We just celebrated Independence Day in the U.S., and what better way to celebrate your freedom than to help bring freedom to others? Just as we cannot appreciate our freedom without gratitude for the people who have lost their lives fighting for that independence… we also cannot appreciate our freedom without compassion for the people who are trapped in slavery today.
Maybe you have heard that there are 20.9 million slaves in the world today (International Labor Organization). But maybe you have not heard that by the time you’re done reading this article six children will be sold into slavery (World Hope International). Some of those six children could be on the other side of the world… and some of those six children could be a few miles from your home.
Human trafficking affects every country around the world, regardless of socio-economic status, history, or political structure. “Human traffickers have created an international market for the trade in human beings based on high profits and demand for commercial sex and cheap labor.” (polarisproject.org)
My oldest daughter’s first, second and third July 4th’s did not include any fireworks. She was tucked neatly into bed and fast asleep before any booming lights filled the sky. But by her fourth Independence Day we decided that she might be able to stay up that late without punishing us too harshly the next day. I visualized seeing the reflection of the fireworks in her eyes as she gazed on in awe. I love fireworks, so I talked them up and she was almost more excited than I was. Until the first explosion, that is. I had spent so much time preparing her for the lights and the colors, I had neglected to prepare her for the noise. Instead of awe, I saw tears in those little eyes and what was supposed to be magical was terrifying.
There is evil in the world and even the most innocent four year old knows fear. This evil is not something we need to cower from with dread, but it also isn’t something we need to ignore. I find it interesting that my daughter’s first response was to climb into my arms and let me hold her. And after a minute or two of that she looked up at me – still with tears in her eyes – and asked, “Can we turn the volume down?”
She was searching for strength… and she was searching for a solution. And so should we. Our strength comes from a Savior who understands suffering in a way I never could and asks me to care too. Our solution comes from a God who chooses to involve me in His redemptive plan for the world. “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required” (Luke 12:48 NLT). How much fuller and deeper will my gratitude be for my freedom this July if I can celebrate it – not at the expense of those still in slavery – but on behalf of them. I am looking forward to the month of July this year because of the newfound mission I have to give my church and my family the opportunity to foster this same gratitude.
Why not celebrate your freedom this year by helping to bring freedom to others? You and your church can partner with World Hope International during the month of July with their FREEDOM SUNDAYS CAMPAIGN, complete with promo video, stories, and more.