Monday, July 21, 2014

What is worse than enslaving someone?

Well, in some places that would be blocking the door of the metro. As I have been here in South Asia, I have gained a greater understanding of just how far away justice can be for some people.

The fine is more than twice.
How bad can it be? Well, the answer lies not just in the plight of the persons in bondage, but in the institutional response (or lack of response) to it, the evaluation of criminal actions. A most telling (and motivational) moment for me has been this sign (at right) on the Delhi Metro. It warns the potential criminal punishment for obstructing the door of the metro train, including up to four years imprisonment.

On the other hand, India's law outlawing bonded labor, coercive exploitation of laborers due to debt or cultural obligation, states the criminal exploiter “shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and also with fine.” Three years. That is the maximum punishment. Because the fate of some travelers on public transportation who might be held up matters more than the freedom of individuals like these, who had their hands brutally amputated for refusing to work in bondage.

I have been struck in the past by the fact that the taking of someone's liberty, particularly for the purpose of economic gain and exploitation, is one of the few capital crimes listed in the law given by God to His people (see Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7) It provides insight into the value God places on the freedom for the persons he has created, and the seriousness with which he views the sin of violating that freedom. Rejection of this God and His law by a culture completely reverses the valuation of life and liberty to where justice becomes injustice; justice becomes almost impossible.

This is why the work of organizations like International Justice Mission is so important. And why the Gospel of Christ, which includes the only proper foundation of Justice (His word) must be taken into every area of life and the globe. As God’s people, we are called to do just that. As I get to work with IJM for the next 10 months, and learn more about the gravity of the evil being faced and the work being done, I continue to thank God for the prayer and support of so many. If you would like to support my work here, you can designate a donation for me through IJM’s support page found here. Follow the link and choose my name from the drop down menu.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.
- Isaiah 1:16-17

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