- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about human trafficking?
There are two individuals involved in human trafficking; the thief, who steals part of another person’s life, and the victim, who loses the freedom we all cherish so dearly.
Let us begin by trying to understand how this problem was created. God created us in His image, so He treasures us as a mother does her children, to the point of searching for every last one of us, Matt 18:12, “How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?” Only when we ignore God’s calling and elevate our ways and self-interests above God’s ways, can we even begin to imagine a world where some people should have the right to steal another person’s freedom. These thieves imagine they have this right, but this perversion can only happen when we remove God from our lives.
The Bible teaches us that respect elevated to its highest-level produces fear, defined as awe. Once we believe in a God who created everything and can do anything, we gain this great feeling of awe, Prov 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Our awe grows into love when we learn this being with all this power loves us, 1 Jn 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.” Our love leads us to obey Him, not because we are afraid of Him but rather because we love Him, so we obey when He warns us about killing or stealing, Ex 20:13, 15, “Thou shalt not kill…Thou shalt not steal.” He asks us to live through the Spirit not the flesh, Rom 8:13, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” which leads us to elevate His Word above our wants, when they are in conflict. The thief cares little about God or His advice, and because he/she does not believe, he/she certainly is not in awe of God, Heb 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
However, God is very clear about the evil the thief has perpetrated, the punishment will be death, Ex 21:16, “And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” and Deut 24:7, “If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.” God tells us how to minimize evil, by enforcing laws and punishing the guilty, thus making it less attractive for future thieves. It is difficult to imagine what goes through the minds of these thieves, Matt 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” however, they surely are not listening to God, for they would not want to become victims of human trafficking themselves!
We need not spend any more time on the thieves, for even though God is still offering them salvation; it is very difficult to imagine many of them accepting it. But, that is a matter between them and God. So, we will move on to the victims and God’s love for them.
We call those who have lost their freedom victims, God calls them to adoption as His children, Gal 3:26-28, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” they need only believe in Jesus and do the will of the Father, Rom 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” and Matt 12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
But, how can people ravaged by pain and imprisoned against their will ever find Jesus? God has a plan to get His message to everyone. He sends His servants into the prisons, into the dens of iniquity, into the halls of Congress, and into the lives of each of us. It then becomes our responsibility to grab that message and reason with it, until the love of God leads us to the feet of Jesus. Paul tells us that he and Silas were sent to prison and they used the opportunity to pray and sing songs of praise unto God, and the other prisoners heard them, Acts 16:25, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” This is an example of how He brings His message to all of us if we are willing to listen. We all know people who are ignoring God’s calling, even though we are whispering His Word to them.
God asks us, even if we are slaves, to be obedient to our masters, 1 Pet 2:18-19, ”Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” There are two main reasons He asks us to be obedient. First, so that those who have power over our earthly bodies will not add to our suffering. And, secondly, so others can see our suffering and the light God has given us to endure it, without complaining, which will lead some of those witnesses to Jesus. This is part of His evangelism process.
Eph 6:5-8, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:” This action might be the only path out of the horrors of slavery. These masters might see the quality of the service of their slaves and give them just enough freedom to allow them to escape, Deut 23:15-16, “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.” When they do escape, we should provide a safe place for them, as God will be using us to fulfill His promise to them, 1 Cor 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” When we are slaves, we might not see the way of escape, however, if we listen to God, we will become alert and He will provide a way, 1 Cor 7:21, “Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.” Freeing our souls is the first step and many times it leads directly to the freeing of our earthly bodies. But, for some, freedom will only come after Jesus’ return. When we are enduring pain and suffering, it seems like it will never end. However, when we are finally living in eternity, it will all seem like a bad dream never to be repeated.
God creates leaders to free many slaves at once; like Moses, who God used to lead millions out of slavery in Egypt; or, the American armies He sent into WWII to free millions from Hitler and his allies; or, people like Martin Luther King to speed the process of ending racial discrimination. It is not yet perfect, because there are still too many thieves living lives independent from God. We are each called to do our part in the freeing of slaves. Sometimes, we are helping them escape the thieves who have imprisoned them, and sometimes, we help them escape the chains of sin they have willingly accepted. Either way, we have a part to play in ending slavery.
If you want to join the fight against human trafficking, here is a link to a list of organizations working on it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_organizations_that_combat_human_trafficking
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