Each day, I scan pages of social media to see the lives of my friends and family. I enjoy their selfies, funny stories, fishing adventures, and proud moments. The lives we portray on our bookshelves and in still-frame photos can also seem indelible and flawless. However, I find myself drawn to what lies in the background of these captured moments.
words JOHN HURT
photographs courtesy of Life360 House
It’s true, we should live a life we can be proud of. We should strive for today to be better than yesterday. But running the race worthy of being seen? A race worthy of being admired by others? Why are we doing it, really?
My story had a different motivation. For 30 years I lived those words, posted those moments, smiled big, and shared accomplishments with sickening pride. I portrayed an over indulgent life of prestige and stuff gained. However, if you were to look on my shelves in the background, you’d see a soul lost, while gaining the world.
And you’d understand why I live a life of giving back today.
Why do those who are broken, lost, abused, addicted, homeless, and searching receive every ounce of my heart and my time?
At Life360 House, we take in 18- to 24-year-old men and women who stood on a precipice of opportunity and emphatically jumped into the valley of bad choices below. They walk through our doors broken, misplaced, and apprehensive. We hug them tight and tell them we are happy they are here. And in this moment, some of the stiffness and emotional weight begin to dissipate and give way to the guarded heart lying below.
A mix of jail, drugs, sexual immorality, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and a life of being forgotten and denied love oftentimes is the more appropriate resume for those who come.
The heart that wants to be loved, valued, accepted, to have a voice, and to feel the accountability that God’s love offers us. A mix of jail, drugs, sexual immorality, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and a life of being forgotten and denied love oftentimes is the more appropriate resume for those who come.
Our residents find God’s love in human form at Life360 House. In His relationships, Christ exemplified unconditional acceptance and balanced inclusion (among self, disciples, and others), giving a voice to people and having a voice with them. Christ met the expectations of others with respect and accountability to what was eternally appropriate.
These relational pillars stand the test of time in helping others transition from a life of internal imprisonment to living out God’s purpose and vision. Does it happen every single time? No. Sometimes it takes two or three, or even 10 times of coming “home” before the prodigal finds sobriety and self-forgiveness, accepts help and love from others, defines his/her path and vision for life, and simply “gets it right” in their own way.
Seventy-times-seven grace is what allows our men and women to find their value by understanding they are no longer defined by their breaking. They’re defined by God’s ability to put those pieces back together into a work He can use to change the lives of others. God is faithful to finish the work He starts in us.
When asked to articulate the value of Life360 House, I believe it is best stated, “Faith is taught, hope is nurtured … but when all is said and done, God’s love and mercy is lived out between the moments hung neatly on the walls and perfectly framed on the shelves in each Life360 House home.”
We are not their destination, simply a step in their path to productive sustainability. Yet, I am always reminded, “Where I was is not where I am, and where I am is not where God is taking me.” Every journey of 10,000 steps starts with one and ends with one.
So, feed those who are hungry, clothe those who are naked, give drink to those who are thirsty, visit those imprisoned, and know when you’ve done these things to the least of these, you’ve done them unto Christ. Learn to live the life in the background. JH