Rich Dixon asks us a question today (and himself)
Question: Did Jesus ever tell victims of injustice they were responsible for liberating themselves from their oppressors?
+ + +
My high school youth group visited New York City.
I was struck by the fact that Fifth Avenue connected some of the richest real estate in the world to the Harlem ghetto. Within a few blocks our bus drove past desperate poverty and decadent wealth.
I remember my reaction. This privileged kid from small-town Iowa wondered, “Why don’t they leave?”
I didn’t get it. I couldn’t understand how someone could be trapped in poverty when they could literally walk away, when wealth awaited just down the street.
+ + +
Occasionally someone wonders why enslaved woman don’t just walk away.
We all tend to be a bit like that sheltered kid in the big city. We see what we want to see, what makes us comfortable. We tend to look from our own perspective. We think I know what I would do when we have no sense of what it’s like in their shoes.
Human traffickers are ruthless, violent criminals. They use isolation, addiction, and mental/physical abuse to create prisons without chains and bars.
If the women walked away, where would they go? They’re cultural outcasts, often rejected and abandoned by even their immediate family. Trafficked as young girls, they have no documentation, no education, no skills, no support system, no way to feed themselves and their children. They’re victims of government/police corruption, racism/classism, and lack of resources.
I’m describing the mothers of our 22 kids, and most likely women at a business in your/my hometown.
+ + +
What would Jesus say? Would He tell them to walk away?
Or would He hang out with them and invite us in?
Jesus – we know you’re there, among these lonely, frightened women.
Help us to see You, and them.