During my time in the Social Work Program in college, I learned an important principle: to look beyond specific harmful behaviors to recognize that a destructive coping mechanism was not itself the problem, but an indicator of a deeper root issue. We were taught to look beyond the five-year-old’s temper tantrums to the source of an anger problem. Abuse, perhaps, or parents with anger issues. Social workers are trained to ask questions to get to the core issue. Once a wound is located, however, the helpfulness of secular social work ceases in that beyond diagnosis, there is no source of healing. There are plenty of healthier coping mechanisms and other social band-aids, but not healing.
The same is true of human trafficking in our world today.
The systems of the world (legal, social, political) can look at the issue of human trafficking and almost impulsively point a bloody finger at bad dads, evil men, and defenseless young women as the source of the problem. An insightful few have also connected our society’s misogynistic tendencies and booming pornography industry with the demand for those trafficked in prostitution. Hundreds, if not thousands of organizations have formed in America around issues of awareness, policy, and the rescue and rehabilitation of victims. The works themselves are ‘good’, but do not address the issue of sinful man and therefore are nothing more than the deception of wolves in sheep’s clothing. As much as people desperately want to hope in the good nature of man, this reality simply does not exist. The truth is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We have a sin problem that manifests in lust, abuse, and greed–to name a few. We don’t know how to love. The world’s systems have no answer for this; we must be reconciled to God. Having good intentions, doing nice things, and attempting goodness in general is not enough. These means cannot produce the end that God requires.
So what is the way of true justice? It starts here:
Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Joel 2:12-13
God isn’t looking for advanced skill sets (for He is the one who has graced us with every good gift), or for the wealthiest and most generous who can give millions to causes of justice (for he is Jehovah Jireh, the Provider of all things), or even the most adamant celebrity advocate (for Almighty God has need of nothing and no one). The justice that God has in mind–justice done in love– will not be achieved by zealous humanists who assume they care more about people than God does. God has commanded that we turn to Him with all our hearts; for when we do so we connect with the Lord’s infinite power supply of love, and can then go forth to speak, give, and rescue with power. This process cannot be completed in reverse order.