I’m In It to End It, Too!
Note to the reader: I offer these thoughts in the utmost humility, not as an indictment of anyone else, but as a personal reflection. I am very proud of the End It Movement, and I applaud the countless advocates rising up. I am not looking for controversy or offense; I am simply seeking to offer a different perspective.
For days now, my Facebook and Twitter have blown up with pictures of red x’s, clever hashtags, and a barrage of promises to commit to something vague in order “to end trafficking”. And I must admit, I am a little afraid. I am afraid that the women and children I have grown to love in Southern Asia, the ones I know by name and not just by statistic..that these dear ones will never benefit from this new movement.
You see, for quite some time now, my family and I have been in the trenches “to end trafficking.” We direct a girls’ rescue home; we empower women and children; we work in the fields of both prevention and intervention. We do this day after day, not simply when the calendar says it is “the day to fast and pray to end trafficking”. (If you know us at all, you know that we definitely support these initiatives and are thankful for them).
But we know something that you may not…this is hard stuff. Brutal, as in, it will leave you wide open, bleeding, and completely raw. Excruciating, as in, your heart will shatter every time you have to watch that woman, that little child, be swept right back in to that pit you fought so fiercely to bring them out of. We have invested our time, our energy, our money, our hearts, our very selves into the women and children who are forced to live and work inside Southern Asia’s sullen brothels. We know their stories, and they know ours. And still, many of them remain…in the very situation we pray so earnestly to change. Change rarely ever roars.
What these precious people need is not another well-wisher or do-gooder to take up their cause. They certainly don’t need someone else to pity them or to risk being exploited all over again by someone cashing in on their condition. What they need is for someone to be for something..not merely against it.
Yes, I am against slavery. I am against the buying and selling of human flesh, the very humans who are created in the image of Almighty God. I am against trafficking in every sense of the word. Yet, these things alone don’t require too much on my part. Everyone is against something.
But it isn’t about what I am against. That’s the easy part. It all boils down to what I am for. I am for freedom. I am for redemption. I am for every person on earth being set free from every type of chain, both physically and spiritually. I am for lasting community transformation. And this, this takes so much more.
Awareness is easy. And necessary. But it is not the end. Without action, we just have glorified sympathy. And sympathy alone never changed anything. Not a single thing.
Dear reader and friend, as you raise high your red-stained hand, please do stand in solidarity with the 27+ million slaves in the world today. Please do continue to raise awareness. But please do something more. Lay down your temporary cause and pick up the ultimate call.
The women and children working the streets and working in the brothels in Southern Asia absolutely do not need you just to champion another cause. They need you to answer the call! They need you to stand with them long after the movement has moved on, past the point where the passion fades, beyond the time it took to lift your hand and say “ I care”.
If you really want to end it, commit your life to it. Causes are contagious and trendy and romantic and beautiful and fast-paced. Calls, however, are hard and scary and slow-moving and messy and unglamorous. A burden, a cause, will light your fire, but only a call will ensure that fire actually spreads.
If you really want to end it, follow the advice of the dear Bible teacher who has had such profound influence on us throughout the years:
“Trying to accomplish long-term goals with short-term commitments is difficult. Most of the peoples left to reach are hard to reach. What is needed is the commitment of a life…a language to learn, a culture to know, a people to love, a Truth to speak, a ch**ch to plant, leaders to train — this is the pouring out of a life. May God grant more of this high and holy and hard calling.”
— excerpted from the writings of John Piper
Originally published at www.singforjoyteam.org.