When I was in Kindergarten, I watched a commercial which set to launch children to social activism. The promotion would highlight a certain child who was making a difference in their community. This stirred something in my heart and made me want to be like these children. So at 6 years old, I went out on the playground and tried to clean it up. I’m not even joking. I remember me picking up trash and putting it in the rubbish bin all by myself, just because I wanted to make a difference in my community. If the jungle gym was covered in sand, I would sweep off the sand with my hands, desiring to see a clean play area. Some kids even joined me.
As time went on, I became overwhelmed with the task of cleaning the playground. There was simply too much to clean. So I stopped.
I may have stopped cleaning up playgrounds, but I cannot say I no longer have the desire to see change. When I hear a story of a girl being sold into sex slavery, forced to sleep with up to 15 men a night, I want to see that problem change and the girl to be freed. When I hear of someone being bullied, I want see the change in the bully’s heart and for them to stop their oppression. When I hear of rights being taken away from poor people, I want to see a governmental system change into one that helps rather than mistreats.
Overall, I don’t think this world is all that great and certain things in society need to change. So what does this have to do with me cleaning up playgrounds? I’ll get to that in a sec.
This past week, I was able to participate in International Justice Mission’s orientation week.
IJM is a human rights organization that rescues victims of violent oppression, sets them in safe aftercare programs, and seeks to prosecute their oppressors. It is a really awesome, professional organization that does really awesome things.
But coming back from my little trip to awareness has been difficult. Because as much as I desire to see change in countries where some police officials are corrupt and easily hurt the helpless, it doesn’t seem like a lot of people do. It doesn’t even seem like I do. And why? Because it’s easier to say we care than actually care. Why should we care anyways?
Why is evil rampant in our society? Edmund Burke said it best: “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” We let evil happen because we do nothing about it. In turn, we should care about how others are treated because we are letting it happen if we do not stop it. It could happen to us and (shoot!) it probably does. If you want to know why we should care, we should care because whatever you do for the least in society, you do for Jesus. We should care because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
But when you care for someone, you can’t just say it . . . you have to show it. Words are cheap. And you know what? I care, really care, for those slaves out in the world. But it doesn’t matter to them how much I say it. They want to know what I’m doing about it. They want to know if they can be free.
I don’t know how to give my gifts of writing and film to this cause, but I know I can’t just sit and watch. I can’t be one of those people who only criticizes people who help and does nothing. Because honestly, this whole slavery situation has been sitting in my pocket for far too long and it’s causing me to have anxiety. Literally.
So, here I am. Starting from the bottom of the playground, trying to figure out how I fit into this world that seems far too big for my small stature. Already, I feel overwhelmed with the need, but let’s hope that this time it doesn’t cause me to stop.