Every night at dinner we take turns saying what's special about one another. It's a tradition we started when the kids were in kindergarten (ish). A good one too. Because everyone should be affirmed in who God made them. Who we are IN Him. Because our identity as defined by our Maker is more true than what anyone else would define. So we look for the God in each other, how He's shining His life in each of us uniquely, and we declare that encouragement aloud when we come together.
I'm not boasting here, though it may sound like it. Some nights it feels like just another "thing" to do. I don't have the perfect family, far from it. After this lovely moment at the table my Guy and I were so passionate in our "discussion" that I subsequently could feel the blood pulsing in my head and neck. It's not a moment I would repeat. Believe me - we make mistakes and we bleed red blood and we have our fair share of apologies in the Langdon home. But there are some things we do well. Encouragement is one of them. When he said that to her - I knew with every cell of me that it is so very true. It's Him shining through her.
We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well. -2 Corinthians 4:10 (VOICE) [emphasis added]And here you are thinking, "It's Tuesday, Robyn - what does this have to do with justice or human trafficking anyway?"
I'm getting there, Precious Reader.
My daughter's only eleven years old, and she holds this special gift of love for the unloved. You can see it in the way she befriends the awkward girls in her class, and makes them feel special. At a school performance one of the gals hid behind my daughter while she gently encouraged her to keep singing and stand up. I was so proud of my girl, even in the middle of that strained display.
One characteristic that distinguishes followers of Christ
“When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.” -Luke 14:12-14 (NLT)And then I ask myself the same thing. Do I value every life on earth as just as precious as my own, or as my daughter's? Jesus help me.
In human trafficking, as in every justice issues, I believe this is the bottom line. Are human souls precious to God, each one? If yes, are they precious to us also? Even the un-attractive, dirty, messy, dysfunctional, addicted, abused, poor? Is any soul less worthy of the grace I have received?
I'm reading Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd. I hope to have a review for you soon. It's a gripping story of a woman "Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds her Calling and Heals Herself" [subtitle]. In it I found this halting passage:
While there are clear systemic and social issues that leave children vulnerable, the recognition of this reality presents a constant challenge in advocating for exploited girls. In describing in the poverty and the abuse that girls experience prior to their commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, the response too often is that these girls inevitably aren't really going to have great lives anyway. I remember arguing fiercely one day with a lawyer who was representing a thirteen-year-old who'd been charged with a serious crime that her thirty-five-year-old "boyfriend" had committed. I wanted him to fight for her to be charged as a juvenile so that her record would eventually be sealed. Snorting with laughter, he said, "It's not as if she's going to be a brain surgeon, so does it really matter?" It appears that if you're already considered damaged goods, or doomed to a life of poverty, then being further victimized is not quite as bad.Damaged goods. Doomed. Further victimized. Not quite as bad.
Can you hear the slither and the forked tongue? In case you didn't know - that is the devil's voice, in direct contradiction and contempt of God's heart. Because His heart loves each one the same. And if we believed it, felt it, cried it, bled it, lived it ... what could it change?
One link for today - please do what God places on your heart for the "one who could not repay you." God's reward awaits, and it is better than any attention or fame or riches this world offers.
As we close for today - open your prayer closet with me, would you, Dear Heart?
Lord, please show us Your heart. Open our eyes to the way you see each person, each child, each underdog. None are less precious to You than I. None less precious than my dear sweet girl who sits next to me at my table, who slips her arm around me in the hallway with her friends, whose eyes hold Your glory. Show me God, how to love them too. Show me what it looks like to invite those people to my table too. What would I want with repayment from another person when my reward will always be in You? Show us all what justice looks like, Father. What it means to love those You love.