When Love is Not Enough

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We know our hearts are in the right place. We really, really, want to make life better for these kids. So, why can’t it be easy?

The first year of Hope, two decades ago, every single boy ran away. We gave them a safe place to live, good – and regular – food, all the things that make life normal. But it wasn’t enough; they all ran away, rejecting the life we had built for them.

They needed not more, but something very different. What transformation demanded was that they had structure, boundaries, discipline. Our breakthrough came when a retired policeman/pastor came to lead our campus. He intuitively understood that those former street kids needed their lives directed by someone who was strong, who was willing to be the father they had never had. Under his leadership, things turned around for the Hope program, and we began to see transformation take hold in young lives.

A related story. An acquaintance has been very involved in rescuing children from being sold into child slavery. He was part of a group that actually purchased children who were on the slavery market. Then he discovered that some studies indicated that the kind of work in which he was involved actually helped to create that market. When they rescued children by purchasing them, the market read that as demand, and more children entered the market. So, do you walk away from that child crying to be rescued because purchasing her pushes at least one more child into slavery? Tough call.

My point here? Wanting to do good is not enough. Good intentions don’t bring transformation. Sometimes changing the lives of mortal-risk children means making hard choices. Sometimes it means carefully looking at the organizations you choose to support. It takes more than good intentions. It means doing the hard work to make the real difference.

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