Fighting against unspeakable evil

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:5-6)

On July 4th, a new movie was released called The Sound of Freedom. Starring Jim Caviezel, who portrayed Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, the film is based on the life of Tim Ballard, a Department of Homeland Security agent who left his job to go deeper into the underground world of child trafficking in order to rescue children. Although I have yet to see the movie, I listened recently to an interview with Ballard and Caviezel and I hope to see the movie soon. As I reflected upon the interview and the brutal reality of child sex trafficking, there were two main questions that were raised in my mind:

1) What is your view on good and evil?
There are some in our world who believe that we are all basically good people. There are others who divide the world between good and evil people (with the person doing the dividing naturally on the side of good). But then there is what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said: “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts.” When you live your life in the quiet of the suburb, you may be able to deceive yourself into thinking that all people are basically good. But when you stare the evils of child sex trafficking in the face and realize that about one million children are sold into slavery every year – and that this enterprise exists BECAUSE there are many people who enjoy brutalizing children – you are forced to make sense of the existence of an evil that is beyond human comprehension. You are challenged to recognize that the Biblical character Satan and the demonic forces of evil are not fictional but very real, and that to deny their existence is to minimize the true evil that is being done in this world.

But the truth about good and evil is even worse than that. Solzhenitsyn’s words, and the testimony of the Bible, is that the same sin that causes people to exploit children lives in you as well, and if it were not for the grace and mercy of God, you would be capable of doing the same things that they do. In 1983, Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes interviewed a man named Yehiel De-Nur, a survivor of Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp. Twenty-two years earlier, in 1961, De-Nur had testified at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the men primarily responsible for the holocaust. When De-Nur had entered the courtroom to testify against Eichmann, De-Nur had started to sob uncontrollably before collapsing. The judge had to restore order in the court after the commotion that ensued.

In the 60 Minutes interview, Wallace asked De-Nur what he had been feeling there in the court. Was it post-traumatic stress? Rage? De-Nur answered by saying that when he walked in and saw Eichmann, he suddenly realized that he was no demon. He was not a superman either. He was an ordinary human being, exactly like De-Nur. And suddenly De-Nur became terrified about himself. He told Wallace that he realized that he was capable of doing the exact same things.
 
Tim Ballard, in the interview I listened to recently, recounted a similar experience. Many of the predators and pedophiles that he arrested looked like ordinary people. The sinister place they had ended up in was the culmination of many small steps away from God and honoring the image of God in others into a place of isolation, bitterness, and indulgence of the basest desires. If Satan is that real, and sin is that deceptive, then we must realize that there but for the grace of God we go.

2) What will you do about this?
The action question, of course, is more challenging, and where the rubber hits the road. At NewLife, we host a prayer meeting every 2nd Friday at 7:00 PM for The Underground, a Connecticut-based, faith-based organization committed to eradicating sex trafficking and supporting survivors (we also donated our tag sale proceeds this year to them). One of the reasons they pray in Wethersfield is that the Berlin Turnpike, and the many motels located there, is one of the biggest problem areas for sexual exploitation in Connecticut. The next prayer meeting will be on July 14th. Prayer is not all we must do, but it is a critical component of this fight, not only because God can do more than we can in our own strength, but because you can easily be traumatized by entering this realm without relying on Him. You can visit https://theundergroundne.org/ for more information on partnering with this local organization.

We are also going to be partnering with Remember Nhu, a ministry that is committed to fighting child trafficking through prevention, providing homes for children who are at risk of being sold into slavery. They currently have 110 homes in 16 countries. Sarah Kane, who has spoken at NewLife and who we will be supporting, works for a home in Thailand, which is a country notorious for child sexual exploitation. You can learn more about this organization at https://remembernhu.org/.

May God’s people always be on the front lines of calling out evil for what it is, and doing what we can in His power to fight against it.


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