Gang Violence In Gregory Boyle's Tattoos On The Heart

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In the world we live in today, people who have been sucked into the world of gangs and violence have become pariahs in society. The moving biography of Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, captures the extent of gang violence though memoirs of numerous ex-gang and gang members. Boyle’s mission is to help these people with his endless compassion, fostering a sense of kinship, and helping them find self-love, ultimately forming a community unlike any other. The entire book revolves around compassion. When asked what compassion is, one of Father Greg’s students replied, “Compassion ...IS...God” (Boyle 62). Compassion is described as “total, unflinching love for other people, the kind modeled by Jesus Christ during his time on earth.” Father Greg uses Jesus’s compassion as a model for all things in life.…show more content…
He was a twelve year old boy; funny, smart, precocious and “the real deal.” One day Betito was playing with his cousins when some gang members opened fire on him. Betito died in the hospital. Father Greg found it incredibly hard not to hate the two men who killed Betito. Father Greg found out who the two were, and writes, “Kids I love killing kids I love.” This quote was so powerful. Father Greg looks up to Jesus especially in times like these. He makes the connection that when Jesus says to love your enemies, it doesn’t mean you have to cease loving those who love us. Just because it is harder, doesn’t mean it is better, it is just harder. When we are able to love our enemies we will start to truly live in a world who God is. I think this story is extremely important. Father Greg sets an example for his homies through his actions. By forgiving the “damned,” he is showing other gang member that they can do it too. Compassion is prevalent throughout the book, and is present in every single encounter with the
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