When Our Advocacy Segregates Others Who Are At-Risk

Thursday, June 28, 2018

I was seated expectantly in a large church a little over a half hour from my home. I had signed up for a day-long anti-human trafficking educational event, and I was feeling much more informed on how trafficking affected the Grand Rapids community and was freshly disturbed over another horror of our modern day. After our lunch break was over, I made my way toward the area where one of the workshops was just beginning. I placed my purse on the table near me and sat in a chair closer to the speaker. The first question the energetic lady asked was: “What are some human rights?”

Suddenly, I felt passionately led to say, “A right to life.” I thought, “I don’t need to be the one to talk all the time. Besides this is a Christian organization and we are in a church; obviously these women want life defended!” But something was not well with my soul upon choosing to say nothing.

A beat of silence went by when a woman raised her hand.

“A right to choose?”

The leader smiled, nodded her head, and affirmed the comment.

A shiver went down my spine. 

It was suddenly very clear; the Lord had indeed been leading me to be a voice for the unborn in a room where at least two ladies were caught in the enemy’s deception on the value of life. It was like I could feel my heart breaking in two, simultaneously passion boiled.

HOW can we do this?

I nearly dropped my jaw, trying to recollect my thoughts as other women chimed in to the conversation. “A right to shelter.” 

Our leader proceeded to talk with us for over a half hour on the horrible ways predators try to lure children into trafficking via social media and other phone apps. I agreed that this was wrong and needed to be stopped, but my mind was confronted with a question.

What if these children were never even granted a right to live in the first place?

With the ideology and philosophy the leader was promoting, women could actually continue to be trapped in situations of trafficking. Abortion is a great cover up for abusers who do not want parents or law enforcement personnel to find out about their trafficking ring. One woman I spoke to who was trafficked in Grand Rapids shared with me that before she was set free, she had at least five abortions. Can you imagine the sorrow of soul this poor woman must have faced? Can you imagine the lot of her sweet children who did nothing to harm their mom and who had to pay the price for her abuser’s wrong?

My heart wanted to fail within me. The whole drive home through rolling hills and cloudy blue skies, I was newly invigorated. 

I will fight for the unborn to my very deathbed.

When Advocacy Misses the Mark

The woman leading the workshop I attended is not the only person in the world to pursue one cause simultaneously turning a deaf ear to others who are vulnerable.

There are so many areas of need in our very broken world. The beautiful challenge for us as followers of Jesus is that we must be His hands and feet to all the at-risk. Though you may not start a ministry for every different type of vulnerability, we must be very careful that when we stand for one cause, we do not victimize or harm others who are at-risk.

Truly, it seems to me, every issue of undue vulnerability has to do with our understanding of the importance of life.

Does that life matter? 

If not, it’s ok to do nothing.

This is the whole justification of the pro-choice side wrapped up in one statement. 

It is essential that we run to Jesus and ask Him to fill us with His love for those who He has so wonderfully created. We must know what His Word says about life and build our understanding thereof on His unshakable foundation. Every life is valuable to our God, and this truth is what causes us to go forth and change this world for His glory. Truly it is only Jesus who can transform this world and the individuals in it.

What Does God’s Word Say About the Vulnerable?

Earlier this year, I began compiling a list of verses on God’s heart for the destitute, broken, widowed, vulnerable, at-risk, or poor people as I read through the Word. This list (with a few extras added to it) is not exhaustive in any way, but it shows so much of how our God feels about those our society sometimes sees as a burden.

“The Lord will destroy the house of the proud: but He will establish the border of the widow” (Proverbs 15:25).

“Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at his calamities shall not be unpunished” (Proverbs 17:5).

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He repay again” (Proverbs 19:17).

“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he shall also cry himself, but shall not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13).

“The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the Maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2).

“Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich” (Proverbs 28:6).

“The righteous consider the cause of the poor…” (Proverbs 29:7).

“The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established forever” (Proverbs 29:14).

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).

“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!” (Isaiah 10:1-2).

“For Thou [God] hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall” (Isaiah 25:4).

“Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees” (Isaiah 35:3).

“For there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11).

I love the expressive and beautiful picture Isaiah 35 paints of what Christ’s Kingdom is like:

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (emph. added).

We see in the passages above that our God champions the cause of all who are at-risk. Notice: the poor, weak, feeble, fearful, widowed, destitute, needy, and those who cannot speak for themselves are all people who our God calls us to care for.

As we stand in the gap, there is a semi-hidden pitfall in the way. The enemy seems delighted if we have taken up one cause and feel “that’s good enough.” If you are in Christ, your God who dwells in you has called you to champion the cause of the vulnerable. These at-risk ones come from many different backgrounds, have unique stories, and are varying ages and sizes. 

If God has led you to spend a large portion of your time advocating for sexually trafficked women, do not forget the cause of the unborn. If God has led you to defend the unborn in a certain capacity of ministry, do not forget the homeless. If God has led you to speak up for the widow, remember also the cause of the poor.

As women who desire for Jesus Christ to be loved and known as we speak up for those who have no voice, please do not believe the lie that it is ok to look down on others who are vulnerable if we volunteer our time to some other group of needy ones.

Our God is so Amazing. He rescues the poor who cry for His help, makes the widow's heart sing for abundant joy, He is eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, and Father to the needy. He breaks the powers of sin and darkness and rescues hurting souls unto the Kingdom of Light (He. 2:14, 1 Cor. 15:54-57, 2 Tim. 1:10, Is. 42:13).

El Roi sees us! Our Jesus did not overlook us, even though we deserved it in our sin; we were not saved to merely sit by comfortably and only do what seems acceptable to us. No, my friend. As an outflow of knowing Jesus, we are called to go--by His grace--into the dark of night and rescue those headed down to death. 

Do not now turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to those who cry out.

“Justice was my robe and my turban” (Job 29:14b).

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