The greatest Victim of revenge is the Avenger

With ISIS making headlines and recent remembrance of the 9/11 attack, our attention is again on fighting terrorism. For Christians, our response should be guided by scriptures. One of the most innate responses to attacks, and stories of beheadings, is to seek revenge. But, one of the clearest directives in the Bible it for us to not seek revenge (Deut 32:35, and quoted in Rom 12:19), but rather to love our enemies (Matt 5:44):

Deut 32:35: It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
Matt 5:44: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

The principle is clear and unambiguous. While Christians often fail to live out scriptures, there is generally at a least a desire to be obedient. However, this is one teaching of Christ, where Christians actually seem unashamed to boldly and blatantly defy and contradict Christ.

One of the strategies for some is to try to twist Romans 13:4 into an excuse for governments’ to enter the business of vengeance:

For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Out of context, this might indeed sound like a justification for vengeance, but with more context, it becomes clear that this is definitely not the case, for several reasons. First, starting from the beginning of chapter 13, it is clear that Paul is not addressing leaders or government, but rather subjects (leaders can learn from this passage, but only as long as they understand the context). We can not understand Paul’s words as a directive to leaders or governments to seek revenge, when he is not even addressing them. Instead, Paul is indicating that the government’s actions, as they pursue the common good of the people may legitimately engage in punishment (not as the one how is being satisfied by revenge) and taxation, and in doing so, may inflict punishment on you, to deter and restrain you from others, and this punishment may also serve God’s purpose in inflicting divine judgement. However, the vengeance or wrath mentioned is not man’s, they are acting as “agents”, not as a divine judge.

This verse also can not be used as a directive, since it is completely insufficient in declaring what crimes deserve what revenge. Deterrent justice, the legitimate form of justice that governments can and should pursue for the well-being of their citizens, can be empirically determined (we can verify how much punishment it take to significantly deter crime). However, when we endeavor to seek revenge, the only clear measure of the appropriate level of punishment for crimes that the Bible offers is that every crime is deserving of punishment beyond repayment, yet we are shown grace. How should a government’s endeavor enact this? And isn’t the greatest offense we can commit, to reject God? Should governments then started punishing anyone who is not a Christian? This didn’t turn out to well in the Crusades, one of the darkest points in Christian history. While government’s may inflict deterring punishment, that may be used by God for His judgement, it is absurdly unjustifiable for governments to actually take up the divine act of seeking revenge themselves, and it completely contradicts the clear Biblical message that vengeance (the act of deciding the deserved recompense for offenses) belongs solely to God.

Not only is revenge clearly condemned in scriptures, the desire to see others avenged for their wrongs is fundamentally in contradiction to the very foundation of the Christianity, the grace we find at the cross. The reality is that we were deserving of a punishment what we can never payback, and yet God, while we were still in sin, showed as grace. To turn around, and demand divine punishment on someone who is no more deserving of God’s wrath than we are, is to trample on that grace, to reject Christ, and the cross he bore.

I am not pacifist either. The reason I am not, is that I see pacifism is a form of legalism. While Jesus definitely taught us not to violently respond to enemies (it doesn’t get any more non-violent than loving your enemies), Jesus also clearly taught (particular in Matthew 12), the purpose of the God’s laws was not to define a mechanical process to satisfy God, but to reveal his purpose. When he make pacifism a mechanism of obedience, rather than a revelation of his purpose and vision of peace, we risk legalistically following a set of motions instead of looking towards the goal. However, in defense of pacifism, in practice, this actually seems to be relatively rare problem, as we most always err on the side violence as humans, instead of sacrificial peace.

I believe this gives a proper framework for understanding Romans 13, and government’s legitimate role in punishing people. In isolation, it is impossible to justify a punishment that is clearly harming a person. In the broader context of society, the purpose (rather than just the mechanism) of Jesus teaching, the ethic of loving others, loving the whole community, it be comes quite clear how punishing one person benefits the greater society. We can prevent future crimes, and in doing so we are benefiting the community, the society. This doesn’t need to be motivated by a desire to avenge past wrongs, but rather motivated by the legitimate and loving act of protecting future potential victims.

