimmy was a strong, rough and ready man in the USA. He was a troublemaker, a very violent man. Although he got married very young, at 17, his wife regretted her marriage because Jimmy was never around and was always in trouble. He habitually was involved in violent clashes in bars and he came to a point where he said he “Came to enjoy it.” He was recruited by a large gang of bikers, which resulted in more opportunities for beating up other men.
Jimmy recalls “I would make grown men blush by the things I would say and do.” He was intimidating to everyone he met.
His wife and daughter began to study the Bible, with help from others who had followed it's wisdom and benefited from it. Jimmy's wife tried to share what she was learning, in the hope that it would help him but, although he agreed that the Bible's message was good, he felt that it was not for him. But as time went on, and he saw how happy his wife and daughter became following the Bible's wisdom, he began to think about life and his own behaviour. He became disiillusioned with his lifestyle and he said “I wanted to be a better person.” He began to study the Bible. A man who helped him study described Jimmy as “Flat out scary, a very mean and violent man.” Although Jimmy wanted to follow what the Bible was telling him, he felt that “I could never break free of the person that I was.”
But Jimmy was powerfully affected by the Bible's message of peace and it's promise that people can change - can overcome anything, with God's help. He learned that the Bible urges people to “Put on the new personality” - that of unfailing love. Jesus commands people to “Love your enemy.” Those words cut Jimmy's heart. However, as he began to change, he was afraid of how people would treat him. All his life he had been used to being feared and respected. Jimmy was “So used to being the tough guy” that he couldn't imagine people accepting him or respecting him as anything else.
Jimmy changed his life completely. He bacame a better husband, father, friend and neighbour. He renounced violence and made it his aim in life to share the Bible's life-changing message with as many people as he could.
When those he had formerly known met him again, they were astonished at how he had changed, They couldn't believe that this was the same angry, violent man they had always known. Jimmy has helped many others to give up violence and drunkeness. His example has inspired them to see the Bible's wisdom at work in their own lives.
Jimmy says “I love life now, I have true friends.”
When he reflects on his former life, Jimmy realises that “God saw something in me and he brought it to light.” He now knows “I can be a good person, I can be loved by God... and that is priceless.”