He saw that something was wrong.
He knew that justice was not being served.
He knew that he was the one who decided if this man should die.
He had the potential to sway the crowd.
He could have saved this man.
But “he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.'” (Matthew 27:24b)
Pilate washed his hands from the crucifixion of Jesus. He didn’t want to be a part of it. And he didn’t want to go against the crowd.
I think about this often. How quickly do I just “wash my hands” from situations that are messy? If a situation is hard and sad, I often want to take a step back and watch as it passes by.
Oftentimes, I see hurting people and instead of doing the smallest thing to help them, I pass by in denial.
I’ve tried to write many times now about statistics and lack of involvement from governments and people when it comes to human trafficking and numerous other social injustice issues, but I just can’t say it right.
Don’t be a hand-washer.
Get your hands dirty.
The stories and statistics are through the roof.
Over 27 million people are in human trafficking, or modern-day slavery (according to A21).
More than 8,200 children under the age of 5 die of hunger everyday, or 3 million a year (according to WFP).
Over 29,000 children die everyday from preventable diseases, over 10.5 million a year. (unicef) (I’ve also read that the number is closer to 21,000 deaths everyday, but statistics vary. Either way, its between almost 8 million-over 10.5 million per year).
[This means that (between the two statistics above) there are between 29,000-37,000 children dying everyday of things that can easily be prevented. That is, at least 1,200 an hour, 20 a minute.]
In Central and East Africa alone there are over 100,000 child soldiers being forced to fight and kill. Each of them carry hell-like stories I can barely read about, much less write to you. (Exile International)
There are 140 million orphans worldwide (according to SOS-USA).
These things happen mostly around the world, but in the U.S. alone:
-There are around 400,000 children in the foster system, 100,000 of which need a permanent family. 250,000 enter the system each year, and while over half of the children will go back to their families, around 100,000 will not. (The Christian Post) [while this seems like an impossible number, let me put it to you this way: according to the Hartford Institution for Religious Research, there are 350,000 churches in the U.S. That being said, if less than 1 family out of every 3 churches adopted one child there would be no more orphans in the U.S. Of course, this changes every year, and every year the U.S. may have 100,000 more orphans, but the numbers still aren’t as large as you think, if people worked together.]
-At any moment, there are between 100,000 and 300,000 children at risk for sexual exploitation. (This is a broad statistic, so if you want to know more about the sex trade in the U.S. and how the internet plays a role, look at Thorn.)
-An estimated 550,000 people are homeless, meaning they either sleep outside or in a shelter. (National Alliance to End Homelessness)
When I read these things and I become familiar with the stories of the lives of these people (though, personally I know nothing of their actual hardship), I become responsible for them, in a sense.
You see, each of us are responsible for what we do with our knowledge. Pilate knew the right thing to do, but he chose pride,instead. He was responsible for what he knew.
To know is to become responsible.
Oh friends, we are responsible. Now that we know, we are responsible for helping these people.
The book of James (2:17) says that “faith without deeds is dead.” Our faith is completely dead, lifeless, without deeds. Through faith and grace we have been brought to life, and through works we are living evidence of the new life within us. But faith and works go hand-in-hand. Works is evidence of faith and is, therefore, totally necessary-crucial even.
I am completely responsible for doing everything in my capability to help show the lost to Jesus.
You are completely responsible for doing everything in your capability to help show the lost to Jesus.
Jesus got his hands dirty. Really dirty, actually. He rubbed his fingers in the mud and rubbed them on the blind man’s eyes to give him sight (John 9:3-7). He wrote with His finger in the dirt as he sent away the people ready to throw stones at the adulterous women (John 8:3-11). He spent time with the contagious lepers and He touched them (Matthew 8:2-4). He touched the ears of the deaf and healed them (Mark 7:32-35). He laid hands on all sorts of people and healed them from their sicknesses (Matthew 15:29-31).His hands carried the blood and germs and diseases of so many people. His hands carried His own blood and scars. He physically got His hands really dirty.
And He has called us to get our hands dirty.
He could have chosen to have nothing to do with us. But instead, He chose to have everything to do with us.
And He has called us to have everything to do with hurting people and people that do not know Him.
The Bible tells us to feed the hungry and take care of the orphans and widows (Proverbs 24:11, Luke 3:11, Matthew 10:42). And the Bible also says that nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26). These numbers seem huge and outrageous, but the Lord would not have told us to do something that was not possible with Him. If we do not take a stand we are, quite frankly, failing to live up to the calling we have been given. It looks different for each person, as God moves each person’s heart differently, but the action of every person is crucial. I wrestle with this often. His will is sovereign and will be done no matter what, but am I putting myself in the center of it? I’ve grown to realize that I can be completely His child, but not allow myself to be completely used by Him. The things is, He only wants the best for me, nothing less. So, in moving my heart to follow His will, I can be exactly who He created me to be. But, sin in me prevents me from being who I was designed to be in Christ. I fail often at living up to my full potential in Him. The good news is, His will will be done not matter what, with or without me. If I allow myself to be used by Him, then I grow abundantly. If I don’t, I don’t grow, but His will is still sovereign and will still happen-I miss out on a lot. It’s good that He doesn’t rely on me to make His will happen. It’s a lot like the story of Esther. In Chapter 4, Mordecai basically told Esther that she would still be a victim to the world, that she could not escape it, even as a queen. He told her that if she keeps silent and doesn’t take a stand, deliverance from the Jews would come from another place, but she would miss out. “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” She allowed herself to be used by God and He did great things through her and blessed her. If she had decided not to allow God to use her and washed her hands from the problem, deliverance for the Jews would have come through someone else. God is sovereign either way, but it’s our privilege to be used by Him.
Let me leave you with this:
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.” Isaiah 50:10
It’s a promise. The light in you will rise.
So, get your hands dirty.
“The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children. And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians. The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left.” -Katie Davis