The Hidden Plague
On Sunday I asked you to take a journey with me. We went halfway around to walk alongside people who are at risk. On the outside there was innocence, but the reality is that the little girls I described are very vulnerable to a hidden plague that many of us don’t even realize exists. I apologize if I seem a bit dramatic, but it’s very true. The little girls I’ve worked with around the world are at great risk. Their parents and siblings are at risk. There are billions of people in our world who live in fear of this plague. Watch this:
You may not consider violence as something that’s hidden. After all, we hear about it on the news nearly every day. But the reality is that there is a huge, systemic issue in the developing world that isn’t talked about. When we discuss issues and progress in the developing (formerly called ‘third world’) we usually talk about clean water, education, malnutrition, malaria, HIV/AIDS and other physical and health issues. But usually we don’t talk about violence. We don’t talk about the law enforcement systems that aid and assist child sex traffickers. We don’t talk about the justice system in parts of the world where a wealthy person can literally get away with murder by paying an attorney to steal evidence. We don’t talk about law enforcement and legal systems that operate solely on bribes. We just don’t discuss it. Gross human rights abuses are being committed every day and we are not talking about it. To a certain extent I can understand why. It’s pretty hopeless to think about such huge issues. I’m just one person, what can I do?
But this is a plague of violence that is set to obliterate everything in its path. And Gary Haugen, the founder and president of the International Justice Mission, wants us to stop this plague. His new book, The Locust Effect, is a powerful tool and resource to get this essential conversation started. His argument is that we “can’t end poverty without ending violence” and after reading his book I definitely agree. He tells us tragic stories of people in the developing world who have been severely victimized and traumatized. Then he goes through and explains what is going on in the systems that are causing these grave injustices. And finally, he gives us hope by sharing stories of his colleagues and many others who are combating this plague and winning battles.
It’s easy to remain disconnected from huge social issues like this one. I know sometimes I feel so small and insignificant in this huge world- I think that there’s no way I can do something to make an impact on a problem of this magnitude. But that’s not true! We can all play a part in fighting for justice for the oppressed. We can all begin to have new conversations about poverty that include this concept of violence against the poor. And if you are a follower of Jesus like me, then this is your responsibility. All of us have different roles, but we are all called to seek justice.
“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern”. -Proverbs 29:7
“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow”. – Isaiah 1:17
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.” – Luke 11:42
It’s clear and convicting. We can’t sit around any more. There are grave injustices in our world and you and I have the ability to address them. It seems daunting or even impossible, but it’s not. Awareness is the first step. And I’d like to help you with that first step.
I’m giving away one copy of “The Locust Effect” to one reader. I’ll draw the winning name on Saturday, February 8th and will ship your book to you the next week. But if you just can’t wait until then, you can find the book at your local bookstores or online. Check out www.thelocusteffect.com for more details.
Even if you don’t win the copy, you can still make an impact on fighting this plague by purchasing the Locust Effect. For every bookpurchased this week (through Sunday the 9th) $20 dollars will be donated to the International Justice Mission, up to $40,000. All of the royalties from book sales will also go to IJM. Your purchase of the book makes an impact against this issue, which is a great starting point!
So how do you win a copy of this amazing book?
Take action! Share in the comments what comes to mind when you hear the word ‘justice’. Tweet this post or share it on Facebook to spread the word. Let me know in the comments section what you did. Each ‘action step’ will get you one entry to win.