"There are two ways of exerting one's strength; one is pushing down, the other is pulling up." Booker T. Washington
I had a friend who was labeled violent. He was. He constantly beat people up....smashed things....terrorized everyone. His father had beat and sexually abused him. His uncles did too. When he turned 14 he wanted the power they had....he didn't want to be the victim anyomore. He wanted to be in control....like them.
He showed up at school one day and attacked a kid.... turned over desks and was labeled violent. Everyone was afraid of him....the kids...the teachers....even the authorities. For the next few years he was in and out of treatment centres.....in and out of psych hospitals....heavily medicated. He couldn't hold down a job or live on his own. His rage....his temper became his calling card.
We talked a lot him and I. He told me stuff....stuff from his heart. I found out he could draw like no one else I knew. I wrote a story about a dandelion.....I read it to him. He drew pages and pages of beautiful dandelions....in brilliant color. I saw gentleness in his art...and in him. I saw the human being....the real person.
I told him me and God believed in him. One day he admitted he didn't want to hurt anyone....he never did. He had just wanted the abuse to stop. He didn't know how to make it stop.....and now he didn't know how to stop being violent.
I never told him what happened to me...I never told him I had been beaten, held and raped. I never told him how much I hated the people who hurt me...and how I lived and breathed that hatred. I didn't even tell him how I unleashed all that hatred on myself......I was just there for him....listening....letting him talk...letting him vent his frustrations...and share his heart. I started to see more of the the good in him. Others saw it too. He started trying hard to control his temper and when he couldn't...when he lost it...he started saying he was sorry.
One day his father came to see him. I was there. It shocked me to see how ordinary he looked...like anyone's father.....not deranged...or perverted or weird....just an ordinary man. But I knew what he had done to my friend. I knew his twisted mind.
I remember thinking that day....I don't ever want to be like that man...or like my parents....or like the rapist who held me. I never want to hurt anybody. I want to be kind. I want to care. I want to be gentle like how God has been with me. I want to help pull others up...not tear them down. I just want to make a postive difference....like He did for me.