Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Practical Steps

I blogged yesterday out of frustration because although I want desperately to follow God, I don’t always know how that’s supposed to look or what exactly I’m supposed to do. I feel like my current walk is shallow, anemic and stale. I was hoping to find a guide somewhere that would match passions and talents with the various needs in the world, but as far as I can tell, there has yet to be one written. And naturally my fear is that if ever there were a book like this written, it would be so full of legalism that glorifying God wouldn’t even be a consideration.

That is also the main reason why I wouldn’t want to be the one to write it.

I think the reason for the lack of a specific step-by-step road maps in our various journeys to obey God is because often He wants us to encounter the people who live off the beaten path. Frequently what we do with a calling when we don’t know exactly what to do is much more worthwhile than any plan could have afforded.

And yet God didn’t leave us completely hanging. A lot of His commands are at best vague, but seeking out other verses in the Scriptures can help clarify their intent.

One of my passions is to seek justice for the oppressed. But there are so many injustices happening in the world today. How does one get started in seeking justice? What will happen once we put one foot in front of the other on the path to securing justice for the 27 million slaves in the world today? Will it be dangerous? Will God show up? Am I willing to sacrifice my comfort, security and control for those 27 million? What would Jesus do?

I just finished reading Gary Haugen’s latest book, Just Courage. I am not a fast reader and yet I finished it in less than two days. Most of you would probably finish it in an afternoon. I started reading it right after I had blogged, and I’m telling you, God is so good. A lot of the questions that I had asked in my post were answered in the book. Some of my questions were in there word for word. How’s that for divine intervention? Who can question whether God is speaking to us today?!

If I posted the highlights of the book for me here, I’d basically have to type the whole thing out. So do yourselves a favor and go read it. I’d love to discuss it with you.

One of the most practical applications that I read about was considering myself as the one being oppressed. And then I listed out what I would want someone to do for me to save me from the injustice. Basically, I applied the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12). And it was that simple. Why hadn’t I thought of it before?

There are people being oppressed right here in my town. I already know of local organizations that are rescuing them out of it. And now I know I have a better idea of how I can help these organizations help the victims. I am mighty encouraged today and thanking my God for allowing me the opportunity of having the joy that comes from loving Him and loving my neighbor.

Because awareness creates the social demand necessary to bring change, consider doing a little research yourself on modern day slavery. National Geographic Magazine had a feature story in 2003 about it. You can find a portion of the article here.

Then you can also visit the International Justice Mission website to see for yourself what is being done in Christ’s name to rescue the oppressed that God so passionately loves.

And you can pick up and read the two other books by Gary Haugen, Good News about injustice and Terrify No More. I’m actually reading through Terrify No More right now, and I have read and blogged and blogged some more about Good News of Injustice before. Mr. Haugen is an extraordinary communicator, and I feel braver after reading about how he has successfully rescued a number of slaves around the world. God makes him brave, and He wants to make me brave too. I don’t know where this bravery would take me, but I do know that if I take this passion, my God-given talents and ask God to help me seek justice, that I will.

2 comments:

Kevin said...

Hi Chloeadele,

Thanks for a great post. You raise an important question about what we need to do to bring slavery to an end. I think you might like to look at my new book: Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves. It is a 25 year plan for the eradication of global slavery. Working on that question for many years I was happily surprised to discover that helping the 27 million come out of slavery won't require great sacrifices from most of us, just small but regular actions that stay the course until the job is done. Your prayers, contributions, and support, in small ways or large, are all it takes - as long as we can get lots of people doing the same.

To learn more about how we are ending slavery every day, visit our website at www.freetheslaves.net - we often work closely with IJM and know them well. The estimate of 27 million in slavery, by the way, comes from my book Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.

On our website you can also watch our new film about slavery in America today - it is called Dreams Die Hard and it just won the Grand Prize at the Telluride Film Festival.
Warm wishes,
Kevin Bales

chloeadele said...

Kevin,

I'm a bit flabbergasted that you found my blog. Thank you for commenting. I am familiar with freetheslaves.net and your books. 'Ending Slavery' is on my to-read-next list, and I look forward to seeing more practical steps that someone like me and my family and friends can take to help end slavery.

God bless you for being a light in the dark world of injustice.