If technology has done anything it has made the world into our backyard. As a Christian this should not only be exciting, but should prove to be anxious because it marks that the return of Christ could be extremely immediate. So the forcefully advancing church needs to be more forceful in it’s advancement on evil in the world.
My journey with IJM started about seven years ago when, as a youth minister, I taught a curriculum called, “The Justice Mission” produced by Youth Specialties. It was by far the most powerful series I had ever led. It began series of life changing decisions and prompted me to continually ask the question, “What should I be doing?”
Today I am a supporter financially and prayerfully and participate in the IJM Institute where we try to help the local church spread the word about our responsibility to bring justice to the world, and to fight injustice at all costs. So, obviously Bethany’s piece is one I was invested in even before I read it. Now after reading it I wish every Christian would have the opportunity to be challenged by her words.
As I hear Kunthy and Chanda’s story and hear the countless other stories IJM has the privilege of telling I begin to ask the same questions:
Why not me, or even my children?
Is the major reason that these girls were subjected to this kind of abuse that they weren’t American?
How can I ignore the astonishing amount of grace involved in my being born into the situation I was born into?
Knowing what I know now, what should I do?
How much would providing clean water, adequate medical care, and physical nourishment stem the tide of oppression?
What would I do if it were Shelbi, or Baili, or Mallori in these stories?
As a born again believer and follower of Christ is it excusable to do nothing?”
I am ashamed of the fact that I have not done enough financially, prayerfully, or vocationally to fight injustice in the world. I am haunted by the fact that the majority of secure, wealthy, and church going people are able to ignore the plight of so many. I am encouraged that there are organizations like IJM who are not only rescuing the victims, but rehabilitating them and are not only freeing them from the abuse of the criminals but are helping to prosecute them and are not only investigating the claims of oppression but are educating the Church and the various law enforcement agencies on the impact of sexual trafficking of children and the oppression of widows and orphans.
One of the things we, as a family, are doing to try to help stem the tide of abuse is adopt. A second thing involves being active in going into the third world personally to bring the good news to people, because the more people that are born again the more light there is that will be shed on oppressive situations. Thirdly, we support IJM and Compassion International financially and prayerfully. Lastly, we try to spread the word locally that there is a problem and the Church has a responsibility to bring freedom from the bondage of sin both spiritually and physically.
My hope is that the few of you who will read this article will be moved with me to do similar, if not more significant things for people like Kunthy and Chanda. After all, it’s your responsibility as a born again person.
Growing up in a fairly conservative home, and adopting very conservative views, and voting for “conservative” officials has been my MO. And it will most likely continue to be my MO. The issue I continue to face, though, is that having “family values” and believing in “little government” and being a part of the moral majority continues to erode my ability to have spiritual conversations.
I first heard of Ron’s 4 part story from Rob Bell last summer when he did a series based upon the four parts and it enabled me to make new connections between the OT and NT that help more clearly define what Jesus did and is doing and wants to do now through His people.
The article has also brought to the surface one of my major concerns with how we “bring people to Christ.” Although it wasn’t a focus of the article it still is of great concern to me. In reading two other books recently the view of God as a judge ranks significantly higher in prominence in Christians and non-Christians. The prevailing view of Christians of what it means to be a Christian daily has an unhealthy focus on not sinning. It sounds nothing like the abundant life, a life free from the bondage of sin, and really causes me to ask the questions “Are these people really saved? Has Jesus been submitted to completely and does He live in them? or have we made this coming to Christ thing a little too elementary and have we made a huge mistake in divorcing works from salvation.”
I’m not saying that we are saved by works, but what I am saying is that a desire to do work that ushers in the new culture of Christ, this new Kingdom of Heaven on earth, must accompany salvation. If it doesn’t then as James says, the faith is dead, and in fact never lived to begin with. Because of that many look at “church people” and see no change, and so there is no obvious advantage to the outsiders of figuring out who Jesus is.
What is frightening is that I perceive that very few “church people” can have the four part discussion, or would even want to.
Where do we see the first person conversations and how do we join it and expand people’s understanding to move toward a conversation that includes second person dimensions?
What do you think?