The past few years, my heart has been awakened to the call for justice and hope in this world. As I’ve read the stories and skimmed through the headlines, my Bible-reading lens has shifted.
I used to think of “the oppressed” in the Bible as those of us who have bad days. You know, the days when the other girls at school are being bullies. ((Stay with me)) I tend to make the Bible as much about me as possible. The brokenhearted? Me. I didn’t get picked for such-and-such. The poor in spirit? Me. I get tired, okay? The poor? Me. Um, I work in ministry. Better- I work in camp ministry.
Honestly, even writing those thoughts down here makes me feel a bit nauseous. Thankfully, the Lord has opened my eyes and I see further than my own stuck-up nose these days. ((Mostly.)) Not to say that I never have bad days, never feel tired, or never feel brokenhearted, because I do. That empathy strength makes everything extra gut-wrenching. I now know why the author of Hebrews called the Word of God “an anchor for our souls.” Oh how I cling to that sweet steady anchor!
I attribute a significant part of my soul-awakening to an organization called International Justice Mission (IJM). I’ve been following them on twitter, watching their videos, and reading their stories. “Inspiring” is an understatement. There are several excellent organizations out there today seeking to end human trafficking, but so far IJM is the best I have seen. They work with the government, lawyers, social workers, and field officers on the ground in many countries worldwide to end slavery in a holistic, gospel-driven model that brings true restoration.
IJM just released a book written by their VP of Church Mobilization, Jim Martin.
I was thrilled when I first heard about this book, since I’m relatively new to the justice-seeking community, and IJM has become an impressive well-experienced authority on the subject. The book is well-written and engaging. Martin takes the reader deeper into the real stories rescue and justice inside the darkest corners of the world. The real stories of hope he tells from his own church are inspiring and encouraging. He challenges us all to be risk-takers. Isn’t that what Jesus wanted too?
I especially appreciated that the book didn’t end there. The whole second half is filled with practical guidelines and steps to engage one’s own church in justice. Something of a roadmap, Martin truthfully advises prayer in and before every step. After reading this book, the excuse of “not knowing what to do next” will be irrelevant.
“So take courage and take humility. Gather your friends and be on your way.” -Jim Martin, The Just Church