I love to go speak to churches, businesses, men’s groups, ladies’ groups, football teams, basketball teams, student bodies…heck…I pretty much like going anywhere they’ll give me a microphone and some people I can talk to. I get to do this from time to time, but during the months following the release of the movie Woodlawn, I had the opportunity to speak to probably over 100 different groups. In all these forums whatever the racial makeup, one of the things I have said is, “Mankind doesn’t have a race problem. We have a SIN problem.” I believe that to be the truth. Racism is real and needs to be dealt with objective actions that can restrain what may be in the hearts of humanity. Still, the underlying issue is a spiritual issue that requires the Supernatural intervention of Someone Whose love is greater than our sin.
The fact that forced slavery is still in many countries emphasizes the fact that mankind doesn’t necessarily see each person as being created in the image of God and therefore having value and dignity by his/her mere existence. It also indicates that this problem isn’t relegated to the United States, but instead is unfortunately global in prevalence.
The map above (courtesy of The Global Slavery Index https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/)
illustrates the prevalence of slavery around the world today. It also lists the top ten countries in terms of prevalence. The numbers next to the names of the countries is the probability per 1000 people of being enslaved. In North Korea or Eritrea in Central Africa, you have roughly a 1 in 10 chance of being enslaved. Obviously, something is wrong and it isn’t race. In many of these places, the populations are largely homogenous. That is, the massive oppression and exploitation of people is happening not because of racism, but because of something else. I don’t know the exact “sociological” cause. But, for some reason the thought of the “Seven Deadly Sins,” came to my mind. I’m not sure how all these could contribute, but I’m pretty sure about some of them.
Pride—“I am better than these…”
Greed—“Free labor allows us to make more money…”
Envy—“We deserve to have what others have so we’ll exploit these people to get it…”
Lust—Much of the slavery is sex slavery. No need to guess on this one. Greed obviously contributes.
Sloth—“I don’t need to do the work. I’ll exploit people to do it for me.”
Gluttony—Not sure on this one.
Wrath—I have to believe that some of the slavery around the world is due to having been vanquished by a conquering force, or due to political dissension. (See China’s Organ Harvesting Program).
Any of these sinful patterns of relating to the world can lead to horrific exploitation and oppression of other people created in the image of God. In light of this what should we do?
Two options that definitely won’t help are: 1. Do nothing and hope it gets better. 2. Take the matter into your own hands and try to “fix” everything through vengeful acts of wrath.
As believers, we MUST pray (which is an action), and we must do what we can to affect change in our society. This can be through serving, helping, initiating legislative discussions, listening, loving, and learning. We can give to organizations that are helping minorities and other marginalized people in ways consistent with what God says.
No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. Jer. 22:3
Let’s be people of action, God’s way. Please share your thoughts and any ways you know of that we can help!
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.