Mike Palombi’s personal salvation story proves what goes around comes around as he becomes someone who collects to someone who gives. It was a tough road to take, but in the end, he found himself surrendering his whole being to the Lord.
What makes a bully become a bully?
There are many possible reasons for a person, especially a child, to become a bully to their peers. But it all boils down to his upbringing and how they received love and compassion in their families and homes, the first place people are introduced to different kinds of emotions, values, and learnings.
A Child’s Dark Roots
As a child, Mike was introduced to a world of fear, anger, and violence. When a young boy should receive love, care, compassion and values from his father, it is beatings and bruises that little Mike got.
Mike recounts the fear that travels his body whenever he hears his father coming up the stairs with the sound of him removing his belt. He recalls how he endures every whip without a sound as he was threatened it will only get worse if he makes a sound.
This incident left Mike feeling “unloved” and “devalued.” And that is how he grows up believing that his life has no worth.
The fear from his father turned into anger. This anger was then projected to his peers whom he lashed out at.
Because Mike was bullied at home, he also bullied others, which made him feel good about himself. Winning fights earned him a “lot of respect” and he enjoyed the recognition.
In time, with the many fights, Mike got kicked out of high school, which gave him more time to explore vices like alcohol and drugs. He also met a woman whose father is a loan shark that recruited him as a “strong arm man.”
That is how Mike’s collection with brute force began, collecting money from people who owe the loan shark and not accepting “No” as an answer. However, one day, Mike was unknowingly sent on another collection that turned out to be a setup.
All Mike could think of is that he will die at that exact moment as armed men ran towards him. However, he was instead sent to prison for three years as he was convicted of extortion.
While in prison, Mike went into gambling. When the guy he played with demanded more money, with a backup in tow, he thought of only one way out – killing the man.
Right as he was about to slit the man’s throat, Mike heard a voice.
Personal Salvation Story: Road To Redemption
“How’s it feel, tough guy,” says a voice. “How’s it feel to lose your life because someone’s threatening you to pay a debt you don’t owe?”
Mike felt shame all over him. God is not a stranger to Mike’s life as he went to church when he was young; thus he is certain it was God who spoke to him.
For the first time, Mike saw who he really was: a “criminal” and a “drug addict.” And he knew that he deserved where he is at the moment and surrendered himself to the Lord.
However, Mike’s personal salvation story does not end yet as old habits die hard. When he got out of prison, he went back to his old ways of doing drugs and alcohol.
Two decades have passed and a lot of things have happened, including one failed marriage. He then met a Christian woman named Heidi who prayed for him.
On Christmas Eve, Heidi invited Mike to church, to which he refused. Mike, drunk, went to the third floor of the building and pondered on ending his life.
He heard a voice in his head that urged him to end his aimless life since he can no longer see a way out. When he was about to jump off the balcony, Mike heard a different voice.
The other voice told him that they spoke 20 years ago in his prison cell. Mike was also told by the voice that his enemy is no one else but the same enemy two decades ago, his very own self.
“You’re your own worst enemy,” the voice tells Mike. “You got to save yourself from yourself.”
This time, Mike listened to this voice and decided to head to the church service where Heidi invited him for Christmas Eve. When he arrived, he heard a message that spoke directly to him.
The message talked about the life he was having, of Jesus coming to “set the captives free.” Mike recalled the feeling of a “man receiving food within minutes of dying” from starvation.
Mike was saved on the eve of Christmas in 2004. He was finally determined to surrender himself to the Lord, and this time, he will not waver again.
He also married Heidi after a few years and they later lead the church’s recovery group. Mike finally felt peace within himself and towards others, including his father who he has forgiven.
And every year during Christmas Eve, along with Jesus’ birth, his savior, Mike celebrates his own rebirth too.
Mike says the worst times of his life, in turn, brought him the greatest moments. The key is to be willing to surrender one’s self wholly to the Lord.
He also recounts his personal salvation story through his book titled How’s It Feel, Tough Guy? where Mike won 1st place for Christian Writers Award and was praised with a “strong voice” by Writer’s Digest.
Photo source: Unsplash Creative Commons
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