Every day we hear of more unrest in our cities and our neighborhoods, violence carried out often by the young people living in those neighborhoods. “Senseless” is the term often used in the accounts. Yet what we are hearing from those listening to the youth of these neighborhoods is that these teenagers feel trapped by circumstances, not expecting to live beyond the age of 25. They have little hope of anything better, consider themselves of little value and see no value in others beyond immediate satisfaction. These same conditions exist in Hancock County, just less concentrated and hidden.
At Gathering one of the presenters talked of First Order change and Second Order change. First order change is a behavioral change (losing weight, driving the speed limit, quitting an addiction…) This type of change must be enforced to endure, either through strong self-discipline or someone holding you accountable (doctor, law enforcement, coach…). Second order change is a change of heart, a reversal of identity, a real transformation. There is only one sure way for this to occur and that is by encountering the living Christ, our only true source of hope and strength. If we are to turn the tide of unrest in our neighborhoods, we must make the introduction to the one who can make real change in another’s life and who will give each a new identity.
This is a message at the core of Love INC’s message, what we call our Defining Difference. The tenets of redemptive compassion are:
- See everyone’s value.
- Invest relationally in others.
- Help everyone achieve their God-given potential.
- Require mutual contribution and participation.
- Respond with wisdom and discernment.
- Serve in ways that transform.
If you want to learn more about bringing redemptive compassion to the neighborhoods and young people of Hancock County, let me know.