“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and the helpless, and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9
The Bible calls us to be advocates. Jesus was the perfect example of an advocate. During His ministry, Christ focused on the poor and the downtrodden, not the rich or the popular. He reached out to those in need and fought for their rights, their place in society.
So what is an advocate? The word advocate can sometimes be a “church word” in the context of the Holy Spirit being our advocate to God. It is true that the Holy Spirit comes to God on our behalf and advocates, or petitions, for us. However, the kind of advocate I am talking about is one that often gets separated from church, when in fact, it should be one of the most central themes of the church.
By definition, an advocate is someone who pleads the cause of another, or one who defends a cause. Put simply, an advocate is just someone who stands up for what is right and defends and protects those that may have no voice. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did during His time here on earth? If we as Christians truly want to follow His example and spread the gospel, we must become advocates.
Unfortunately, advocacy and the church often get separated. Being an advocate, or the act of advocacy itself, can be seen as a liberal or a left-wing activity, which often turns the conservative Christian away from the word or the idea. The media and other modes of communication has shaped the advocate into one who fights for everything opposite of the conservative side of the political spectrum. Because of this, Christians can begin to see advocacy as a bad thing, as going too far and not allowing people to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and get to work. By this I mean that advocacy is often seen as coddling or enabling people instead of just helping them get back on their feet or achieving some goal.
However, this negative view of advocacy is hurting the church. First, we are not doing what the Bible tells us to do if we are not advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves. We are disobeying God. It is just as simple as that. Secondly, it is making the church look bad. If we as Christians just sit back and watch the injustices of our world unfold, we look like we do not care and we do not love our neighbors. This is the exact opposite of what we are called to do. The Bible clearly says to love your neighbor as yourself, so why do we not actually show that in action? What if Jesus just sat back and watched the injustices of the world go by? We would be living in a very different world right now.
So what does this mean or us as Christians and as advocates against sex trafficking and the sex industry? It means we must get up and do something about it. Jesus did not just sit back and watch. He acted. Write letters to your representative and senators and encourage them to pass legislation to help those in need. Volunteer with local organizations that directly impact your community. Be kind to strangers because you never know what they are going through. And pray. Prayer is so powerful if it is intentional and fervent.
If you truly want to be like Jesus, and obey His commands, advocacy is a good way to start. I often say that Jesus was the ultimate social justice warrior, just open up the Bible and see for yourself. He calls us to do the same each and every day.
“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” Isaiah 1:17
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