Friday, October 17, 2014

Slavery, The Gospel and a Church Unmoved....

I came home tonight to my warm house in my gated suburban neighborhood.
I live comfortably.
I live safe.
I live most of my days not in fear.
Most of the time I don’t worry about whether I will live to see another day. It’s expected that I will wake up tomorrow morning and go about my day, free to decide my coming and goings and what I do and don’t do.

But to think that just blocks from me- there are women and children who cannot say the same. While I’m safe in my bed tonight, they’re wandering the streets. They’re staying in filthy motel rooms. They’re hiding in abandon drug houses. They don’t live in safety and freedom from worry or fear. No, they live in constant terror. These women children are modern day slaves walking by us in plain sight as we go about our ‘busy and hectic’ lives.

I cannot and do not know how to articulate what those in human trafficking endure. I have heard their stories first hand and seen the tears they have wept as they speak years of neglect, abandonment, violent physical abuse, daily sexual assault, rape, brain-washing and manipulation. This is not a Hollywood plot or a twisted novel. No, this is real life. This is their reality. This is their day to day. This is their normal.

I can give you the overwhelming statistics. I can tell you the horror stories. I can tell you about the injustice.  I can give you all the facts you want.

Yet we stand unmoved.

Ok, our hearts might hurt a little bit because of the stories we hear…yet, it doesn't affect us at the core. Like me, we can go home safe tonight. We don’t have to worry about being violated or sold for someone else’s benefit, lust and greed. We don't have to relive the nightmares of childhood molestation and rapes day after day like they do.

If we’re honest. It’s a lot easier to look away. It’s easier to avoid. It’s easier to plug our ears and say, “lalalalalala… not hearing you.” It’s easier to just think it only happens in third-world countries and not in our backyards. It’s easier to down play the severity of the issue than to see it for what it is.

I say this… knowing that I am guilty of doing this very thing. It is a constant struggle to not look away from this harsh reality and just continue living in my comfortable, suburban bubble.

But I want to call out the church here on this...

We are unmoved. 

Our hearts aren’t broken for these women and children who God created and are made in His image. We go to church every Sunday.  We have mastered the language of “Christianese.” We go to our small groups and hang out with our Christian friends who we feel accepted and comfortable with. We talk about being missional and being a light to a dark world. We raise our hands in worship and sing, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause.” Yet, all the while, our hearts aren’t stirred and broken for those we encounter every day who are headed for a Christ-less eternity. Often times, our lives are more about our cause and our agenda rather than for the Kingdom.

 It’s easier to stay in our comfortable little bubble than wake up to the brokenness that surrounds us.
It’s easier to stay unmoved than to ask God to break us. 
Because when we ask Him- He will.

His Kingdom’s cause isn’t about getting more stuff, driving fancy cars and living for the weekends… His Kingdom’s cause is about redemption. It’s about the Gospel redeeming brokenness. His Kingdom is about seeing dead men made alive through the power of the cross. His Kingdom’s cause is about every tribe and tongue confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. So when we ask God for a broken heart and we surrender to His Cause, most likely, we will get our hands dirty. We'll be called to love and serve the lowest of the low- the ones society wants to ignore and turn from. We'll probably go places that will make us uncomfortable. It won't be easy. It won't be risk-free. It won't be pain-free. It won’t be pretty or glamorous. It won’t make CNN headlines or put us on the cover of PEOPLE Magazine. His Kingdom- asks for everything- all of us. Every part of our lives given for His purposes and will to be done. 

What is the solution to our depraved indifference?

1.) Our hearts must be captured by the Gospel. 

We must see our dire need and dependency upon it. We must see that it is truly the solution for every issue- big or small. We must believe that the Gospel is actually transformational and that nothing is too big that the Gospel can’t redeem. The Gospel must be our beginning and our ending. It must be the center and the sole dictator in how we view the world and those around us. 
The Gospel is what this world needs.
These women don’t need just help getting a GED or helping them love themselves or build back their self-esteem- they need the Gospel. That is the solution. This is where healing is found. The pimps and johns- they need the Gospel. Lust, porn addictions and greed isn't the core issue. Yes, that is an outflow of the fact they are dead in their sin. But the core of all of this is the fact that they do not know Christ. They are enemies of God doing only what they believe to be right in their own eyes. They need Jesus. They need the Gospel.  So if the Gospel is the transforming solution for every human heart then we must be drenched in the Gospel if we are going to bring it to the lost.  
We must get the Gospel.
Live the Gospel.
Believe the Gospel.
Proclaim the Gospel.

The Gospel and the strength of the Holy Spirit working through us, is the only thing that will sustain and enable us to love and serve these men, women and children. Human will-power, our own human sense of injustice will not carry us through to see human trafficking come to and end. 

The Gospel is what will stop human trafficking. 

2.) We must be broken. 

“God must have broken things. Those who are broken in wealth, and broken in self-will, and broken in their ambitions, and broken in their beautiful ideals, and broken in their worldly reputation, and broken in their affections, and broken often times in their health; those who are despised and seem utterly forlorn and helpless, the Holy Ghost is seizing upon and using for God’s glory.”
–Thomas Toke Bunch

We must be broken over our sin- knowing that we are no better than anyone else. We aren't holier, or more loved by God because of our perfect church attendance, or the fact that we're good people. When we are broken over our own sin and we see God's grace covering us, we will have a lot more love, grace and compassion for those who are lost. We must be broken. Like the quote above states- God must have broken vessels who have died to self and vain ambitions and mediocrity. Our only aim and desire must be to lift high the Name of Jesus and see His Kingdom advanced and lives redeemed.

3.) We must be called to anguish. 

“Anguish means extreme pain and distress. The emotions stirred that it becomes painful. Acute deeply felt inner pain because of the conditions about you, in you or around you. Anguish. Deep pain. Deep sorrow. The agony of God’s heart. We've held on to our religious rhetoric and our revival talk but we've become so passive. All true passion is born out of anguish. All true passion for Christ comes out of a baptism of anguish. You’ll search the Scriptures and you’ll find that when God determined to recover a ruined situation, He would share His own anguish, for what God saw happening to His Church and to His People. He would find a praying man and He would take that man and literally baptize him in anguish…. You see, a true prayer life begins at the place of anguish. You see, if you set your heart to pray, God is going to come and start sharing His heart with you… There is going to be no renewal, no revival, no awakening, until we are willing to let Him once again break us.” 
– David Wilkerson (excerpt from “A Call to Anguish”)

Our hearts must not stay where they are at. We must experience the anguish and brokenness of God’s heart for the lost. We cannot stay indifferent any longer. We must know the Gospel. Our hearts must be captured by it. We must be broken and called to anguish. We must be on our knees for our cities and nation.

 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
-2 Chronicles 7:14

I wonder how different our cities, our nation and world would look if we actually humbled ourselves and in anguish we prayed and sought the Lord. If we turned from our wickedness, our indifference, our comfort and ease… If we actually believed that the Gospel is greater and bigger than we ever thought possible and it truly changes everything… Maybe, just maybe...we'll have revival again.

 Come, Lord Jesus, come and move Your people to action. 

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