For the past few days, I have been restless, often waking from dreaming with the burdens of the aborted unborn and the victims of sex selection abortions and sex trafficking on my heart. Then seemingly out of nowhere, I felt, not heard a whisper in my spirit: "Alveda, let God order your steps."
"The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives." Psalms 37:23 (NLT)
I allowed myself time to fully wake up and then I asked myself: "Self, are you allowing God to order your steps?" The answer surprised me. I realized that while sometimes I do allow God to order my steps, this isn't always the case. I realized too that God wanted me to actually love those whose cause I've been championing, really love them.
Oh, I have loved the concept of the victims of sex trafficking and those who die by abortion. I often shed a tear when I remember my beloved aborted and miscarried children, Phillip, Jessica and Raphael (named by my son for his favorite Ninja Turtle many years ago.) You can read about my testimony online at How Can the Dream Survive if We Murder the Children.
Yet, I had to take a moment to reflect on how deep my love goes. Oh, I give my money and my energy in fighting in the Pro-Life and Pro-Natural Family Movement. People even admire me for being what some call a "champion for the unborn." I am grateful for their encouragement, and yet, I believe that God wants something more from me. He wants me to give Him all of my love. Only then can I truly say that I love the unwanted.
Have you ever felt unwanted, or known someone who is unwanted? Depending on our answer, this is where we must start to reorder our lives and our steps and learn to love the unwanted God's way. There is one category of those who seem to be unwanted that we can start to love today; the victims of sex trafficking.
One hundred fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that slaves held in Confederate territory were free men and women. One hundred fifty years later, children in every part of the country still face the degradation and hopelessness of the practice President Lincoln sought to end.
Some may not know it, but sex trafficking is as old as time. We can find accounts across history, even in the Bible. Today, it's called human trafficking, but the crime is essentially the same – treating people like property.
Ezekiel 28:5 By your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth.
By interpretation, the Bible is speaking of man's inhumanity to man. It's not just criminals, though, who engage in man's ongoing inhumanity to man.
For the last 40 years and even earlier in some states, many of our judges and lawmakers have treated people like property. They've held babies in the womb to be like chattel, possessions to be discarded or destroyed, with their mothers cast as owners.
These officials, along with the abortion industry itself, feign ignorance of the unborn child's humanity. They blind themselves to the horror of what they allow and what they do in order to enhance their power and increase their riches.
Those who enslave our teenagers and pre-teens today make no such pretenses. They can't because the children they exploit are plainly visible – visible, that is, until they disappear into a world where, just as hundreds and thousands of years ago, human flesh is a commodity and hope is something to be crushed.
But just like those who earn their livelihoods by mutilating unborn babies, human traffickers ply their trade for money, lots of money. Whether it's selling girls and boys into sex slavery, sweat shops, or renegade armies, they profit financially from their iniquity.
Meanwhile, many of us look away.
The whole concept of human trafficking, like abortion, is so terrible and depressing that most of us just don't want to think about it. It's easy to avoid the subject because, like abortion, its victims are for the most part unseen. But it's these little ones whom we must consider.
The Book of James tells us that we are to visit orphans and widows in their distress. This is because those who are alone are the most vulnerable. The fatherless, not unlike the rest of us, desperately need Christ's love and our love. Yet, it's this need that oppressors are all too often more willing and eager to recognize. It's this need that oppressors seek to exploit.
We must step in first, or more accurately, we must actually allow God to direct our steps as we step in.
As one who wears three vocational hats: Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life and Founder of King for America, I have been fighting not just abortion, but also human trafficking for decades. Taking on the battle against human trafficking, obviously, means helping to free those who have been entrapped, enticed, or kidnapped into worlds few of us can even imagine. It also means going after the perpetrators of this evil.
I've learned, though, that there's a key component that's equally important. Stopping human traffickers is not just a reactive effort, it's also proactive. It involves loving those who are at risk. It starts with our own attitudes and practices.
Worldwide there are an estimated 27 million people being held captive in modern day slavery. Before they were enslaved, these victims were literally or figuratively orphans. Perhaps their parents died or went to prison. Maybe they ran away from abuse. They might have even been kidnapped or sold into bondage by a drug addicted parent. Whatever the case, they likely felt alone, desperate for a way to survive in a world where it seemed that no one acknowledged their existence.
Many were unwanted by those who were supposed to love them, but profitable to those who were without love. Others were just torn away from the sanctuary of home.
I Corinthians 13:8 – Love never fails.
We can't stop all evil in this fallen world, but we can fight it in our own neck of the woods with love. Love never ends. Love can save lives.
Love declares that there is no such thing as an unwanted child.
The child deemed unwanted is more likely to be killed in the womb by those who want to profit from his death or lured into a life of slavery by those who want to profit from her body. Being unwanted means that someone is more concerned with himself than with his child; it results in being dehumanized.
All too often, the soulful default mode is selfishness. It's natural. It's human. But it must be overcome if we are to spare our children and our society from the evils of human trafficking and abortion. And the one sure way to overcome it is with the love of the Over comer, our Lord.
With love, children are adopted, not aborted. With love, children are cherished, not abused. With love, there is less room for the oppressor because his hunting grounds are smaller.
There is much to be done to set the captives of human trafficking free. But we can act to prevent more children from being ensnared. We don't have to wait for someone to pass a law or start a movement, although there are efforts to join.
We simply need to see no child as unwanted. We need to focus on others, rather than ourselves, and be open to visiting orphans – that is, be open to wanting the "unwanted," helping the child in need. And it can start with just one. One life loved can make all the difference.
After all, one life changed the entire world.