Let your justice light shine!
You are the light of the world — like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT)
By Mark Kelly
Eight-year-old Shyima didn’t understand what was happening. Her father was talking to a strange man at their home in Egypt. The stranger nodded his head and looked at her with a smile that made her uncomfortable. Shyima’s mother was crying.
Shyima’s family was in debt to the stranger, and he had come to collect. The poor family couldn’t pay what they owed, and Shyima’s father had offered her as payment.
Sold into slavery by her parents, Shyima was taken by her owners to the United States, where she served the family as a housemaid. She slept on a bare mattress in a garage storage room.
It was almost two years before a neighbor in the gated community noticed a child at the home was not attending school — and called authorities. Police officers and social workers came to the house and set Shyima free from her slavery in Orange County, California. Church ministries and private charities helped her make a new life for herself in the U.S. The slave owners went to jail.
Can you fathom it? A father desperate enough, valuing his daughter so little, that he sells her into slavery? A well-to-do family in an upscale American neighborhood keeping a child as a house slave?
We know awful things happen all the time, some of it so horrible we don’t really want to know about it. We know all the bad stuff doesn’t happen in far-off countries, but next door? In our neighborhood?
The truth is, we don’t have to travel halfway around the world to find injustice — helpless people at the mercy of dark powers. If we pay attention — like Shyima’s neighbor — we’ll notice things that don’t seem right and can take responsibility to do something.
Or we can just do something about the injustice we see every day: the female co-worker with bruises on her arm, the “shiftless” young men who would work if they had training and opportunity, the single mother who leaves the house on Friday night to spend a few hours on the street outside the strip club. The list goes on and on.
Jesus tells us to shine our justice light for all to see, so our heavenly Father will be praised. There’s no shortage of dark corners in our day-to-day lives. If our eyes and hearts are open, heaven knows what amazing opportunity our Lord will give us!
Learn more about Shyima’s story — and how you can help advance God’s Kingdom of Justice — by watching this video.
Mark Kelly is editor of Multiply Justice. Copyright © 2012 Kainos Press