Radical generosity. Abundant compassion. Unexpected hospitality. Surprising grace.
These are the types of phrases that I wish marked more of us who call ourselves Christians.
These are also the types of phrases that sometimes scare me.
I just reread Greg Boyle’s Tattoos on the Heart. Homeboy Ministries, which Boyle founded in the 1990s in Los Angeles, embodies these phrases. And as much as I am moved to tears and rejoicing alongside many of the stories he tells of former gang members who come to understand their value and belovedness before God, I also want to hold these vignettes at arm’s length.
I think it’s because I know that radical love means radical self-sacrifice. I don’t want to find out what that would actually entail for me.
And yet Greg Boyle doesn’t seem to be considering what it costs him to receive the women and men in his neighborhood. He doesn’t worry about what he might be losing—time, money, reputation, energy—by listening to a story or offering a ride or simply placing himself right in the center of pain and addiction and abuse and suffering.
On the contrary, he delights in being present. He is drawn to the goodness he gets to bear witness to. He seems to only consider the invitation of love. Not the cost of love.
It’s a reminder to me that to follow in the way of Jesus, there will be self-sacrifice. Or at least, there will be what looks like self-sacrifice to someone on the outside looking in.
But what I will experience is something very different altogether.
If I enter into radical generosity, abundant compassion, and unexpected hospitality, I will experience the richness of amazing love, unending grace, radical kinship, and inexplicable belonging.
More with Amy Julia:
- AJB Recommends: Nomad Podcast with Gregory Boyle
- S5 E15 | To Be Made Well Conversation with Katherine Wolf, David Bailey, and Amy Julia
- Lent Is Not About Sacrifice. It Is About Desire.
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