With the whole of scripture in view, Romans 13 isn’t a new revelation of a new ethic, or a new exception. It is in fact, simply a recognition that a well-functioning government that cares for its citizens (driven by Christians wholly devoted to Christ’s ethic, or even non-Christians who also recognize the need for collective actions and providing victims from injustice, which actually was the case of the government Paul was under), may be punishing (and taxing people), and stern warning that evil behavior may earn you a legitimate punishment from that government. There is nothing fundamentally new here, Paul is completely aligned with Christ here. He is not trying to correct a failure in the Christian ethic, he is simply expressing a legitimate expression of the ethic, and how it may affect us.

It is indeed tempting to think that Christ’s teaching, His ethic needs to be excepted for governments. I used to think the same thing. However, as I have studied scripture more, I have realized Christ’s teaching needs no limits placed on them. They are wholly perfect, consistently applicable to every situation, to all people, individuals, groups, societies, and governments, without error, never falling short of guiding us rightly. We don’t have to come up with fixes for Christ, where He didn’t quite foresee how His teaching wouldn’t quite work right for larger governing bodies. As Abraham Kuyper said:

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”

The recognition of how dangerous the urge for revenge is in perpetuating violence is why the Just War principles were articulated (by Augustine and later expanded by others). When the only thing needed to justify war is a feeling of righteous superiority and a desire for revenge, virtually every war, battle, and atrocity can be justified. It is only through an objective analysis of the whether war will actually yield better results for the common good of all, that combat can really be justified.

So should we bomb ISIS? If we have learned anything from the last two decades of middle east conflicts, it is that fighting terrorists is incredibly difficult, costly, and complicated, and can often produce the opposite of the intended effect. We are completely ignorant if we think there is some simple way to take out terrorists, so I certainly don’t claim to know the best tactical approach forward. But I do know that the values that drive our strategy our critical. When we take up arms out of revenge, we can be quite certain that we will indeed succeed at the immoral and unethical pursuit that we undertake. And as title, states the greatest victim of revenge is the avenger, and indeed our hunger for revenge has cost hundreds of billions of dollars (if not trillions), as well as thousands of lives, and to pursue revenge now will cost us more.

Again, I don’t know the right tactical strategy, and we are equally at fault if we ignore the oppression and sufferings of the thousands who have been persecuted and displaced at the hands of ISIS. And we may very well be close to erring on the side of doing too little, in this case, and ignoring their plight (it seems very likely that we have done too little for the sake of the oppressed Syrians). But, we can only embark on truly ethical, moral, and just tactics of armed combat, when we start with a foundation of having first forgiven, and recognizing that the death of any human, including a terrorist is a great tragedy. To deny that a fellow human needs God’s grace exactly as much as myself, is to deny the cross itself.

The greatest victim of revenge is the avenger. We, unwittingly, in our hunger for revenge, become our own victim of bitterness, and in our pursuit, costing ourselves the most. And God, in His infinite foresight, undertook the most ironic, and beautiful twist of fulfilling this. As the rightful true avenger, He willingly became the true greatest victim. Indeed, the greatest Victim of revenge is the Avenger.

Reading List 2014

books

I’m several months late but I thought I’d share with you what has been on my reading list this year. It’s an ambitious list and may spill over into 2015. For the books I have finished I’ll include a brief review. I’d love to hear about what’s on your reading list too!

1. The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley
I will write a whole post on this book soon. What an interesting read! I highly recommend reading this book no matter what form of education you have chosen for your children.

2. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This is a quick and entertaining story about a boy, born with a severe facial birth defect, who is attending public school for the first time in his life…and at middle school no less! I picked this book up because I had heard such great things about it from teachers and parents alike. It’s a great story about good friends, facing challenges, and not allowing the difficulties we encounter define us but rather shape our character. This is will be a book my children read when they are a little bit older.

3. A Heart for Freedom by Chai Ling
An autobiography about one of the primary student leaders of the Tienanmen Square protests and the massacre that followed. She shares her whole story from childhood to present day. I found the section about the events at Tienanmen Square the most interesting mainly because I knew so little about the uprising and the politics involved. Ling flees China as a most wanted fugitive and eventually becomes a Christian and starts an exciting and legitimate foundation to fight female gendercide in China.

4. Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
I’m almost finished with this book but the chapter I’m currently on is the most convicting and personally challenging so I’ve slowed down my reading a lot in order to process the conviction I’m feeling. Too often I read a good book and the information remains just that, information…head knowledge. Hatmaker’s writing is enjoyable, very funny, and approachable. She does not use guilt or flowery language to cajole her reader into making changes. She simply and honestly shares her experiences and thoughts and leaves the reader to make their own personal applications. That’s what I’m trying to do.

5. Just Moms Complied by Melanie Springer Mock & Rebekah D. Schneiter
I stumbled across this book accidentally at church and I’m SO glad I did. I thought it was going to be a “How To” book about conveying the ambiguous concepts of justice to our children. Instead it is a compilation of (mostly) blog posts from (mostly) Mennonite and Quaker authors who (mostly) live in the Pacific Northwest and are wrestling with how to teaching their children how to love, live, and think like Jesus, namely how to care for the least, our environment, and live a life of non-violence. They don’t give five steps to make your kids love justice, they just share their daily revelations and struggles. I found each chapter encouraging and refreshing and while I didn’t always agree with the authors I longed to discuss the ideas with someone. This would be a great book for a moms’ or parents’ group to read and discuss.

6. Pursuing Justice by Ken Wystma
After Kris’s great review of this book here how could I not add it to my reading list? ;-)

7. Stiff by Mary Roach
Somewhere, I think on NPR, I heard a great review of this book and it’s a New York Times Bestseller. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

8. The Beloved Disciple by Beth Moore
Okay, confession time, I have never done a Beth Moore bible study or read one of her books. Gasp! Since I’m still here typing and not burnt to a crisp from a lightening bolt I’m guessing that despite what our Christian culture might think that’s not a mortal sin. But seriously I don’t have anything against BM, I just have never had the opportunity to participate in one of her studies. I’ve heard great things and I found this book on my mother-in-law’s collection so I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about, plus I’ve always wanted to do a study on John.

9. The Educated Child by Bennett, Finn, Jr., Cribb, Jr.
I may not read this whole book. It’s thick…like 600+ pages! I intend to use it more like a reference book as my kids dive further into the public education system. I am SO thankful for the great school they go to and the unique education they are getting BUT just because they are going to school doesn’t mean that I don’t have a huge role to play in their education. I want to use this book to help guide me as I fill in the gaps and hopefully help my children be well educated children.

10. Overrated by Eugene Cho
Our community group voted to read this book together. We will discuss chapter one next week. I listened to his TEDx talk and am excited to work through this book as a group. I don’t think it’s going to be easy, he is pretty hard hitting from the beginning, but usually growth isn’t easy.

11. Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
Our church is in the midst of a huge transition and this book feels like an appropriate read.

12. The Mary Russell Series by Laurie R. King
These books are my purely for pleasure books. I’m part of a little book club (very little, as in two people) and this is the current series we are reading and discussing. Sherlock Holmes has retired and taken to bee keeping and solving the occasional mystery for his brother. He crosses paths with an orphaned and outcast teenage girl (Mary) whose wit and insightfulness just might match his own. They form a partnership and eventually a friendship while they recover kidnapped children, evade murderers, and prevent political coups.
King is a smart writer who really does her homework. Even though I am reading for pleasure I feel like I am learning with these books. The series is long so we are just reading a few:
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, A Letter of Mary,O Jerusalem, The Game, Pirate King
I’m currently on The Game, which also happens to be my favorite so far.

13. The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner
These are fast reads, somewhere in the genre with The Hunger Games but not as well written or compelling. The first book is by far the best. I read all the books because I was hoping they would continue to improve with each book. Sadly they don’t. Again, entertaining but little more. The movie for the first book is comes out this month.

The Commune Table

Here’s what we ate this last week with recipes or links whenever possible.

Monday–Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad (see recipe below) and Fresh Fruit Salad.

Tuesday–Chicken and Black Bean Soup, Chips

Wednesday–Cheesy Kale Stuffed Zucchini, French Bread
Recipe changes: Instead of turkey I used 10 pieces of bacon, baked and crumbled  up. Yum!

