You don’t have to look far to begin seeing the brokenness and injustice in our world. In fact, you would probably have to go further to get away from that brokenness and injustice than you would to see it first hand. There are horrible things happening all across our planet, even right here at home in the Good Ole’ USA. If you just flip on the news for a few minutes, you’ll begin to see so much darkness, hurt, and evil. Some of this evil and injustice gets us fired up: Rape, kidnapping, poverty in 3rd world countries. Some of this evil only gets SOME of us fired up: Young Black men losing their lives at the hands of law enforcement, poverty in our own towns or cities, the persecution of the LGBT community. The reality of the situation is that no matter who you are, where you’re from, what you look like, what level of education you have, you can see injustices taking place around you.
So what are you doing about it? So often, we look at the problems around us and feel overwhelmed. 21 million slaves. 22,000 children dying each day due to poverty. 44 murders per day in the US. 10 million victims of domestic violence in the United States of America each and every year. These numbers are staggering. They are overwhelming. The often make us feel as though we are powerless to fight the evil. But we aren’t. The truth of it is, every single thing we do to help can make a difference. Now that doesn’t mean that every single thing that we do DOES help, it just means that it can if we truly want to be a part of the solution. One of our responsibilities is to be diligent and humble in our journey to find out how we can be helpful.
A couple of years ago, I was introduced to an organization called Love146. Love146 is dedicated to the abolition of child trafficking in the world today. They have incredible survivor care programs and awareness education programs, and many of these efforts are lead by volunteers. Love146 mobilizes volunteer teams across the country who work to help educate their communities, and hopefully build and work towards establishing communities that are ZERO TOLERANCE communities, meaning that they have zero tolerance for any trafficking taking place there. I’ve seen the numbers: 21 million enslaved across the world (and that’s a conservative number), The average age of a victim is 12 YOA, 14,000-18,000 victims trafficked INTO the United States EACH YEAR. Yes, INTO the United States of America. When I heard all of this, I was enraged. I couldn’t imagine one human taking and owning another human. But I also felt powerless against so much evil. I felt that there was nothing that I could do that would make a difference. I was wrong. I began learning about the work Love146 is doing. I learned of the restoration and hope that they are providing to people whose entire lives have literally been snatched from them. They had no hope. Not until someone gave it back to them. And that someone is a Jane/John Doe who is living in my neighborhood. He works in my office. She goes to my church. He sits across from me at Starbucks. They are everyday people who decided to no longer sit on the sidelines, they decided to insert themselves into the game. They decided to no longer stand aside and watch another human being lose their basic human rights. They decided to BE THE CHANGE.
Being the change will look different to each and every one of us. We all have very busy lives. We all feel overwhelmed by the things going on. We all have huge work loads. We all have a lot on our plates. We have families that are counting on us. We have friends who want us. We also have strangers who NEED us. We may never meet these strangers, but we can help change their lives. Each of our involvement will look different, and that’s okay. My challenge to you is to just do SOMETHING. Find out what it is that gets your blood boiling. Find out what fires you up. And then engage in that. You can serve the homeless at a food kitchen. You can help the uneducated by volunteering through different programs. You can join an organization fighting for the abolition of slavery. You can go on International trips to help people of other countries and cultures. Just do something. Just be the change.
Justin Neal // Contributor