Mark Labberton doesn't want you to read his new book The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor in the traditional way. "The goal," he explains, "is not to finish this book, but to seek a transformed heart that is filled with God's joy."
As a sixth grader, Hazel Gonzalez was constantly in trouble. A member of two gangs, she was in the principal’s office daily. Known for shooting off her mouth, she was headed toward a future of shooting off guns. “I was always rebelling because I was mad at the world,” Gonzalez explains. “I didn’t come from a ‘Betty Crocker’ family home.”
In 1998 Sue Hill, an administrator with the Department of Human Services in Peoria, Illinois, was trying to help find jobs for several adults whose families were on welfare. Under the new welfare laws, the families would lose their cash benefits (called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF) if the heads of the households didn’t find work soon.
A few months ago, I knowingly harmed an indigent woman named Jacqueline. She was standing at the end of the exit ramp, holding up the predictable sign: "Homeless. Please Help." I parked the car and doubled back to talk to her. She and her "old man" had come from a city a few hours east, she said.
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