Paper Tigers & Impressing God
A Write 31 Days Series
We have come to the point in my series where I begin to wonder if we should do anything.
We have discussed how grace covers our sins and propitiation means that His blood has finished the need for sacrifice. We have expressed how we cannot impress God by our good behavior or our good works.
As my favorite song Dust by King’s Kaleidoscope says, “I’m realizing, that all my striving is chasing wind, is chasing wind, but you freed me, so I can just be. Nothing to prove, nothing to lose.”
Do we just “be”? Is that what the spiritually mature do?
Today I joined a couple hundred people in my city walking in the #walkforfreedom to bring awareness to modern slavery and the A21 campaign to end slavery in the 21st century. All over the world, other Christians were also walking in solidarity with those trapped in voiceless places in this broken world.
As I walked today, I remembered a girl in Ethiopia. A woman that worked for the organization I had traveled with was our guide for the day as we visited ministries in the capital city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The woman was telling everyone that her daughter was getting so big, almost 3 years old. I asked who was watching her daughter while she escorted us around town. She told me a story I will never forget. She said that she had a live in helper, a young lady going to school. She told me some of the young woman’s story. She had lived outside the city, and her family had forced her into marriage to an older man at 16-years-old. Instead of marrying the older man, she decided to run away. She was able to find extended relatives to live with. This extended family had a store. They were happy to put her to work, but they refused to pay her. She would work all day, everyday in the store with no pay. She finally got enough courage to run away from yet another unjust situation. My new friend had found her and offered to let her live with at her home; she had enrolled her in school and began employing and paying her for work as a live in nanny. This young girl had escaped forced teen marriage and modern day slavery.
We may think that this is just a problem in places like Ethiopia; that it is just a problem that Africa and Asia face, but this is a problem we face here in America too.
Recently in my American, Texan Sunday school class one of the youth asked for prayer for her aunt who was schizophrenic, addicted to drugs, and had tried to sell her cousin.
Trafficking not only happens in our country, in our city, but it happens within our circle of acquaintances.
As I walked, I not only thought of and prayed for the slaves we were standing in the gap for, I also thought of and prayed for the people in the cars driving past our single file line of freedom walkers.
We were dramatic, all in black, some of us adorned with tape across our mouths to signify the silence of the 27 million slaves in the world today who are unable to speak up for themselves.
I prayed that awareness would be brought to people who need to know the church cared about hurting people. I prayed that awareness would be brought to people who have resources to help. I prayed that awareness would be brought to people who are a part of the problem, who need a heart change.
Just then, a big, black truck pulled to a stop at the intersection. We broke our chain to let him turn. His truck was littered with bumper stickers, one which was impossible to ignore. He had a sticker that said, “I support single moms” with a silhouette of a woman on a stripper pole. You can’t make this stuff up. (He also had a sticker supporting a certain political candidate, which is neither here nor there - or is it both here and there?)
The Lord’s prayer says this, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
It is God’s will that the justice that we will only experience in Heaven be brought down to earth. That can only be accomplished by God, and He allows us to take part in bringing justice to the world around us.
I imagine a woman who has been trafficked, who is living everyone’s worst nightmare as a modern day slave. Would she care if we are being spiritually mature or resting in just being His bride? Or would she be moved that we as a church are acknowledging her pain and suffering, raising money and awareness that could possibly lead to her rescue?
I don’t think we are off the hook. I don’t think we are called to just rest in Him. There is more to discuss. We are only half way through #write31days, we will continue to wrestle through how to live a Christian life not fearing paper tigers or trying to impress God.
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Congratulations on the Nobel Prize, Bob.