Almost from the start of mankind, the existence of evil and suffering have been a part of the human experience. While the faces and the circumstances may change, evil and suffering still persist. Watch the news and there is plenty of evidence of the horrific acts that have been happening in the Ukraine, the beheadings of Christians in Iraq or the fighting and killings in Israel, to name a few.
While these are indeed horrible, there are other acts of evil, of injustice, happening daily in our own country and world-wide. Sex trafficking is one issue many would rather ignore. According to F.R.E.E. International:
1) There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history, including the trans Atlantic slave trade
2) Commercial Sex Trafficking is the third largest criminal enterprise in the world
3) Trafficking occurs both internationally and domestically within the United States
4) It is estimated that anywhere between 100,000-300,000 children are exploited for commercial sex every year in the United States
5) The average age a person enters into prostitution in the United States is between 12 and 14 years old(SOURCE: http://freeinternational.org/the-issue)
There’s also the issue of the abuse and neglect of children by the hand of those who are supposed to love and care for them. According to Royal Family Kids, which serves abused and neglected foster children across the globe, “Annually, 3.6 million cases of child abuse, neglect or abandonment are reported in America,” and “One of these victims dies every six hours due to that abuse” (http://royalfamilykids.org/about/our-history). Those are just the facts on the reported cases.
Actor, comedian and humanitarian Robin William’s suicide was another stark reminder that the hurting are among us. Many people put on a good face and say that everything is fine, when their lives are far from it. There are people going through domestic violence. There are people contemplating taking their lives, feeling there is no other way. There are people who wake up every morning wondering why they exist, because they feel worthless. There are those suffering from mental illness. Need I go on?
Unfortunately, we often ignore the obvious signs of the pain in others and the injustices that exist, because it makes us feel uncomfortable or we don’t realize that we can do something to help. What’s even sadder, is we don’t often even notice the pain and injustices around us, because people have learned to hide so much of it, recognizing that most people will sit by and do nothing.
Christians have been taught to serve, to love our neighbors, to get involved when we see someone in need. Many who haven’t read Matthew 10:25-37, have heard of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In a nutshell, those who should have helped a stranger who had been victimized walked by him and did nothing, while the most unlikely person stopped to not only help him, but to get personally involved.
Jesus Christ died for all. As John 3:16 tells us, ““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Notice that Christ died for ALL people. He has and always will love ALL people, and yet, we don’t often do the same.
Love requires action. Love goes beyond feeling. Love sometimes involves us to get uncomfortable. Why? Because it is not about us. It is about others, loving them, protecting them, serving them.
In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus reminds us, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” To love God is to love people. To love people is to act.
As my pastor, Dr. Ryan Darrow shared on a Sunday morning, “The Samaritan could have made many excuses to not help, like the others. What area is God asking you to get involved in another’s life? It doesn’t always mean getting involved with an organization, but the person who we see every day.”
We so often feel more comfortable conforming to what others do, even when we know we have the means to help, which doesn’t always mean money. We can help with our skills, talents, knowledge, time, whatever we have and are. What is right is still what is right. Our lives are meant to make a difference in the lives of others. We are called to fight for justice with whatever we have within us and whatever we have to give.
The Lord calls us to be involved in a practical way. As Pastor Darrow reminded us, “Our neighbors, [at home, school, work] are often metaphorically lying in a ditch hurting. What can you do? What is God calling you to do?”
We are His hands and feet. There are people dying on the inside. You are not where you are without a purpose, a purpose to change the world.
We are called to advocate on behalf of others. They are counting on us. We all know that change is needed. Be the change.
Want to talk with me more about how you can be the change? Let’s join our efforts. Are you already being the change? I’d love to hear about what you’re doing. Let’s inspire one another to do what we were called to do. May Jefferson Bethke’s latest video inspire you that darkness is losing.
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