The True Story of a Black Man who Lost his Anger
- I Was Seething with Rage as a Black Man
- Why I Was Such an Angry Black Man
- The Change from being an Angry Black Man
- The Surrender
- Video: Doug Batchelor on Racism
I Was Seething With Rage as a Black Man
I was seething with rage. "I've had it with that Aaron Sheppard!" I pulled out my gun and brandished it about the college dorm room in front of my friends. "If he ever crosses me again, I'll kill him!" Just then, there was a knock at the door, and who should come in, but Aaron Sheppard! Of all people, why was he here? I scowled at him, and yelled,"Get out of here, whitey! I said, get out of here!" Aaron apparently didn't feel like taking on a whole room full of blacks, because he immediately turned and left.
Why I was such an Angry Black Man
That Aaron did not seem to be too bad when i first met him in my classes at the christian college my parents sent me to in 1971. But he revealed his true colors when I gave my talk on racism in speech class. I wore my black, green and red headband of the black Nationalist Group to emphasize where I stood. I was supposed to defend my speech against questions asked by the other students. That was when Aaron asked some of the dumbest questions just to put me on the spot and try to give me a bad grade. At that time, to myself, I determined I was going to have my revenge on him. What I did not understand at that time was that Aaron's questions were not from prejudice, but just ignorance from lack of exposure to black people.
After I left the speech class, I strode down the middle of the narrow dorm hall to my room. Side by side, two white fellows approached me. I held my head high, and stared them straight in the eye, my black pride aglow. I didn't budge an inch to the left or right; they parted and went around me.
Back in my room, one of my friends filled me in on some rumors he had heard about Aaron. "I hear Aaron feels badly about you being so angry against him and wants to make peace. He is supposed to be praying for you."
"Fat chance!" I retorted. "I know whites. I've been watching them all my life. All whites consider black man inferior. You saw the movie 'The Liberation of L.B. Jones.' I was ready to kill the first white man I saw when I left that movie. White man will hold blacks under his foot any time he can. You also saw the graffiti scribbled across the wall when Martin Luther King was done in: Yea! Nigger go home! So do you really believe this rumor about Aaron Sheppard praying for peace with me?!"
A retreat was announced for students from several Christian colleges in the United States. Many were excited, and begged me to go, but I wasn't interested. The man upstairs was thought of by me as a white-man's God, and I just couldn't relate to him. And so many Christians seemed to be just two-faced, holier-than-thou hypocrites. I had seen very few that seemed to really live what they said they believed. So, I turned the invitation down. "I know what will happen. All you holy people will get together and talk about how righteous your beliefs are and how wrong everyone else is. I want nothing to do with it."
That weekend, with so many people gone, I decided to do something a little different. I promised a friend I would not smoke marijuana any more, but I decided to now. So that weekend, I stayed in my room, buried my nose in some militant racist literature, and got a little high on marijuana. As usual, the literature made me angrier against white people. The anger inside me built, lessening my response to hearing the Holy Spirit talk to me, and putting the cause of racism before the call of Jesus.
After everyone returned from the retreat, all they could talk about was what a great time they had. They told me how much they learned and how their commitment to Jesus had grown. Then a bunch of them decided to give their testimonies at prayer meeting! That was the last thing I wanted to hear! I decided not to go.
The Change from being an Angry Black Man
As prayer meeting approached, I lay on my bed studying. But this nagging thought from no where kept hitting me:"Go to prayer meeting! Go to prayer meeting!" Finally, even though I knew I was going to be late, and that the door could easily be locked, I grabbed my books and ran across campus to the chapel. As I approached the chapel, I noticed the doors were closed. Knowing the doors should be locked, I reached for the handle anyway and pulled. It opened! I slipped into the back row. The student next to me commented,"Boy, you just barely made it."
I was settling down to study as usual when I heard what the speaker was saying. The student giving his testimony was a tough man on campus, yet he was telling how Christ touched his heart at the retreat. He was talking about surrendering to Christ! I had heard testimonies before, but none had moved me like this from a fella with a tough name. Another student gave his testimony, and then another. I noticed that the students were of all different races.
After the testimonies were over, prayer bands formed. I asked the girl next to me to pray with me. I wasn't afraid of praying in front of others; being a good talker, I knew how to pray real good. Of course, my heart wasn't in it. However, I could pray impressive prayers. The girl and I went up front. But before we even got started, the girls dean asked to join our group. Just a couple weeks earlier we had had a big argument about racism. But I decided this was not the time to make a scene, so I said okay. Then who should come up, but Aaron Sheppard! He asked to join us, and again I agreed.
The girls dean prayed first. She said she loved me as a brother and asked forgiveness for the argument and misunderstanding we had had. She asked for peace between us. Her prayer did not move me at all. Next Aaron prayed. He said he loved me also! He said that he had prayed many prayers for me. He asked God to dissolve the anger between the two of us. He wanted to be friends. Aaron said he did not want to be a white man to me and me a black man to him, but that the two of us might be brothers. For some reason Aaron's prayer was different from the girls dean prayer. I began shaking, and trembling all over.
Then it came my turn to pray. My usual eloquence left me. I broke down into tears, a trembling increasing over me. I prayed,"Dear God, tell my white brother I love him." Then Aaron and I stood and hugged each other. I said,"Aaron, God has taken the sword out of my hand and placed the Bible in it." My life purpose had now changed from the Black racist cause to lifting the cross of Jesus Christ. I was no longer preparing to die in a race war between blacks and whites, but to surrender my life to whatever work my Lord and Master would give me.
As I sat down, I saw the whole chapel divided into groups of students praying. Dozens of students came to me saying,"Brad, I have been praying for you." I hadn't known that many of these students even cared about me! This is the only way I can account for my conversion, to give credit to the power of prayer and revival. I had not been looking for anything different than what I had. I had no desire for anything different. Today, I can think of nothing in my mind that led up to this point. The only reason I was in a Christian college was because that was where my parents wanted me. But prayer is powerful. It lets the Holy Spirit do things it could not otherwise do, especially when the praying person's heart is humbled in revival.
Doug Batchelor on Racism
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© 2019 Doneta Wrate