Thursday–Caprese Grilled Chicken, Green Beans

Friday–Leftovers

Saturday–Potstickers and Fried Rice

 

Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad
2 chicken breasts, well seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning (or something similar)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 head butter lettuce, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, rinsed

Grill the chicken and slice. Toss all other ingredients into a big bowl. Top with dressing (see below).

Cilantro Lime Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 TBS lime juice (more or less to taste)
2 TBS  red wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (depending on how much you like it)
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Mix until smooth and yummy.

Welcome Back…To Me!

It’s been a long time since I (Nikki) wrote a blog post, since March 2012 to be exact! Kris has added a lot of great content to this blog in the last two and a half years, including a new name. There have been times when I’ve been tempted to write a post but my menus and little everyday posts seemed insignificant posted next to posts about fighting malaria and social justice.

But I’ve missed writing regularly…okay, semi-regularly. I have quite a list of things I want to share with you from amazing books I’ve read to fun menu ideas. So Kris and I will attempt to merge our writing styles and create a balanced blog that represents both of us. Can it be done? Is it possible? I guess we will see! 

10 Accomplishments of Christ at the Cross

I want to make a list of some of the different things that Christ accomplished on the cross. It seems to be the tendency of different denominations and time periods to focus more on one, and extol the magnitude of the accomplishment and its implications. However, I believe that great adoration and glory is found not just in the depth of what He did, but in recognition of the breadth of Christ’s accomplishments as well. I attempted to think of distinct achievements, not just different implications of the same achievement. I think if we are to relate these together to a single overarching accomplishment, it would be to glorify God. This is not an exclusive list, just 10 things I thought of, in no particular order, that perhaps you might not have considered before:

  • He took our place for our sins, as a substitutionary atonement, providing legal justification before the Father, satisfying His wrath so that we might be forgiven. This is a major focus of modern protestantism, and for good reasons, the implications of this accomplishment are indeed truly life changing for us.
  • He ransomed us. Matthew 20:28 (and Mark 10:45, 1 Tit 2:6) says he gave his life as a ransom. It is important to note that a ransom is very different than the act of appeasing God’s wrath, as a ransom is paid not to the rescuer (God), but to the captor, which is Satan. Christ’s act of ransoming us was the focus of CS Lewis’s Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where Aslan offered himself as a ransom directly to the White Witch.
  • He defeated Satan, triumphed over the powers (Col 2:15, Heb 2:14, 1 John 3:8). Jesus triumphed over Satan on the cross. As Hebrews says, He ‘destroy[ed] the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil’. This is often known as “Christus Victor” (Christ is victorious). It is believed that this (or ransom) was the primary focus of the early church.
  • He perfected obedience, sacrificially submitting to the Father (Luke 22:42), pleasing and glorifying the Father (Isaiah 53:10). It is worth noting that this accomplishment has nothing (directly anyway) to do with us, it is purely an act of love and honor directly between the Son and the Father. While we naturally tend to be most interested in what Jesus did that affects us, this act stands above us, demonstrating that not everything God does is for our sake.
  • He satisfied and redefined justice. The natural idea of justice, that someone should be punished for their own crimes, was certainly not demonstrated at the cross, where an innocent man was crucified for the crimes of others. At the cross, Christ revolutionized how we view and understand justice, defining justice, the foundation of His throne (Psalms 89:14), being a justice focused on bringing restoration and freedom, rather than retribution.
  • He became the scapegoat, thus undermining the legitimacy of scapegoating in society. Leviticus 16 talks about the Azazel sacrifice, and Christ fulfilled the sacrificial system with His death. However, scapegoating represents a unique sacrificial act. Rene Girard has explored the implications that this has on society, showing how we grow in conflict, and eventually content ourselves by finding individual(s) that can be blamed for the evils that permeate our society (without actually dealing with the real problems). Christ took on the role of the scapegoat, bringing peace, but also subverted the practice, as the ultimate antithesis of a deserving scapegoat, forcing us to face the real issues (and in doing so, this actually led modern societies to be far more peaceful than ancient societies).
  • He reconciled all things to himself (Col 1:20, 2 Cor 5:18), at the cross, to make peace between God and us, between different peoples (Eph 2:14), for the redemption of His creation. He tore the veil (Matt 27:51), giving us direct access to the throne of God.
  • He made manifestly visible the impact of our sins (1 Pet 2:24). Our transgressions are not evil just by some random arbitrary decree of God, but because they have a real, painful impact on others. Christ took these sins upon himself, visibly demonstrated the pain and consequence that our sins have had on others.
  • He fulfilled the prophecies and covenants (Luke 24:44-46). He fulfilled the prophecies, demonstrating the faithfulness of God, and fulfilled the covenants, satisfying both the people’s requirement, when they couldn’t, and His response.
  • He identified with and become one of the poor and oppressed. Jesus clearly expressed his identity with the poor and oppressed (Matt 25:31-46), but he not only declared solidarity, he actually became poor (2 Cor 8:9) and oppressed (Isaiah 53:7), experiencing the full reality and suffering of the disadvantaged on the cross.

