SHINE YOUR LIGHT

Darkness is the absence of light.

Absolute darkness is the lack of all light. Pitch-black darkness.

Light, on the other hand, gets brighter and brighter and brighter.

On earth, we know light on many different levels: a dim room at night with only a lamp on, an office bright with artificial light, a bright kitchen full of morning and artificial light or a big field on a sunny day at noon. The brightest light that the human mind can comprehend is the sun, and that still won’t compare to the light in heaven.

That in mind,

February 23 is Shine a Light on Slavery Day.

As we shed a light on this dark subject, remember that a dim light is not good enough. You must shine so incredibly bright that when people see your light they stand in shock. They should never be able to say again that they did not know that there are still slaves today, children and adults, for sex or labor. When you tell them and they see your light, they should be faced with a choice: to either stand up for the truth that people are not property, or to back down and continue to allow our cultures to walk down a dark path of destruction. There is no in-between. A choice requires action, so not working to be light for freedom is backing down.

As Children of God, we must shine bright, and we should always be working toward shining brighter. Christ is the brightest Light. He makes heaven bright. In our strivings to be more like Him, we should grow brighter and brighter.

Because, truly, if you’re not walking forward in your relationship with Christ, you are walking backwards. If you’re not getting brighter and brighter, you’re getting dimmer and dimmer.

He has called us to be like Him-to live as light. He showed us what it means to live like Him. It’s to love and serve others. To seek justice. To love mercy. To bear the fruits of the Spirit. To pick up your cross. To live in humility. (Micah 6:8, Philippians 2:4, Colossians 3:12-17, Galatians 5:22,23, Matthew 8:34)

“For at one time you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of Light (for the fruit of light is found in all this is good and right and true).” Ephesians 5:8,9

This is how we become light. And the more we strive to have these traits, the brighter we become.

So, back to the issue of slavery.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

Modern-day slavery is abuse. It is centered around the de-valuing of people. It is the idea that it is acceptable to buy, sell, or use people for personal gain. It’s essentially a concept of using people as property.

And the Bible speaks against that.

The people that live out those ideas, concepts and actions are living in darkness and forcing others to live under that same darkness. They are in need of the light.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14)

Christ in us makes us light.

Denounce the darkness.

The brighter you shine, the more darkness stands in contrast.

Picture this: you walk into a room that is dimly lit. There is only a small light and it is about to burn out. You have to squint to see. Then, you walk out of the room into pitch-black darkness. Of course, now you can’t see anything, but it’s not that different than the dim room before.

Now picture this: you enter a room that is bright. There is plenty of overhead lighting and rays of light are pouring in through the windows. You can see everything clearly. Then, you step out of the room into pitch-black darkness. The change in light is shocking. Your eyes try to adjust as you blink repeatedly, but you realize that you don’t like the darkness at all, so you enter back into the room of light, where everything is visible.

Which room do you want to be like? When people enter your presence, are you going to be dim, only barely brighter than the darkness of this world? Or are you going to shine so bright that the light in you is a shocking contrast to the darkness?

It’s your choice.

Furthermore, when you shine a light on slavery, it’s important to make sure to shine it on the dark places. These “dark places” are the gaps in our cultures that are either consciously or subconsciously devaluing people.

There are “dark places” in the American culture that are often skipped over without a second thought. Dark places are anywhere that a service or product from a person becomes more important than they are. This the root of the mindset behind human trafficking.

The American people may want to stand up to fight slavery, but if they only know slavery in the form of girls being trafficked in and out of hotel rooms and massage parlors, in reality, how much help can the average person be? Not to say that an American shouldn’t know the signs and report it, but there is a bigger, root issue in our culture. It’s the way we treat people. By treating people as real, valuable, precious humans, Americans can truly shine a light on slavery. Then, people will be able to tell the sharp contrast in the light and darkness.

This is from my American viewpoint, but I fully believe the disregard and act of ignoring these “dark places” is the root of Human Trafficking in any culture.

For instance,

last year I was in the Dominican Republic (ranked third for Human Trafficking in the world) and one of the first things I noticed was the way they treated people. They, just like Americans, often use people to get what they want. Except, they don’t try to hide it, but rather, encourage it. Parents often tell their daughters that they are the bread-winners. So, girls make money the only way they know how: by selling themselves. That attitude towards women was probably the biggest “dark place” in their culture. (There are several other cultures that are well known red-light districts that have this same cultural mindset.)

Do you get what I am saying? Shine your light, but make sure you are shining it in the right places. Know your audience. Telling people all about slavery in a developing country and then hoping that it will help end it in the U.S. is not beneficial.

To end slavery for good, we must shine our lights in the darkness. Pay attention. Notice ways in your community that people either knowingly or unknowingly, use or disrespect each other, and then shine a light on them.

Darkness cannot exist in light.

“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, [a]wake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:13,14)

IN CHRIST,

Madeline

[More Biblical context:

In John 8, the Pharisees bring a woman to Jesus who had been caught in adultery. She was living in unfaithfulness. They push her to the front and say, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law of Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” Jesus looked at them and then bent down to write in the dirt. The King of the world, writing in the dirt that sinners trample. He stands up and responds, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Yikes. Then, he bends down to write again. The men leave, one by one. He stands up and sees that she is the only person left. He saved her from death. Then he proceeds to tell her that He doesn’t condemn her either. He gave her life. The next recorded thing in John is Jesus saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

He valued the life of the prostitute.

And He is light.]

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