Dr. Ben Carson has never been shy about his faith, but the current Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and former candidate for president wasn’t always on the godly path he is today.
The man that many recognize now as a patient, kind, and compassionate leader was not always so calm.
In fact, as a teen, Carson had what he describes as a “violent temper.”
“I would go after people with sticks and baseball bats and hammers and rocks, and when I was 14 … I got so angry I tried to stab another youngster,” he shared in an interview with Pure Talk.
While Carson suffered from extreme poverty and deep-rooted anger problems as a child, he overcame all of it and became one of the most renown neurosurgeons in the world.
But the path was certainly not easy and required a HUGE wake-up call for the once violent teen.
The day he tried to stab another kid served as precisely the wake-up call he needed. Thankfully, a belt buckle stopped the knife from penetrating the victim.
“The knife struck with such force it broke and he fled,” explained Carson. “But I was actually more terrified than he was because I realized I was trying to kill somebody.”
After the traumatic incident, he ran home and hid in the bathroom as he tried to process what had just happened.
“I just shut myself up in the bathroom and I started thinking … ‘I’ll never become a doctor with a temper like this,’” he told Pure Talk. “‘I’ll end up in jail, reform school or the grave.’”
It was then that he hit his knees in a prayer of desperation.
“I just fell on my knees and I said, ‘Lord, you’ve got to help me. I can’t do this,’” recalled Carson. “‘[There’s just] no way I’m going to be successful unless you change me.’”
He opened a Bible, specifically diving into the book of Proverbs, where he began to read about “fools” like him:
“There were all these verses about fools that seemed like they were all written about me. Then there are all these verses about anger too, like Proverbs 19:19 — ‘there’s no point getting angry men out of trouble because you’re just going to have to do it again’ — or Proverbs 16:32.”
The HUD Secretary said he spend 3 hours in the bathroom praying, reading Scripture, and thinking about his life path before coming to the conclusion of what real strength is.
“To kick down a door or to punch somebody in the face was not a sign of strength; it was a sign of weakness,” said Carson. “It meant you could be manipulated by the situation and by other people.”
That stabbing incident was the last time he would ever have a fit of rage. To this day, he continues to read from Proverbs each morning and night to remind himself where his strength comes from. Carson credits God with truly changing him from the inside out.
“When God changes you, he doesn’t just do a paint job,” he shared. “He does it from the inside.”