Any that you would add to the list?

Levels of Glorifying God

The Bible makes it clear that our ultimate purpose is to glorify God (1 Pet 4:11, among many others). The Westminster Catechism summarizes the chief end of man as to glorify God and enjoy Him. I want to suggest there are several levels or layers of glorifying God that we can pursue or enjoy. In many ways, God is like an artist, crafting His creation, writing His story, I think it is a helpful analogy to consider the fame and reputation of artist (like a writer, painter, or even engineer) as a way to think about His glory. In this list, I will draw from this analogy to describe different levels of glory.

  • The most basic and shallow level of glory is simply knowledge that a subject, an artist exists. We can come to know of the existence of an artist, just like we can come to know of the existence of God, but this says little of whether they are good or bad. This is weakest form of glory, although proclaiming the existence of God is an important and foundational step towards the greater levels, particularly for those who have not been introduced to our God.
  • The next level is information about the artist. We can share information about the attributes of an artist (or God), for example their purpose and focus in their art, and how they wish to interact with their audience. Some of this information may be favorable (he is popular), but this is still not sufficient to show how the artist is really good, or great, it is just informative, although it is an important foundation for establishing praise-worthiness.
  • Moving on, a deeper declaration of glory, is the declaration of the goodness of the subject. Here the glory goes beyond just declaration of existence, but declaring that he is good, great, or better than others. For an artist this equates to receiving acclaim or adoration for the works of art.
  • Next, we can give great praise by showing, with the explanations, reasonings, or stores, why the art is superior, how it is more lucid, evocative, or compelling than other works.
  • Going deeper is the manifestation of the goodness of the subject. This is the actual individual works of art of an artist. This is a deeper glory, as declarations are only commentaries on the actual works of art. The works of art are the substance that is being commented on. Occasionally God supernaturally interjects some event or creation, but God’s most common visible works of art, are on display in his central creation, people, and their behavior, attitudes, kindness, perspectives, and the work of their hands, visible demonstrations of God’s work, redemption, and creativity in their lives. Most real artists invest the majority of their effort into their art, and rather than marketing.
    It is worth noting that the 4th level’s foundation on the 5th can be comparative. Seeing lesser works of art or absence of art allows us to talk about the superiority of the great artist. In the case of contrasting with God, seeing evil is a critical contrast that demonstrates God’s goodness.
  • The penultimate level of glory of an artist is the collective set of all his works. The collection of all works demonstrates not only his skill in single piece, but the range and diversity of his skills. Leonardo da Vinci is famed not just for the Mona Lisa, but for his remarkable mastery across various mediums and arts, including painting, sculpting, music, engineering, and mathematics. The collective works can also speak to how they relate to each other, and perhaps even forming a coherent narrative. J.R.R. Tolkiens writings are adored partly because many of his greatest works come together to form an epic narrative, greater than the sum of its parts. Likewise, with God, His kingdom, His church, and how they relate to each other and weave together the great narrative that He has composed is the greatest demonstration of His artistry. It is also worth noting that this is the deepest level of glory that we can participate in.
  • The final and ultimate level of glory is the subject himself. The works of art, and all other lower forms of glory flow from the artist himself. Even before an artist has even began to paint or sculpt, the talents, creativity, and potential exist. All else flows from that. The ultimate substance of God’s glory is Himself, and we can neither add nor subtract from it.

