Last week, I attended the International Justice Mission (IJM) annual Global Prayer Gathering. I sat among 1400 people from across the world and listened to stories, testimonies, and the great work of IJM, but mostly we heard reports from the IJM field officers and we gathered to pray. This was my second time attending the gathering. The experience is one of the most humbling practices and reminders of my year. It is nearly impossible to fathom that there are such crimes against humanity happening all around the world. It is encouraging to know that God is at work. It is evident when I pray that God breaks up the fallow ground in my own heart about what is important, what is priority, and how I can join in his redemptive work.
This week the president of IJM, Gary Haugen, released a TED Talk titled, “The Hidden Reason for Poverty the World Needs to Address Now.” Gary steps onto a dark stage wearing glasses, with his box or military “buzz” haircut, a buttoned down blue collared dress shirt and jeans (which appears to be his uniform of choice when he is not wearing a suit and tie). He confesses that he is not a man of tears. He tells the true story of his work in reporting the Rwandan Genocide, shares his conviction about the failure of human compassion, and then passionately talks about the fight against global poverty. The fight against global poverty includes what Gary refers to as The Locust Effect, a tangible and great fear of everyday violence against the world’s poor. What the poor need, according to Gary, is not more laws but rather more law enforcement.
The great work of IJM is to strategically train and work with local law enforcement and judicial systems to administer the law in countries that have great laws on the books so violence and crime against the global poor with stop! IJM also plays a key role in restoration by partnering to provide aftercare, safety, and job training for survivors of these horrendous crimes. This is why I regularly give, pray for, lobby with, and champion the work of this great organization.
Ignoring violence against the poor—whether it be human trafficking, poverty grabbing, those wrongfully imprisoned, or rape—does not make the issues go away. We must face it, and do our part to respond with compassion and justice. Jesus has much to say about this:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and cloths you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25:31-40 NIV
You can view Gary’s TED Talk here:
What are your thoughts about domestic and global violence? How do you see people of faith responding to these issues?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2015