The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Changing the Man in the Mirror

By Jarrod Anderson
The 700 Club - Martin Lawson says, “I was just out there for 30 days, just nonstop, just getting high on crack, just sleeping outside, everything. It's like, ‘Am I going to come out of this? Can I come out of this?’”

Martin Lawson’s addiction ruled his life and he felt powerless to change. It was the same feeling he had when his dad left him and his mom when he was only 5 years old.

Martin recalls, “Mom loved me but she was too busy. I didn't have anyone in my life telling me who I am, instilling a sense of purpose in me, a sense of identity.”

Martin’s mother did the best she could and even took him to church. But as Martin got older, he became bitter.

“I was angry at my teachers, I was angry at my dad. I was angry at those who had stuff that we lacked.”

He got into fights often, to prove that he was in control. 

“It made you feel like, ‘okay, yeah, you got to listen to me now. You're wrong, I'm right.’ Because that was the only way that I could deal with certain things that were very real and present in my life.”

Throughout high school, Martin partied with his friends. But when he came home after his first year in college, things had changed. His friends were in a gang and selling crack cocaine. Before long, Martin joined them.

Martins says, “17, 18 years old, you're-you're making $1,000, $2,000 a week. Money was power. Money was influence. Money was independence. It was more violence. It was more danger. But at that age, it was also more exciting, you know?”

But in time, the violence escalated out of control.

“It wasn't just fighting anymore it was like, you got a beef, now you're shooting at somebody or they're shooting at you. One year we lost like 10, 10 people. (We) buried like 10 people in one year. So it was it was - it was rough.”

Eventually Martin began smoking crack.

Martin says, “At first it was just because it was there. Later on it began to be okay, you know, a means to cope. People are dying around you and you're getting arrested and the money's not coming as quick as it – as it used to be, but you're still in the lifestyle and you don't see another way out.”

Martin moved away hoping to turn his life around. He got a job and stopped using drugs. He even professed his faith in Jesus.

“But I didn't – I didn't give Him my life. I hadn't let go. I hadn't repented. I was just – I was open, I guess, and I was getting tired. And I was getting fed up. But I was still – I was still addicted, says Martin.

Martin returned home and for the next 10 years lived between stretches of drug bingeing and soberness. During that time he began dating a Christian and even went to church on occasion. But he still couldn’t shake his addiction, and it was getting worse.

Martin recalls, “I realized that I just didn't like myself. I hated myself. I'd look in that mirror and just like, I couldn't stand the person that I was looking at.”

Then, hiding out in a boarding house, he went on a binge that lasted for 30 days.

“Not eating, nothing, just getting high on crack, just sleeping outside, everything. It's hopeless, you know? It's like, ‘Am I going to come out of this? Can I come out of this?’”
Martin’s girlfriend found him and helped him clean up. The next morning, she took him to church. When the pastor finished his sermon, he approached Martin.

Martin recalls, “He came down, he said, ‘I need to pray for you.’ He laid his hands on me and he prayed and I was just like, ‘I'm done. You know, I can't do this anymore.’ And so it was I guess - I guess what I felt was God's love for me in spite of myself. I mean, I hated myself and – but God loved me in spite of my disobedience, my – my ignorance, you know, all the-the wrong I had done. I guess I felt His Grace in his prayer and his mercy. At that point I knew the love of God. I knew the love of Christ.  And it changed my life.”

Martin finally gave God control of his life.

“I was set free. I was no longer a slave to not only the addiction to crack cocaine, but to the lifestyles. I was no longer a slave. That was not my default anymore, from that point on.”

Martin admits he had a brief relapse but he immediately stopped and turned back to God. Today, Martin is married, ordained as a minister, and mentors at risk youth.

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