This is an issue that haunts me. I have literally woken up at night from dreams where I hear the sound of a little girl’s terrified screams. I envision her backing into the corner of a dimly lit room in a brothel – away from the grown man who has come with evil intent. This is a huge issue – and a crime we have to fight together. Are you involved in this battle? I’d love to hear what you’re doing.
Have you experienced compassion in your life? How has it impacted you – changed you? Have you demonstrated compassion? How did that experience affect you – change you? Have you ever really considered the impact of compassion in our world?
God has written the message of His compassion across my heart and laced it through the landscape of my life. He has poured His compassion out on me, and He has allowed me to rally people together to practice it in and through the local church. I have had the privilege of watching Him perform miracles as He reshaped hearts and mobilized people in acts of compassion that dramatically impacted the lives of those sharing it – and the lives of those receiving it.
Here’s something God has taught me about authentic compassion. Maybe this will help you as you warm this world with your own demonstrations of compassion.
Authentic compassion does not make people dependent on systems, organizations, ministries, or governments.
- There is a time and place for emergency assistance and even long-term care (orphans), but authentic compassion never desires to make that assistance a permanent lifestyle.
- Authentic compassion always desires to build people up and make them stronger.
- It sees the potential in every person.
- It seeks the best for that person.
- It seeks to encourage them toward their fullest potential and the fulfillment that comes from living out their God-given purpose on this earth.
- It allows people to realize the deep satisfaction and dignity that come from a day of hard work.
- Authentic compassion is proactive.
- It empowers and makes people stronger.
Dusty Feet is a beautiful organization that is empowering people in an effort to prevent their victimization in the horrors of human trafficking. There are 60,000 street kids in Nairobi alone who are not accounted for. Street children are often murdered for their organs which are then sold on the black market. There are instances of labor trafficking, but sex trafficking is most prevalent.
“The mission of Dusty Feet is to be an advocate for those oppressed by poverty without creating a foundation of dependency. The Dusty Feet Organization is focused on community development and education for people society has dismissed: the street child, commercial sex worker, child soldier, or anyone subjugated by deprivation. Dusty Feet cares for and shows respect for all people regardless of race, religion, culture and socioeconomic status.” “Dusty Feet is an organization bringing change by “Social Entrepreneurship.” Social entrepreneurship can be defined as: using entrepreneurial ideology to help alleviate societal ills. When we examine problems developing nations are facing, most issues can be associated with economic insufficiencies.” (From Dusty Feet website)
When our family traveled to Uganda, Africa in 2005, we learned about the Lord’s Resistance Army (“LRA”) and their victimization of children in northern Uganda. What we heard tore at our hearts. Later that year, we watched a documentary: “Invisible Children – Rough Cut.” That video communicated the crisis facing the children of northern Uganda who live in constant fear of Joseph Kony – leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
I recently read the book, “Not For Sale” where David Batstone profiles abolitionists around the world who are leading the charge against human trafficking. In its pages, I was once again confronted with the travesty in northern Uganda. In 1986, Joseph Kony started a rebellion against the current government in Uganda. He populates his army through the kidnapping and victimization of boys. Under torture and threat of death, these boys are forced to become murderers, mutilators, and child soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army. Many are made to kill their own parents. Innocent girls are also kidnapped, abused (some mutilated), raped, and forced to become sex slaves. Some human rights groups estimate there may be as many as 66,000 youth who have been taken captive. Here are some facts from Batstone’s book:
1) The LRA teaches males to view women as creatures that exist to serve their sexual pleasures. A commander may have four or five concubines. It has been reported that Joseph Kony has as many as 60 young sex slaves. Young men are taught to handle women violently when they do not submit to a male. One ex-slave watched Kony order the murder of two young commanders because they were too nice to their concubines.
2) Another segment of the book tells the story of three young girls who escaped the LRA during a raid by the national army. The girls walked into World Vision’s children-of-war camp in Gulu with heads completely shaved, emaciated, and an empty gaze in their eyes. One of the girls had been forced to carry a boiling pot on her head causing a severe burn that exposed part of her skull.
3) A female victim named Mary recalls watching LRA soldiers viciously hack away at five of her friends with machetes. They spared Mary because she was pregnant and they feared it might bring them bad luck. So instead of killing her, two boys held her down while a third boy cut off her nose, lips, and ears – a signature torture of the LRA.
This week my oldest son called me from college to tell me about a video (and a movement) that’s gone viral on the internet.
I put off watching it until I could set aside time to watch the full 30-minute video. Several days later, my youngest son told me about the same video. He’d just discovered it and passionately urged me to watch it. I did and it’s powerful. “Kony 2012″ is a movement that provides some very practical and doable ways to combat the evil of Joseph Kony. But the history of Uganda is complex and there have been some legitimate criticisms.
And Invisible Children has responded.
Whether or not you believe the Kony 2012 movement is helpful or hurtful, one thing is certain. Joseph Kony’s reign of terror is very real. He has damaged and terrorized far too many within Uganda and beyond. He needs to be brought to account – and precious children need to be rescued and rehabilitated.