On behalf of the 2018 Annual Day of Prayer for Human Trafficking Victims approaching us, we are republishing articles of the Revive Magazine July-September 2018 publication with the theme: Restore Broken Dreams: Facing up to the global challenges of modern slavery.
Knowing that we are of value to God
The Bible helps us to understand that God created every human being in his own likeness, and therefore people are to be treated with care and respect. Exodus 33:11 describes how God spoke to Moses face-to-face, as to a friend. We can see our relationship with God is that of a friend not a slave.
Every life is of great value to God. He created us in his likeness (Genesis 1:27) and he blessed his creation (v 28) and saw that ‘it was very good’ (v 31).
God teaches us in the Ten Commandments to show love and respect for our neighbour (Exodus 20:16-17). Jesus summed up the Law and the Prophets by emphasising the importance of our treatment of others: ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you’ (Matthew 7:12). That treatment also includes speaking up for others (Proverbs 31:8-9): ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy’. These principles apply to those who are hurting through the actions of others, including people who are trafficked.
There is possibly no greater scriptural condemnation of human trafficking than what the Bible says about human creation. In Genesis 1:26-27 we read that men and women have been created in God’s image, which speaks of our value to him. A person is not a commodity to be bought and sold, or used and discarded, because we are each an image-bearer of God and as such we are important to him. That importance is lovingly reflected in his gift of Jesus to be our Saviour from sin and to bring us back into a right relationship with our Creator.
How can we help thosewho are trafficked? We need to pray for those caught up in trafficking. James 5:16 urges us to pray for one another. In exercising the power of prayer, we bring our concerns to God for those who suffer.
- We need to speak out. We cannot remain silent (Proverbs 31:8-9). People in our communities and at corps are sometimes unaware of the evil of human trafficking and wonder how they can make a difference. Perhaps God is calling you to be someone who will speak out and help to provide justice for those without a voice and victims of trafficking?
- We must act to help those in bondage and there are various things we can do. We might volunteer in an anti-trafficking programme, support such efforts financially or raise awareness of trafficking in the communities where we live.
Human trafficking is a gross indignity against men, women and children who have been created in God’s image. As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to pray and to speak out against human trafficking and modern slavery in order to bring about change.
What about domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse within a dating, cohabiting or marriage relationship is evidenced when one partner uses power and control over the other. This control may be apparent in various forms of abuse that affect a person’s physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, financial and spiritual well-being. All forms of domestic abuse are harmful and will often have a long-term impact on survivors, even after they escape the situation.
It is hard to come to terms with the reality that domestic abuse can happen in our churches at the hands of fellow Christians and church leaders. Many victims of abuse suffer in silence due to the shame and failure of the Church to address domestic violence.
The main perpetrators of abuse are husbands and boyfriends, although it is important to note that men can also be victims of abuse by a partner. Whenever an individual is abused, it is a serious violation of God-given personhood and the human rights of freedom and justice. As such, it is critical for corps to break the silence on domestic abuse and advocate for the end of such violence.
What does the Bible say?
In the Bible, especially the Old Testament, there are stories of violence, rape, slavery and war. In 2 Samuel Chapter 13 we read about the abuse of Tamar. Sometimes women are urged to keep silent about their experiences of domestic violence, to stay with an abusive partner and even to justify abuse.
The Bible views all forms of domestic violence including verbal abuse (Colossians 3:8) as sin. God’s heart is to protect the abused (Psalm 5:11), to provide refuge (Psalm 7:1), to hear the cry of the afflicted (Psalm 10:17), and to rescue (Psalm 140:1-2). In Colossians 3:19 husbands are called to love their wives, by providing for their physical and emotional needs with sensitivity and gentleness and by encouraging them to become what God created them to be. Any form of abuse is unacceptable and defies God’s calling for Christ’s followers to relate to each other in love.
The teaching and example of Jesus
In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells a parable to reveal how a vulnerable person (a widow) was almost denied justice but for her persistence. John 8:1-11 records the encounter of Jesus with the woman who was caught in adultery and who, according to the Jewish Law, would be stoned to death. When all her accusers had left, Jesus told her: ‘Go and leave your life of sin.’ Other occasions when Jesus showed compassion and brought healing and restoration to women include Luke 8:43 and John 4:6-42.
Through the life and death of Jesus we see God’s stance against all forms evil including violence, oppression, and abuse.