Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Fight Against Evil

We're fighting a battle--a war on terror. The terrorization of boys and girls, men and women, ensnared in modern-day slavery is a war on human rights.

That's one of the challenges Transform World leaders identified as facing our world today. Wanting increased clarity on the term prompted me to read the UN's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Adopted on December 10th 1948, not one dissenting vote was cast.

HernĂ¡n Santa Cruz of Chile, member of the drafting sub-Committee, wrote:
I perceived clearly that I was participating in a truly significant historic event in which a consensus had been reached as to the supreme value of the human person, a value that did not originate in the decision of a worldly power, but rather in the fact of existing—which gave rise to the inalienable right to live free from want and oppression and to fully develop one’s personality.  In the Great Hall…there was an atmosphere of genuine solidarity and brotherhood among men and women from all latitudes, the like of which I have not seen again in any international setting.
Everyone agreed. According to the United Nations--each human being is of supreme value and has the right to live free and fully develop their personality. "Every" would include the mentally and physically challenged, the wanted and the unwanted, at any stage of development. Inherent in this declaration are the words "existing" and "to fully develop." This wording seems to imply that from the moment of existence, there are stages of development to come and that everyone is entitled to live them to their fullest.

The articles clarify. Article 1 states:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Hmmm, "endowed."  If human beings are "endowed," there must be an "endower." And, that Creator puts those endowments in place at the moment of conception. Almighty God alone could bestow intellect and conscience and the call for unity. These attributes are not a matter of happenstance, they reflect the Creator's very image.

The United Nations got that right. Unfortunately other forces are at work in the world and always have been. Many human beings--past, present, and future--operate in the realm of evil. Today, that outcry comes from the highest levels of government. And yet, the terrorists--jihadists, pimps, and Johns are human beings too. The Bible explains that this horrendous battle:
is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
That's why this war must be fought on spiritual ground using God's weapons instead of man's. That's why personal transformation is so desperately necessary to affect the cultural changes that can enforce any declaration of human rights. Each individual personality develops according to good and evil influences and each needs to be treated with dignity and respect. Only the Holy Spirit can work the necessary changes in people born with a self-absorbed sinful nature changing them to better reflect God's image. Only a person filled with Christ's love cares enough about the wicked to make a difference. Jesus died for us while we were dead in our sin. He gives new life. He makes the difference--that's biblical justice.

In a recent "Christianity Today" interview with Bethany Hoang, founding director of International Justice Mission’s Institute for Biblical Justice, Eugene Cho, founder of One Day's Wages an antipoverty nonprofit, said:
Justice is part of the full scope of the gospel—it’s part of who Jesus is. Jesus’ words are more credible when his followers live them out, including God’s call to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with him.
To better focus on biblical justice including personal transformation and the 7 challenges involved with human trafficking and its elimination, this blog continues to evolve. Soon (I hope) it's going to have a new name and a new look. We'd love some input if you have ideas. What do think it should be called? Are there ideas you'd like to see explored? Are there features we're missing? Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Meanwhile one way to put forth some pressure on human rights is to join the prayer effort for Saeed Abidini. Until he arrives home, we must continue raising our voices in unity for biblical justice to prevail.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What If Christians All Got Involved?

This story speaks for itself. Meredith's adoption epitomizes God's adoption of His children. No matter how rocky the road we've been on or how challenging our behavior might be at the beginning of our relationship with God, He adopts us into His forever family and gives a place where we are loved beyond measure and are kept safe (Eph. 1:5-8). Even death's sting cannot touch us because we've been given the victory over it in Christ.

That type of family makes for the best possible way to fight human trafficking. For parents to safeguard their children and where children don't have a family for Christians to embrace them, love them, and provide the support, encouragement, and affirmation they need.

At the same time there is responsibility on the part of the child; Meredith had to recognize and receive their love. She could have walked out the door and never looked back. Instead several components likely contributed to her heartfelt joy:

  • Prayer. God is the One who changes hearts and minds. No doubt this girl had a troubled past and God did an incredible work of healing by giving Meredith a soft and tender heart. Zach and Anna appear to be a praying couple. I'd bet they were on their knees for this girl.
  • Perseverance. This couple pressed on despite the initial difficulties.
  • Generosity. Food, shelter, clothes, and other necessities don't come cheap even for a young woman who may be doing the best she knows how to meet her own needs. A big contributor to the problem of human trafficking is girls aging out of the foster care system with no family support. Forced to live on the street they become prime targets for traffickers.
  • Selflessness. A derogatory comment accused Zach and Anna of using Meredith to babysit their kids. In many (maybe most) families, older children help with younger ones. Some may resent it, but that's what families do. Meanwhile the mom generally performs a multitude of other tasks that help each child regardless of age. Not only that but parents problem solve for each individual personality and care for each child whenever they are sick. They cook meals for them, shop for them and on and on and on. Zach and Anna likely work hard to provide not only the material needs but the spiritual counsel and emotional support Meredith needs. 
  • Love. Real love has been given with no strings attached. The kind of love that listens and hears and cares and prays. The kind of love that satisfies and makes a person secure. The kind of love we all want.
No wonder Meredith sobs from sheer joy. I wonder how many more young people might do the same if more Christians got involved. It wouldn't even necessarily mean direct parenting for some young adults. Imagine, what if small groups adopted those coming out of foster care and became their support system. Helping with rent on an apartment, listening and giving guidance, hugging and praying and loving. That kind of triumph over the evil one makes it a glorious day in the neighborhood.