The following is a true story. His biography at end of story.
Shot three times, stabbed eight times and living a life of crime in a 1% outlaw motorcycle club. I was on the Highway to Hell and I didn’t even know it. The club was my family, my brothers in arms. I found a family that I had never known before.
I was born to a white family living in the Mexican Barrio of Ontario, California. I lived the first ten years of my life with a family member that abused me in every way imaginable. I wasn’t allowed in the house but lived in a tiny dark damp room in the small basement. It was a constant battle to stay alive from scraps of food I was thrown and the rats gnawing on me while I tried to sleep.
At ten years old, I was kicked out of the house and lived on the streets. A skinny, malnourished kid surviving by food thrown in dumpsters and by stealing whatever I could. This rough street life led me to drugs. Drugs were a temporary escape from the despair and pain around me. Ultimately this led me to be arrested and thrown into jail. At that point in my life jail wasn’t all bad; at least I had three meals a day and a place to sleep. I only had one visitor during my early years in jail, my grandmother. Once a month, after a five-day bus ride to get to me, she told me that she loved me and that God had a plan for my life. She dreamt that someday I would become a preacher man.
That was the farthest thing from my mind. I put up a wall of anger. I hated everyone, especially those that were not like me. I only cared about myself. My motto was: Trust No One. That time in jail I began to gain strength. I was determined that no one would ever hurt me again.
When I got out of jail I joined a 1% outlaw motorcycle club. I saw in them a group of brothers that didn’t take any lip from anyone. I grew my hair long and beard even longer. During my time with the 1%ers, I was stabbed eight times, shot three times and inflicted pain on more people than I can count. I had an uncontrollable temper and my anger could be set off at the slightest provocation.
Eventually, this lifestyle led me to life in prison. I served time in Folsom, Chico, and San Quentin. In San Quentin, there are four basic racial groups of people that run the prison population. If you didn’t belong to one of these four groups, you became someone’s plaything or wound up dead. Prison bred hatred and violence. Of course, I joined the "white" faction. My anger constantly boiled inside of me. I would strike out at anyone and everyone. I was the meanest and most violent prisoner in the ’80s and ’90s. I was kept from the general population and was always held in restraints, I had shackles on my hands and legs and was surrounded by three guards at all times.
One day, to my surprise, I was let into the Minimum Yard for the first time in years. The grass seemed greener and the sunlight was warm. I sat down on a bench, alone, to reconnoiter the yard. Men were grouped in their usual racial groups. But, then I noticed something that piqued my curiosity. Sitting together alone was a white man and a black man reading a book. No one bothered them and they seemed to have a sense of peace and compassion about them. That book was the Holy Bible.
Later, I got stabbed in the back. Thirsting for revenge I got retribution, I was so out of control I found myself back in shackles sitting in a barred room in the prison psych ward (Section Eight). There they shot me up with antipsychotic tranquilizers. These drugs only made me more violent and out of control.
When they took me off of those drugs; I fell into a deep depression and felt like giving up. I was sick and tired of the constant revolving door of anger, revenge, and punishment. I sat on the edge of my bunk and spoke to God for the first time in my life. I asked Him if He could use an angry man like me. And it was just then that someone slid a small Gideon Bible under the door. I opened it up and read “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” Matthew 5:44.
I then started reading that little book, soaking up every word like a sponge. I read that Jesus said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” Hebrews 13:5b. When I was sentenced to prison: People said they would visit – they never did. People said they would write – they never did. People said they would send me money for the commissary – they never did.
After I was released from Section Eight, in the Minimum Yard, in front of the Correctional Officers and over 70 hardened men, I dropped to my knees, crying, and gave Jesus my all. I confessed my sins to Him and asked Jesus to come into my life and take over.
It has been 15 years since that life-changing day. I am out of prison and do not hesitate to tell anyone I meet about Jesus. Jesus utterly changed my life that day.
We are all sinners, some more than others, but even if you lived a "good" life out of prison - you are still a sinner. Check yourself by going through the Ten Commandments: How many lies have you told in your life? Have you ever stolen (the value is irrelevant), committed adultery (Jesus said, "Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" - Matt. 5:28), or murdered someone (God considers hatred to be murder in your heart - 1 John 3:15) Have you loved God above all else? Be honest. You know you will be guilty on Judgment Day, and therefore will end up in Hell forever.
But, Jesus showed how much God loved us by dying on the cross to take our punishment, and then rising from the dead. Today, repent (confess and turn from your sin) and trust in Jesus Christ. Then read the Bible daily, and obey it. God will never fail you. Won’t you turn to Jesus today?
Biography: Russell Troy "Russ Clear"
Birth January 19, 1967
Death April 19, 2014 (age 47)
A six-time world champion in bench press and the strict curl. Standing 6'3" and weighing 310 lbs. Russ spent over 15 years of his life in correctional institutions before experiencing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in his last 6 months in San Quentin prison. After that, Russ made it his mission to reach as many people as he could for Christ. He chose to walk away from what could have been a lucrative career with the WWF, because in his own words, "You can't serve two masters."
Russ had served as a bodyguard to front line leaders in the pro-life ministry. He had appeared in "Walker, Texas Ranger", and played a major role in the movie "A Song for Momma." Russ ministered to every age group, from kids to adults, church groups to biker gangs. Similar to Paul, Russ had redirected all the energy he previously used serving Satan, to minister to the lost. Passion for Christ and his sheep consumed him and he was a witnessing machine. With a powerful testimony and the evidence of the life-changing ability of what Christ can do, Russ was a walking love letter to the world of God's mercy and saving grace.
Russ's favorite verse: "The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?" - Psalms 27:1