Slavery seems to belong to a past era of slave ships, shackles and castle dungeons but sadly this is a delusion. William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln are names of those passionate to abolish slavery who accomplished amazing things. And yet:
‘Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It is a scourge for humanity’ - Jeff Fortenberry
‘You can't regulate child labour. You can't regulate slavery. Some things are just wrong’ - Michael Moore
Describing slavery as ‘a dreadful thing’ in the Nineteenth Century, Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and became an icon of courage and freedom: ‘I think slavery is the next thing to hell. If a person would send another into bondage, he would, it appears to me, be bad enough to send him into hell if he could’.
Former slave trader John Newton found freedom and wrote these timelessly popular words:
‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.’
We need to honestly see and assess slavery today in the global, the national, the local and the personal scale. It is incredible that in the so-called sophisticated civilised modern world, there are still sweat shops, underpaid vulnerable workers trapped in car wash operations, slave traders trafficking humans in the ‘sex trade’, people enslaved by injustice and poverty. You don’t have to look further than the mirror! We are all in danger of slavery to ideas, to materialism, to wrong behaviours and actions. People find themselves driven by expectations, pressures for instant gratification and acquisition – seeming to promise freedom, ironically it is these very things that can bring people into debt and poverty.
Slavery was never God’s plan for us but we sold out on him for short term gain that has brought long term slavery and misery. John Newton realised that God’s rescue plan was one of Jubilee – a true freedom not just once every 50 years but for everyone for all time announced by the Great Liberator, Jesus Christ.
‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’ – Galatians 5:1
Have you found that freedom or do you find yourself still enslaved by certain ideas, behaviours and habits? Take an honest long hard look in the mirror and say ‘no’ to slavery – this is God’s best for you.
TAGS - slavery, freedom, hope, release, addictions