Fact: The victims of the injustice human trafficking and sexual exploitation face physical and sexual violence, mental and emotional abuse, control and manipulation on a daily basis.
These women and children are treated as a commodity that must generate a profit for the “owner”. They are devalued, dehumanized with their dignity and value stripped from them by their abusers. Forced to serve many “customers” daily, this painful and inhuman treatment leads to many physical injuries, severe psychological trauma and often a reliance on drugs to numb the pain of their existence. Drugs are also forced upon them by their traffickers, as a means of controlling them. An early death is often the tragic end to their story.
The challenge to us on this advocacy journey is: Do we believe that this is her choice? Do we believe that she wants to live this life? …….Or do we believe that God wants to change this story from one of tragedy to one of hope, and that it actually might start with me? Do you believe you can make a difference? You see, what we believe in our hearts will often determine our actions.
The good news is that we have a God of justice on our side, desperate for his people to see and meet the needs of the oppressed in this world, to reflect his character and bring him glory. Psalm 146:7-9 states,
“He (God) gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The LORD frees the prisoners. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down. The LORD loves the godly. The LORD protects the foreigner among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.”
This is our God. He is a God of of protection, rescue and restoration!
Scripture tells us that advocacy is also a desire of God’s and therefore is a privilege of ours as his people.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9
Yes advocacy is using your voice, using your resources to help others…. But it is also more than words. It is a journey of deep awareness, of allowing the darkness to be revealed, so that in the light it can be transformed. This is also what is needed with each of our hearts as we bring our prejudices, wrong motives and sexual or other types of sin to God and allow him to do the renewing that will lead to personal transformation and ultimately cultural reformation. How do we expect others to change, if we are not willing to do so ourselves?
The amazing truth is that God wants to use each of us to bring his kingdom to earth as it is in heaven, to be peace-makers, to be advocates. But as we advocate, we ourselves need to recognize our own brokenness. We need to come to know that in our weakness, he is strong. It is through broken vessels like us that his light shines through and illuminates who actually has the power to transform our desperate world. So do not fear! Shine as he has called you to do so.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
So will you let him shine through you, in all your brokenness, to bring hope, healing and transformation to this world?