She swerves onto the main road and I immediately know she’s trouble.
Her dangly earrings swing back and forth until she straightens out her blingy SUV into the lane beside me. She tries to text on her iPhone while balancing her sunglasses on her forehead and getting her child in the back seat to drink organic apple juice without spilling. As predicted, she cuts me off then comes to an abrupt stop. I slam on my brakes, the fury of injustice bubbling up immediately.
Still fuming, I arrive at work saying, “Guess what some flakey driver did!” Once my story is over and my frustration shared, I feel better.
I feel better because sharing is catharsis, especially concerning injustices. Having someone else agree about a wrong brings a sense of resolution, even if nothing is actually resolved.
It seems trite to call my mini road rage issue an “injustice,” with so many true injustices flourishing in our world. Abject poverty, lack of medical care, mistreatment of children and unfair economic practices are just a few real issues that millions live with daily.
However, human justice issues seldom hit close to home. Very few of us know of friends and family being trafficked or exploited. We don’t see families in indentured servitude at brick factories or children on our streets being sold for sex. The only way the injustice affects us is when we feel it. Besides physical disasters and violence, the destruction of beauty and exploitation of innocence can move us to anger and tears.
So when we feel the pang of injustice, is sharing our frustration or “spreading awareness” really making a difference or are we solving our own emotional need for catharsis?
Take my silly road rage example. Telling my coworkers about my feelings of frustration made me feel justified in my anger. But if I wanted to make a change, I needed to do more than just feel better. I needed to act. I could have taken down her license, pushed for stricter regulation of the no-texting laws, put her under citizens arrest…maybe not. I did nothing because I was not truly a victim and the problem did not warrant action. However, so many problems demand we do something.
We have heard the famous Edmund Burke quote that, “All that it takes for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” We must get out of the mindset that expressing frustration is accomplishing something.
The bottom-line is, with human justice issues, me feeling better is not the end goal. The end goal is making a difference.
This month is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Many of us already know about the heartbreaking reality of Modern Day Slavery and that approximately 1.2 million children are in forced labor and sexual exploitation.
Awareness is important. It is important because when you are aware, you can act. Awareness is the road, not the destination.
I encourage you to make a difference this month. DO share your frustrations, the statistics, stories of hope and courage. Also GIVE. Give money to organizations that rescue those in slavery, restore the broken and change cultures that are accepting of exploitation. PRAY. VOLUNTEER. Advocate for at-risk children in your neighborhood.
One organization effectively rescuing children in sex-trafficking is Agape International Missions (AIM). Read stories of victory over sex-trafficking and donate today at agapewebsite.org
We don’t know what it’s like to be trapped in modern-day slavery, but we’re aware, and we can make a difference.
Photo Credit: (c) Agape International Missions, 2012 Used by permission