The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson



Gangster Finds Forgiveness

By Rob Hull & Dory Nissen
The 700 Club“We seen it all as kids in broad daylight. People (were) shot in front of other little kids playing jump rope, hop scotch; drive by shooter can come by and just shoot everybody up, kids and everything.”

Tommie Scott grew up among gang violence, drugs and poverty in the projects of south central Los Angeles. His father was in and out of prison throughout his childhood so Tommie found other men to look up to and joined a neighborhood gang.

“The drug dealers, the gang members, they have the jewelry. They have the cars. They had the girls. They had everything. I said ‘That looks like a way out. I’m part of something, I have something to defend. I can get respect. I can get love. It’s like a little family.’”

As Tommy grew up, his responsibilities in the gang grew with him. “Whatever I can do for my neighborhood to show them that, ‘Hey! I got your back.’ Selling drugs for them, doing drives for them; everybody outside our neighborhood hates us so we’re going to hate them back. So I became an enforcer, shooting at anyone who came into our neighborhood that wasn’t supposed to be there. Jumping other people in, beating people up that wasn’t supposed to be in our neighborhood, in my neighborhood.”

Gang violence claimed the lives of several of Tommy’s friends and family.As my friends start dying off, being killed and different things, I became numb to death. I had no emotion. It was like a deadness. It was like a void. I didn’t care about nothing. I just had a total hatred for anybody, anybody outside of my race and anybody outside of my gang. That rage that I had, a lot of us had that rage, a lot of us. And we just flared each other’s rage. You sit around nothing to do getting drunk and loaded, and then, ‘Hey, let’s go rob somebody.’ We didn’t think twice about it.”

Just like his father, Tommie spent years in jail and prison. “I was a big bad kid coming in but then when I was stuck behind that door I just knew that it was only me now. Fear sets in, the loneliness, the helplessness. Nobody can help you. If you show weakness you won’t last that long.”
His involvement in gang fights and race riots led to extended times in solitary confinement. “It’s dark. You probably shower once a week. You can’t move. I’m a human being and I’m sitting in a cage where I can’t function. I really was losing my mind. I started getting suicidal. I started thinking of not living no more. I was like, ‘if there’s a God, if there’s something, You need to come. You need to come and do something now.’”

The next day Tommie says he felt compelled to go to the prison chapel service. “For some reason I just couldn’t sit still on my bed. I had to get up. Something was saying, ‘go, just go.’ And he was talking about how God can forgive us no matter what we’ve done. And I’m thinking like, ‘you must don’t know what I did. You must don’t know the lives I’ve destroyed, the families I’ve torn up.’”

At the end of the message Tommie prayed with the pastor and asked God to forgive his sins. “It was like my heart was torn out and another heart was put in. It was joy. It was peace. It was forgiveness. I mean I knew for a fact that I was saved. There was no question at all. I knew that I was forgiven of everything I did at that moment. Spiritually I knew I was clean. I never thought that I could feel the peace. I never thought I could feel the joy. I never thought I could feel the forgiveness from the inside.”

He began sharing what happened to him with anyone who would listen. “I was talking to skin heads. I was talking to enemies. I was talking to everybody that I could. I just knew what Christ had done for me.”

Tommie is free today and continues to tell people that it was Jesus who changed his life and forgave him of all the wrongs he had ever done. “If He can give me eternal life and God can reach down and touch me, I know for a fact that He’s going to give everybody the opportunity to surrender their lives in their lifetime. I want everybody to experience the love of Christ like I have. Without Christ I have nothing and the life I live now is totally surrendered to him.”

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