Slavery still exists. The vision of International Justice Mission is to see an end to it.
People around the world–real human beings–are trapped, suffering, separated from their families, and forced to work. Because of IJM, thousands of slaves now have restored lives and freedom from their captors.
I watched this video at a conference for women seeking what it looks like to follow Christ. The video started tears in my eyes. I empathized with the suffering of slaves and what it must mean for them to be freed. To be reunited with their families. To receive medical treatment and counseling. To overcome fear. To embrace freedom.
And then I had another thought:
Forced workers and trafficking victims are not the only slaves in our world. There are others who are more hidden even than these, and yet they are right in front of us. There are billions of them.
They are the spiritual slaves (Rom. 6:16).
Some Christians tend to ignore that there are other spiritual forces at play besides God and his angels. But Jesus didn’t. So I won’t either. Actually he was constantly warning his disciples about Satan and his fallen angels, the ones who chose to rebel against God. The Gospels record multiple occasions of Jesus banishing demons from possessed people. These people had conditions we would now treat medically, yet Jesus didn’t give out drug prescriptions or herbal remedies. Instead, he called diseases as he saw them–spiritual oppression (Luke 13:16).
If such oppression existed in his day, has it disappeared in ours? Not likely. Rather, Satan continues to have great power over this world (1 John 5:19). He won’t be finally defeated until Jesus returns to claim what is rightfully his. For now, we continue to battle evil forces beyond human dictators, terrorists, or political candidates we don’t like (1 John 4:1).
As this thought came together in my mind, I recalled a few faces of people I love. I remembered lies that they had believed, pain they had suffered, or fear they had borne. God revealed these people for what they were in his eyes: slaves. They were deceived by Satan, burdened in sin, and condemned to death (Matt. 16:15-16, Rom. 6:20-23).
And instead of crying, I got angry.
I hated the thought that anyone would enslave people I care for. I wanted justice. I wanted them to be free and to enjoy full, rich lives. I wanted them to have the best of everything God offers for his children (Rom. 8:15-16). I wanted them to know and feel they are loved.
If one of your beloved family members or friends was sold for profit and forced into hard labor–with no rights, no help, no future–wouldn’t you do everything in your power to rescue them? Wouldn’t you defend them? Wouldn’t you refuse to rest until they saw justice and mercy?
If you had the opportunity, wouldn’t you rescue any person suffering in slavery, regardless of whether you knew or cared for them?
A speaker from the same conference put it this way: If this is the real spiritual condition of people, and if you have the good news that would free them, how much would you have to hate someone to stay silent?
Slavery still exists. What will you do about it?
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:1-7