|Light of the World 2, Aaron Booth, c. Treasure State Photography|
I thought about giving up church a few years ago, but only long enough to consider the reasons why. They weren't good enough. My problems stemmed from humanity's sinfulness. Though I may not like the behavior of some "Christians," that's no reason to disconnect from a body of believers who gathers together for worship, learning, accountability, communion, fellowship--and service.
Hebrews 10:21-25 reminds us all that:
since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a ]sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.How others live out their faith isn't my business. It's God I live to please, and He wants me to be part of His Church. (Besides aren't those who truly love Jesus, the ones who should be taking the lead in church?) On Saturday morning, July 25th, that's what happened as CARE 18's Faith Initiative Against Trafficking brought many Christian leaders from different churches and nonprofits together at Purpose Church in Pomona.
Human trafficking and its underlying justice issues--poverty, orphans, the right to life and dignity, ideology, and broken relationships--became a catalyst that united different ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic groups, and denominations. Together we discussed solutions and formed partnerships that can break the chains of horrendous evil. And, in the process we free ourselves from a purposeless existence and self-absorbed lives as we attempt to bring about justice in an unjust world.
The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) has elevated man's wretchedness to new heights--blatant disregard for God and others has turned sex into lust for a commodity rather than the intimate relationship designed by God between a man and a woman. Greed--that's worth repeating-- GREED has turned precious young lives into disposable money-making machines that service one client after another, sometimes dozens in one night.
This past week I learned that pimps make up to $35,000 a week. The International Labor Organization reports that trafficking is a $150 billion criminal enterprise--more than the gross national product of some countries. The demand for children continues growing for those who are younger and younger. Recently I watched a big burly black police officer choke up as he described the youngest victim they'd rescued as being only 10 years old.
It's about the children, so many are at risk. A couple of days ago, an L.A. Times article, "No Room at the Inn for Innocence," by Joe Mozingo provided a snapshot of the conditions that make these kids eager to exchange the bondage of poverty and loneliness for the lies of a human trafficker. Yet Christ's love lives in His people and that love can break through slavery's bondage as believers get involved with the work of nonprofits like Royal Family Kids and iEmpathize. Organizations like these offer hope and escape from exploitation.
The Church was set apart in the heavenlies for God's good purposes. When those living in the light of Christ work together, the bondage of slavery can be broken. Every ONE Free, the host for the FIAT event encourages believers to "do one thing." What one thing will you do? What one thing can your church do?