“What can I even do to help?”
Once people understand the overwhelming problem of modern-day slavery, that question often stops people in their tracks. Human trafficking is such an enormous issue that would-be advocates find it difficult to imagine how their individual lives can make a difference.
Kimberly Merida is a member of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C., where she is active in women’s ministry and orphan advocacy. Raleigh Sadler's book Vulnerable was released Feb. 1. Visit raleighsadler.com/vulnerable.
In his book Vulnerable: Rethinking Human Trafficking, Raleigh Sadler sets out to answer the question of how ordinary people can fight a global injustice such as human trafficking through a gospel-centered lens.
The book’s central theme is this: Jesus Christ motivates vulnerable people, like you and me, to love other vulnerable people because he became vulnerable for us, even to the point of death.
Sadler sheds light on humanity’s default mode – categorizing everyone as “us” or “them” – by explaining how the gospel demonstrates that our weaknesses should not shame and separate us. In fact, to the contrary, our frailties actually qualify us to enter into the suffering of others.
The gospel message reveals that we are broken, imperfect people redeemed through the perfect Son of God who invites and empowers His people to join Him in the work of caring for other broken, imperfect people.
Sadler urges Christians to understand their own limitations, not as disadvantages, but as an important part of the solution. He also reminds us that advocacy must not be done in isolation. It is collaborative work that takes place in communities for the good of the global community.
Across six sections, the book moves from defining exploitation to an examination of how God cares for the defenseless. Sadler equips believers to use daily mindfulness as a way to identify people that are suffering. He debunks common myths, such as the idea that human trafficking primarily occurs around big sporting events. It’s a year-round global injustice.
Sadler calls us to recognize our own frailty. He acknowledges the potential effects of entering the suffering of others and calls readers to wisdom and practical self-care.
The final sections of the book urge us to join God in pursuing justice for the vulnerable. Sadler concludes with an exhortation to move from passive recipients of grace to active participants of grace.
Sadler’s book is a fresh means of encouragement and training for Christ’s call to love our neighbors, both seen and unseen. It is Christ’s finished work on the cross that empowers compassionate neighbor-love and the pursuit of justice. Jesus has done the work and invites us to join Him where He is already at work. Every one of us can do something to engage human trafficking, and that “something” is simply being who you were created to be.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Kimberly Merida is a member of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C., where she is active in women’s ministry and orphan advocacy. She and her husband, Tony, have five adopted children.)