Friday, May 22, 2015

Fighting Human Trafficking is Not My Passion

When I die, I do not want anyone to say, "Oh she had such a passion for fighting human trafficking. She had such a passion for justice." That may be an admirable goal, but it's simply not mine. 

Rather I want people to say: "Oh, she had such a heart for Jesus--for people to know him and become more like him." My life's compass has been developed through a growing intimacy with my Savior. To know him better, I study and apply Scripture and try to walk by the power of the Holy Spirit instead of carrying out the desires of my flesh (see Galatians 5:16). 

One of the greatest compliments I've ever received was from a Christian leader in the justice movement. At a recent conference he asked: "You just go where the wind blows, don't you?"

I doubt he had any idea that my greatest material treasure is a Lladro figurine called "The Windblown Girl." When I was in my twenties, she symbolized the person I wanted to become. At the time, self-destructive choices blew my life around like a tumbleweed, and I longed for stability. Though gale force winds assail this young woman, she doesn't waver. Rather fragile flowers magnify her strength. The book she holds behind her back empowers her to stand firm on her convictions.

For me to live such a life necessitated a complete overhaul--one made possible by the God, whose Son left all the pleasures of heaven, coming to Earth to take my punishment on the cross. Instead of my sins leading to death, Christ's resurrection gave me the ability to live a new and better life.

That's what motivates me. Christ followers need to heed Paul's admonition in Romans 12:1-2:
to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Paul's letter goes on to say that just as our body has many members with different functions so does the body of Christ. That "since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly."

As I gave up seeking pleasure on my own terms and began to put God's ways ahead of my selfish desires, a set of gifts began emerging that started helping me do the right thing, even when it costs time and money. Those are a small sacrifice when it comes to pleasing the Guardian and Shepherd of my soul.

Loving Jesus has left me no choice but to get involved when I see injustice. Especially when it comes to young girls like I once was, girls who desperately need rescuing. It's impossible to shut my eyes and turn my back on evil, after God in his great mercy delivered me from it. 

That's why I do what I do. Because I love Jesus and it's clear in Scripture that we need to demonstrate compassion and love others as ourselves. To fight human trafficking, all I needed was to know how my gifts could make a difference. And, as opportunities arise to participate. It's simply a matter of being me and being involved. For some that means working with victims. Others work with technology, web design, mentoring or after-school programs. Health care workers identify victims and point them toward appropriate services. Law enforcement rescues girls and boys from pimps.

CARE 18 is an 18-month collaborative effort in Los Angeles County made up of people who work according to their areas of expertise. The people who started it are businessmen. They are currently exploring sites for a multi-service center, promoting an effort for men to take a stand against trafficking, working on legislation, and drawing the body of Christ together to function properly, learn from one another, and expand our reach. That's the good news. That's how God's people glorify him, so why wouldn't I want to be involved?

Maybe as a follower of Christ, you do too. And CARE 18 is a great place to start. On June 6th, there's going to be a free training where you can learn about the problems and find out how to make a difference just by being you. It's an effort filled with grace--as God's grace was extended to us, we extend his love, mercy, and compassion to others. There's nothing better than that.

We CARE Catalyst Training

Saturday, June 6, 2015, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Orthopaedic Institute for Children
403 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles
FREE training (lunch included) to equip you to be a champion 
against sex trafficking of youth  
Space is limited to the first 100 participants 

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