Written By: Ryan Walters
Ignorance is like hot breath upon your glasses.
It clouds the infinite worth of someone who has been abused;
probably verbally, maybe physically, and possibly even sexually.
Ignorance clouds the dignity of someone who has been thrown into the deep end long before they could even swim.
compassion is like a clean sleeve wiping away that cloud of hot breath.
Compassion allows for clarity to see someone as an image bearer of God
just as you are.
Compassion carries the weight of grace that views someone not as a hopeless screw up,
but as child who is worth every penny.
By wearing compassion, we allow not only the opportunity to bring change to a child;
we allow God to change us.
A change of heart from ignorance to compassion meeting kids where they are at; wearing faces of acceptance, not of judgment.
To be compassionate means we let down our Berlin Wall long before we ever have the audacity to ask a teenager to let down theirs.
A teenager who up to this point has only tasted the bitterness of parenthood;
bitterness and trauma experienced not only from parents, but from all types of adults.
Policemen, uncles, teachers, gang leaders and social workers.
The fog on those adults’ lens was so thick in addressing the child’s circumstance,
staring solely at the crime instead of a developing human being.
The haze was so strong on those adults glasses that
becoming just another statistic was inevitable.
Those adult figures in this teenager’s life walked on their shoes,
instead of walking in their shoes.
Your mission is to see the youth in an equal manner as God does;
as His son and daughter,
a beloved image-bearer:
Psalm 88:1-9; 13-18
O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to you at night.
Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry.
For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near.
I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left.
They have left me among the dead, and I lie like a corpse in a grave. I am forgotten, cut off from your care.
You have thrown me into the lowest pit, into the darkest depths.
Your anger weighs me down; with wave after wave you have engulfed me.
You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them. I am in a trap with no way of escape.
My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for your help, O Lord; I lift my hands to you for mercy.
O Lord, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day.
O Lord, why do you reject me? Why do you turn your face from me?
I have been sick and close to death since my youth. I stand helpless and desperate before your terrors.
Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me. Your terrors have paralyzed me.
They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long. They have engulfed me completely.
You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend.
Thanks be to God who called me to Seattle to work alongside the REST Prevention Team for the opportunity to gain an experience with incarcerated youth. Learn more about REST at