I had the privilege of talking with a young man named Adam a couple days ago about his recent trip to Nepal to help with disaster relief. One part of his trip he said that will be forever engraved in his memory was the time he was able to spend ministering at a home for girls and women who had been in the sex trafficking industry.
Something that impressed me about him was his willingness to talk about his anger induced from these up close and personal encounters with these horrible realities of the world we live in. He was angry at the injustice of it. Angry at the lack of compassion. Angry at the disregard for humanity and the general lack of sanctity for life which is running rampant in that part of the world. So angry to the point that he said he had a hard time talking about it in the report that he gave to his church.
This kind of anger is hard. It stirs up difficult and complex emotions.
Unfortunately, for many of us we consider these emotions too hard to bear. We would rather push them aside and avoid them. We would rather not think about that fact that these young, innocent children are taken from their homes and forced into a life of drugs, prostitution, torture and shame.
Or not think about how there are millions of starving children around the world. Not think about the women in other countries who are forced to have abortions because they cannot afford to pay their government to have another child. Not think about the children being slaughtered by Islamic extremist groups because their parents are Christians. We’d rather not see the images of the bodies of college students in Kenya lying lifeless in puddles of blood.
We can so quickly and sometimes unconsciously turn our eyes and close our ears.
“I can’t think about it or I’m going to cry..it’s just too much” is a response I’ve heard many times and have even said myself.
These emotions don’t feel good. They are not where we would choose to have our thoughts linger – because it’s hard. It’s hard to admit these realities. It breaks our hearts. It horrifies us. It pisses us off!! (Excuse my language… can’t think of a better term to use). So we would rather not think about it.
Yet, what I saw in this young man was an anger which he was allowing to lead to compassion. It was an anger that caused him to want to go out and do more. In fact, he can’t wait until the Lord gives him another chance to go again and help these people. His compassion is leading to action.
This anger stirring in him is a good kind of anger – because it is a righteous anger.
It’s an anger that is rooted in love. It’s an anger, not directed towards people, but towards the principalities and powers of evil which are using vessels of flesh and blood to manifest themselves.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
It’s an anger directed at the very source of that which separates us from God. It’s an anger towards sin.
It’s the anger that caused Jesus to turn over the money changers tables in the temple.
And yes, this anger can stir up our emotions is a way like no other – especially when the Lord gives us eyes to view sin in the way He does.
But we cannot fear these emotions. We cannot shove them aside. We need to let ourselves FEEL. Feel the horror. Feel the disgust. Feel the heartbreak. Feel the anger. Feel the grief. Why??
….because Jesus did.
…a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…
Then, we let those feelings lead us to compassion. And then, like Adam let our compassion move us to action.
The best action plan is prayer. Many of us cannot travel to other countries to minister hands on to these needs – but we can pray. Prayer also has a way of dispelling any fear of these emotions.
Below you will find a few links (there are tons) to organizations working to combat human trafficking, hunger and persecution. Also, you will see a map of locations where sex trafficking has been reported right here at home. Let’s remain aware of what’s happening in our world that we may be praying specifically and effectively.
Vision Beyond Borders – This is the organization that Adam teamed up with in Nepal.