Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Yoke of Oppression

Isaiah 58:5-12

Justice can be a hard pill to swallow.  I am not talking about the kind of justice you see in a court, but the kind of justice that means to treat others fairly; to treat people the way you would want to be treated.  There are many injustices in our society and world that quite frankly are addressed by a few people and it is time for the church to open her eyes and see what pains God.  My 12 year old son approached me a few days ago about wanting to fast so he could grow in his relationship with God.  I was so proud to hear him say that, but then it got me thinking about fasts.  God doesn't want a fast to be just something we do and then move on with our lives; there needs to be a heart change in the process.  Today, I read a section of scripture that isn't always easy to read because it can be very convicting.  Please look up Isaiah 58:5-12.

Wow, those are some difficult verses to read because those offences that God wanted to see the Israelites do away with are still with us today.  He wants so much more from us than just go to church and small group; He wants us to live it out. We have homeless and hungry people right in our own backyards.  We have people who need clothing.  And we have oppression - slavery.

One topic that many of us are hearing about more and more is human trafficking.  I used to think that was something that happened mostly in Asian and African countries, which is wrong.  Human trafficking happens here in the U.S. and in at least 160 countries in the world.  I attempted to find statistics on human trafficking in the U.S.; however, I found such a wide range of statistics that it is hard to find accuracy.  Part of the problem is the fact that we just don't know how much trafficking happens because so much of it goes unreported.  What I can say it that thousands of women and children are trafficked in the U.S. every year.  I read estimates of 700,000 to 4 million women and children are trafficked around the world every year.

What can we do?  First and foremost we pray - we pray for wisdom in this situation, we pray for the oppressed, we ask God how we can help.  We can spread the word and become more aware of the signs of human trafficking.  I remember the shock I felt a few years ago when I found out that there was a human trafficking sting just a few miles from my home in Michigan.  Through prayer and finances we can support Christ-centered organizations that fight human trafficking and minister to those they rescue from human trafficking.  Maybe God is calling you to work with such an organization.

Here are a few websites I found that you can look up to help you understand how overwhelming the situation is what is currently being done:

International Justice Mission
World Hope
Women At Risk International

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