The Heartbreakers

The heartbreakers.  They’re the kids that are dripping with potential. They’re charming, bright, and have goals. They know they want something different in life. And for the most part, they know what it will take to get there.


They don’t choose it. In some cases, they won’t choose it.

Heartbreakers are inspiring. They’re the kids that everyone wants to help. Sure, sometimes they’re mischievous, but most folks are willing to overlook it.  Their natural charisma outweighs their flaws.

I’ve experienced a few heartbreakers over the years. The girl intelligent enough to be a doctor or lawyer, but had an unexpected pregnancy. The young man with social skills that would have taken him far in business, but ended up running with gangs. The girl who fought for a spot in a top high school, but gave it up before she even realized her potential.

As I’ve reflected on the lives of these kids this week, I’ve noticed a recurring theme. They were all dealing with extreme circumstances at home when things started to fall apart. Homelessness. Desertion. Abuse. All of it out of their control.

The enemy creeps in and asks, “Is it ever going to change? There really is no way out of this cycle, you know. The kids can’t overcome the circumstances their parents put them in, and the parents don’t want to change, so WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

And then I weep.

We do see kids making amazing changes, but they’re rarely in the most dire circumstances. The easy and gratifying choice would be to only work with kids who are at least partially on track, kids that you know have a chance at success. But somehow that just doesn’t fit. Jesus certainly didn’t only choose to pursue those who were easy.

The heartbreakers are a really tough crew. In the end, they need to experience the transforming love of Christ. But it’s so hard for them to trust that, to take a chance on it, when they’ve been betrayed so heavily by the people closest to them.  When I think back to all of my heartbreakers, without exception, they could never fully commit to a loving God.  I think it just didn’t make sense in their young, pained minds.

And so we pray. We encourage. We speak hard truths. We love.

And at home we weep. We pray. We try not to harden our hearts.  We try to make sense of the pain — both our own & the kids’.

There will always be a heartbreaker. The enemy says that’s all they’ll ever be. Christ says they are overcomers.  Lord, let it be so.

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