When it comes to running a home for rescued boys, house rules are important. Clear expectations teach the boys boundaries as well as instill identity, worth and purpose. Blackbox board member Peter Buckland encourages our houseparents in the Dominican Republic to phrase the rules something like this:

In your other house, you __________, but here we _________.

You used to __________, but now you __________.

In this family, we __________.

The parents might say, then, “In your last house, you didn’t help with chores, but here we all work together. You used to tell lies, but now you tell the truth. In this family, we respect one another.”

Statements like these don’t just ask for good behavior. They remind the boys that they are not where they once were—that they are more than who they once were.

And isn’t it the same for every believer of Christ? Each of us is a rescued son or daughter, adopted into a family whose head is Christ and whose Father is God Himself. In Him, we don’t just have boundaries for good behavior. We have identity and worth and purpose!

“Once you were not a people,” wrote the apostle Peter, “but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10).

Because of Jesus, we can say, “I was bitter, but now I forgive. I used to be afraid, but now I have courage. I used to worry, but now I trust. In this family of believers, I love and serve and live life to the full.”

In Christ, we are not where we once were. We are more than who we once were. We have the truest identity, a lasting worth, a meaningful purpose. We can rescue others because we were rescued ourselves. We live by a new set of rules, because we were lost, but now, thanks to Jesus, we are found.