I happened upon this poignant photo when I visited Serge J-F Levy’s website to check out a photo series he did on religion in prison.
During his visit to a women’s facility, Levy heard prisoners at a group meeting describing their experiences with rape. Levy told Jordan G. Teicher of Slate during an interview:
“’I had to put down my camera. I was incapable of working because it was just too much,’ Levy said. ‘It really brought together what the story was about. We don’t know how people arrive in prison until we start to listen to how they arrived there. There’s no excuse for the damage a felon criminal has done, but there is possibly an explanation.’”
In his photo of these young girls, Levy captured a stark contrast between innocence and innocence lost. While obviously not part of his prison series, it made me think about how, more often than not, we don’t know the explanation. We simply don’t know how and why a person has arrived to their present situation.
Yes, actions have consequences, but I don’t know one 6 year old girl who aspires to objectify herself. Not everyone has the privilege of growing up knowing that they are loved and cherished.
Jesus expects us to demonstrate mercy and compassion. God’s word tells us that these are more important than sacrifice. (If you have any doubt, head on over to Matthew 18 and read the parable of the unforgiving debtor.)
My sense is that hurting people are expecting a predictable response from those they encounter. If that is the case, I want to be unpredictable.