My Growing Awareness of Poverty and Injustice
This awareness is a gift from God.
People have often asked me why I am so passionate about helping all those people who are suffering in desperate conditions of poverty and slavery. The answer is very simple. My passion comes from my growing awareness, and God is my teacher.
First Comes Learning
God has found a lot of different ways to teach me about the problems of poverty and injustice. One of the first things that happened was meeting Mike King. He’s trying to do a new kind of youth ministry, one that helps kids understand what’s going on in the world. Hanging out with him has taught me a lot about poverty.
Mike introduced me to the Something to Eat program. By participating in that, I’ve learned how to teach young people about poverty, and provide them with opportunities to serve starving people.
That experience has been awesome, so when I read about human trafficking in the newspaper, I asked Mike about it. He introduced me to the Not For Sale Campaign. I’ve been honored to partner with them for several years now, finding ways to free slaves and bring them to safety, and then restore their souls.
The more I learned about problems like hunger and slavery, the more I read about them. The more I learned, the more profoundly the suffering of these people gripped my heart.
Next Comes Empathy
I have boys of my own now, and I’m feeling a strong fathering instinct. I know that I would do whatever it takes to be sure they are fed. I feel this powerful sense of compassion for them, and I want to make sure my family is safe.
I used to wonder why teenagers are homeless. Why would they run away from home? Then I spent time at shelters for homeless youth, and I learned something shocking. Yes, some of them are runaways. But a lot of them have come out to their parents and said that they are gay, and their parents kicked them out. These kids are on the street because their parents want nothing to do with them, just because of their sexuality.
When they get kicked out of their homes, they get trafficked. They get sent out as prostitutes. They have go. If they don’t, they won’t eat. If they don’t, they could get killed. Something like 80% of the girls in one of the shelters I visited had been trafficked at one point in time, or had been raped, or had to have sex for money to live. They have no choice in this. Do it, or die. Even if these kids physically survive, they die inside. There’s a lot of restoration work to be done.
How do you even make sense of this? I can’t! This is not light, it is evil! I would never throw my son out on his own, saying, “Fend for yourself.” The opposite is true. I would do anything to keep my sons safe!
Time For a Movement of Love
It’s so sad, and so confusing. It’s happening right here, in our own country. There’s not nearly enough love. There’s not even enough understanding of the concept of love. And I just don’t get that. I don’t understand where our thoughts and intentions are when it comes to love.
Maybe I used to understand. Or maybe I never really understood. Maybe there was a time when I could just ignore it, or shrug it off.
But now I’m not okay with any of it. I really feel for the people that are trying to do whatever it takes, and they still can’t feed their children. That would be devastating to me. Like I said, it grips my heart.
All of these things are hitting me because God is showing me. This is God’s concern! So the more I pray about it, and the more I ask Him to show me awareness, the more He responds. He is always showing me more.
And you know what? It doesn’t overwhelm me! It doesn’t make me say, “God, there’s no way I can ever help. This is too much.”
Actually, it stirs me. It stirs me to want to join or start a movement. I’m not saying I want to start an organization. I have one of those already. I want to start a movement. Think of what Martin Luther King, Jr. did. He caused a whole country to embrace his dream and say, “Whatever it takes, we need to create justice where there is injustice.”
I know Dr. King died for that. But the movement continued, because God is moving in the world, and stirring His children. He is stirring me. Is He stirring you?