Off Limits

A few days ago my son Gresham holed up in his room with a pair of scissors, construction paper, tape and a marker.  He emerged an hour later, his room littered with hand scrawled signs stuck to all his stuff.  All of them shouted the same message: OFF LIMITS.

So, you’d like to read a little about a cat who wears a hat?  Well, all written material is OFF LIMITS.


A little chilly?  Like to borrow a jacket from the closet?  Sorry.  Also OFF LIMITS.


I talked to Gresham about taking the signs down but he was scared.  He was scared of books being drawn in by his little sister.  He was scared of Matchbox cars getting lost or left outside.  He was scared of his bed being trampled on by dirty feet.  He was scared because all of these things have happened to him before.

I made a lot of promises to the bloggers before they agreed to take this trip to the Dominican Republic with me and Compassion International.  I promised them safe food and drinking water, a quick internet connection, a hotel room.  And I promised to take Compassion’s signs down.  I promised that nothing would be off limits to them.

I promised they could look in any file cabinet.  I promised that no door would be closed and no question would go unanswered.

A lack of trust is the biggest hurdle to sponsoring a child – or swinging a hammer for Habitat for Humanity, or dropping loose change into the Salvation Army bucket.  We’re all too aware that a great many evils throughout history have worn the mask of good, that all isn’t always as advertised, that promises get broken.  So, you and I, caring deeply for those in tremendous need, do less than we’d like to serve the hurting, prevented from doing more simply because we don’t know who we can trust.

No one can assume or demand anyone’s trust.  It has to be earned.  I watched an accountant hand over copies of financial records this afternoon – not to a member of Compassion’s board of directors, an employee, or auditor, but to a rancher from Oklahoma – a nice guy but still a total stranger.  I watched bloggers ask a pastor/director of one of Compassion’s ministry locations question after question.  I watched one of our trip’s leaders say, “I don’t know, let me find out for you.”

Compassion International decided, about a year ago, to take their transparency farther than ever before.  Compassion Bloggers was born.  It was a big decision.  We were all a little scared I think of our read our posts, ask your toughest questions in the comments of our blogs, and ask God to speak to you.  Nothing is off limits.