SOURCE: "The Power of a Changed Life." Decision Magazine Vol 45, No 1, January 2004. pg 17-9
KEYWORDS: inner-city, violence, grace, wisdom
Q: Your childhood was spent in a seriously deprived and difficult inner-city environment, yet you wound up attending Yale University. That’s quite an accomplishment.
A: I grew up in both Detroit and Boston. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant situation. There was never money for anything. There were rats and roaches; sirens and gangs--particularly in Boston, when we lived right in the middle of the tenements. Seeing people lying on the ground or dying was not uncommon. Two of my cousins were killed. I didn’t anticipate that I would live beyond the age of 25.
When I was 14, I tried to stab another youngster. My knife blade struck his belt buckle and broke. I locked myself in the bathroom and thought about that. That day I started reading the Book of Proverbs, and I prayed a lot. The Lord took my anger away from me, and I also began to gather insight into who God is and into the incredible power one could have from Him. I had accepted Christ when I was eight years old at a church service, but at that point I realized that by developing the potential that God had given me, I could live in any kind of environment and do anything. The Lord had put that within me, as He puts it within each of us.