I Loved Violence

As told by Salvador Garza

WHEN I was a boy, I loved violence and fought anyone who made me angry. A local boxing champion noticed this and taught me to box. In time, I was traveling around the United States as a professional boxer. Later, I worked as a bodyguard for a gangster.

My love of violence continued even after I married and had six children. By then, I was running a nightclub. Several times people tried to kill me, but I enjoyed the excitement. I once shot two men in a fight, badly wounding them. Some friends and I even planned to kidnap a prominent politician. But the police discovered the plot and arrested me. When the police caught up with the others, there was a shoot-out and my friends were all killed. So I am glad that I was in prison at the time!

Years later, I was released and found a job. On my way home from work one day, I suffered a sudden, incapacitating headache. I was so worried that I prayed for help. My wife, Dolores, who had been studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, had told me that God has a name​—Jehovah. (Psalm 83:18) So I prayed specifically to him.

Once I recovered, Dolores encouraged me to attend the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses at their Kingdom Hall. The kindness and genuine interest of the Witnesses brought tears to my eyes. As a result, I too began to study the Bible and my whole outlook on life began to change. I loved what I was being taught.

Learning to control my temper, however, took a little longer. To illustrate, one day while I was engaged in the house-to-house ministry with my friend Antonio, we met a man who spoke abusively to us. I was incensed, so I lunged at him. Fortunately, Antonio restrained me. Later, he patiently drew my attention to how Jesus endured much ridicule and abuse. The apostle Peter, who worked closely with Jesus, wrote: “When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return.” (1 Peter 2:23) I took those words to heart.

Looking back at the changes I have made over the years, I regularly thank Jehovah for his holy spirit, which helps us to exercise self-control and to become truly peaceable. (Galatians 5:22, 23) My family is together and happy, and we enjoy a quiet, peaceful life. Moreover, I have the privilege of serving as a full-time minister, helping others to find the peace of God.

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Studying the Bible helped Salvador find peace