There are implications to this perspective on the levels of the glory of God. The act of communicating to people and introduction to who God is and why He is good (often the focus of preaching the gospel), points towards a lower glory of God, but it is a critical foundation towards the higher levels of glory. To those who no know nothing about God, it is difficult to move on towards a deeper appreciation of God, and skipping this step can result in misattribution and misunderstanding of God.

However, once introduced, the main focus should turn towards greater levels of glory, towards participation, as a reflective piece of art of God. The Great Commission makes this goal clear, pointing past simple evangelism, towards the explicit goal of disciples who obey God (the manifested art of God, his obedient people), and towards the diversity of disciples in every nation, together shaping the mission around the image of his God’s collective artwork, made visible.

What do you think, is this a helpful perspective on how we participate in glorifying God?

Ending Slavery

Last week, many came together to “Shine a Light on Slavery”, and raise awareness of the need to end slavery. It was encouraging to see how much support there was for the #enditmovement, echoing the call fight against slavery. A key part of awareness is going beyond just knowing that an issue exists, but understanding the causes and impacts. I know I am little late, but I thought I would try participate by doing a short post about slavery, and the causes and effects of slavery.

Causes

Modern day slavery is a particularly symptomatic issue. You can’t cure an illness with a fever by taking a cold bath, you have to determine what is actually causing the illness. Likewise, it is easy to think that we just need to go in free people from slavery, without understanding how they get caught up in slavery and stay there.

While precise numbers of slaves over time is difficult to obtain, most researches believe that there are more slaves now than any point in history. This is an anomaly among world maladies. We live in world with declining poverty rates, declining crime rates, and declining war and conflicts. Why has slavery grown at the same time? This question gives us a clue to the causes. In fact there are some growing global concerns that are clear causes of modern slavery.

First, modern slavery has been heavily driven by the sex industry. Now it would be difficult to make any verifiable claim that we have become more sexually driven than in the past; throughout history men have always been driven to depravity by their sexual desires. However, the sex industry has grown tremendously through the modern accessibility of transportation and the visual exploitation of women through internet pornography. The objectification of women has pervaded our societies, but it vastly easier now.

Second, unlike the slaves of centuries past, the majority of modern slaves are in debt bondage. This means that rather than being caught and held in slavery by physical force, modern slaves are often caught, enticed, and trapped through economic means. Poverty is widely understood to be the one of the biggest factors leading to slavery. Poverty alone doesn’t provide a complete economic explanation, though. Poverty makes people vulnerable to slavery, but large inequality means that the wealth and power exists to easily enslave those in poverty (rather than help them). And indeed, while global poverty has been gradually declining, inequality, probably a more correlated factor behind slavery, has been steadily increasing by most measures.

Together these two forces make a very simple formula for devastating consequences. Simple put, when there are women in poverty who are desperately trying to feed themselves and their family, and there are men who view them as inferiors, as objects and have the wealth to satisfy their desires, preying on them, the result is inevitable. Any society that objectifies and treats women as inferior and accepts extreme economic inequality is almost guaranteed to have a thriving slavery or sex trade.

As we seek to battle slavery, let us work to both provide direct, rescuing and protecting, as well as to fight more against the causes of slavery, pursuing more egalitarian societies that will not breed slavery.

Purchasing

The issue of slavery has also increased awareness of buying decisions. Certainly this has been valuable movement, encouraging and putting pressure on companies to use more ethical supply chains is helping to reduce slavery. However, this can be easily go wrong as well. Avoiding products can actually have negative consequences as well. Because many are enslaved due to economic shortfalls, decreased economic activity only worsens the situation. Slavery may deny people the full benefit of their productivity, but zero economic interchange can be even worse. While ethical supply chains are ideal, and some organizations are even specifically employing those rescued from slavery. But, simply choosing to prefer international products from developing countries over domestic products is the single simplest decision we can make between different products that benefit those prone to slavery. Or even more productive is to forgo spending, to give to organizations working to fight slavery.

End It

There are numerous causes of slavery that abound in our world, and many of them are complex and difficult to battle. However, for now, I will echo the voices of the #enditmovement, shining a light on slavery, and hopefully raising a little bit of awareness of how we should and can work to battle this oppression.