"I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of ? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 6:19-23
I attended yesterday (10/1/2011) a missions conference hosted by American Baptist Churches of Indiana-Kentucky and Greater Indianapolis. Our guest speaker was Lauran Bethell, an international consultant on issues of human trafficking. Although human trafficking is not a new phenomenon, it is modern day slavery that continues to grow internationally. Just as Christians in past decades opposed the practice of slavery, so do they now seek to put an end to today's slavery.
It is not easy. One arena of this slavery - sexual exploitation - is compounded by the moral relativism proponents of the left. The progressive march toward so-called "sexual freedom" has created, in reality, sexual anarchy. Into the vacuum left by this moral breakdown have stepped global traffickers who willingly provide the sex products their clients crave. Literally around the world, young women (predators seek primarily women, although a few males are ensnared as well) are held in forced prostitution. As the anti-religious elements of society attempt to discredit the beliefs and actions of Christians, victims of selfish sexual deviancy and debauchery pile up. In the United States, most women engaging in prostitution begin at the age of 14 to 16 years. No matter how many deny its reality, "the wages of sin is death."
Once more, our national heritage bestows upon us the guiding light out of this sad mess. Schuyler Colfax was the Vice-President under Ulysses S. Grant and was a seven term Congressman. Even though he is not exactly a household name in the annals of American history, he nevertheless reflected the great source of strength from which this nation flourished and grew:
Man derives his greatest happiness not by that which he does for himself, but by what he accomplishes for others. This is a sad world at best - a world of sorrow, of suffering, of injustice, and falsification; men stab those whom they hate with the stiletto of slander, but it is for the followers of our Lord to improve it, and to make it more as Christ would have it. The most precious crown of fame that a human being can ask is to kneel at the bar of God and hear the beautiful words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Merciful Lord, hear the voices of those groaning under the strain of slavery. Hear the cries of those caught in the trap of bondage under threat of harm and, at times, even death. May Your compassion be aroused to secure their release; indeed, may Your compassion pour itself out upon Your followers who are, in turn, aroused to stand against this travesty against human decency. May we return, through humble repentance, to the goodness of Your loving Word and instruction. May we seek to make this world "more as Christ would have it." In the name of Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.