As we read through the New Testament, we see the beginnings of a fractured world being mended together. In life Jesus drew all types to himself and through his death made the Lord accessible to all people.
“And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” Luke 10:29-36
Jesus challenges traditional Israelite worldviews by (1) teaching that a Samaritan, a member of an out-group and someone largely be regarded with ill-repute, could be a better neighbor and protector than a fellow Israelite; and, (2) asking his listeners to desire to associate themselves with that historic enemy of Israel.
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said,“How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him…Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.” Acts 8:26-31, 35-38
Here Philip, a disciple of Jesus, enthusiastically provides a witness to the Ethiopian Eunuch. Put off by neither his station in the Ethiopian court or his ethnic heritage, when asked Philip explains passages from the scriptures, shares the good news, and baptizes the Eunuch.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” Revelations 7:9
In a vision John sees that the Lord will be surrounded and worshipped by people from “all tribes and peoples and languages” leading the reader to conclude that no special pedigree will be needed for entry into the heavenly kingdom. All will be welcome if they believe in the Lord Jesus as their savior.
As followers of Christ we are charged to grow in His likeness, to be loving, protecting, and encouraging of those that are not like us. We are called to be aware of and intentional about those around us, especially when the variables of difference and vulnerability collide.
So how does this relate to trafficking?
Trafficking is often linked to risk factors like poverty and no/low access to employment opportunities that help create stability. In the United States, those risk factors are also strongly correlated to non-caucasian ethnic groups and the results can be seen in the reported incidents of trafficking. Over ninety-eight percent of labor trafficking survivors and just under seventy-five percent of sex trafficking survivors are individuals of non-caucasian descent (NCVRW resource guide). These percentages are well over what they would be if cases of trafficking were proportionate to the racial disaggregation of the United states. “To combat this modern-day slavery, the trafficking cycle should recognize explicitly the connections between trafficking, migration, poverty, racism, gender and racial discrimination” (Bell, J., 2010). If we, as followers are going to demonstrate His love to all people, we need to consider joining the fight against the slavery affecting too many non-majority families and communities.
– How much do you go out of your way to interact with those outside of your cultural background?
– What does it look like for you to show support to those outside your cultural background? Is it verbal? Is it practical?
– Are you intentional about trying to learn more about the people who live near you that may be from a different cultural background?
– Does it make you uncomfortable to consider underlying racial injustice in recent court cases? in addressing the correlation to slavery?
– Participate in a Second Saturday Serve at the Southeast Whitehouse in Anacostia.
– Go on one of the anti-trafficking A1:8 mission trips: Phoenix, India, and/or Thailand.
Dear Lord, my father. You are a great father with children of every color and you desire us to love one another as brothers and sisters. It can be so easy to only treat those that look nearest to us with such love. Please forgive us. Lord teach me to see with your eyes. To look on my brothers and sisters with your eyes. Lord bless my feet that I would go where you send me. That I would be intentional about seeking new relationships with people that are not like me.
Lord bless my ears, so that I would hear the words and the hearts of those I interact with. My heart and mind act as a filter, which sometimes makes it difficult for me to understand those from a different background. Lord give me ears that hear and a heart that desires to hear more. Lord help me to grow more in your likeness and in your love.