13 Oct Discussion Guide: You Have a Part to Play – Modern Day Slavery
Before We Get Started
For our discussion today we will be using the You Have A Part To Play discussion guides. If you would like to follow along you can access this discussion guide on the website at mosaicchurchaustin.com and then select “community group resources” in the menu options.
Because the main goal of our time together is to establish relationships and learn how to walk with one another in all that God has called us to be and do, we’d like to begin by praying for one another. So, does anyone have anything you’d like us to pray for, or anything to share regarding how you’ve seen God moving in your life that we can celebrate together.
You Have A Part To Play Topics
Fame Culture. Homelessness. Creation Care.
Politics. Modern Day Slavery. Our Common Humanity
This Week’s Video
Unfortunately, slavery hasn’t gone away, it’s just gone underground. The brutal facts are that more people exist in slavery in our point in history than ever before (over 40 million), and that young women and children are most often the ones at risk. What can be done, and how can we have hope? The Gospel is the only source that gives us both the framework to understand the root of the issue, and the courage to be the kind of people who do something about it. How? That’s what we will discuss during our time together.
Why is slavery wrong?
Ken Ivey, Former Pimp & Trafficker (love146.com)
“A pimp looks for that weakness…then he uses those weaknesses to his advantage…they begin to see you as their champion, even if the weakness you rescued them from is one you created.”
What do you think goes on in the human heart that leads to people enslaving and treating other people like commodities rather than fellow human beings?
How do we see that same broken mindset manifest in ways that are maybe not as overt and obvious as modern day slavery?
So, then, even though the manifestation is different, what is the common denominator(s) at work in the way people treat one another?
In short, the answer to this first question is simply Sin. Sin is what goes on in the human heart that causes us to treat one another has commodities rather than fellow image-bearers of God. But, what is the root of that sin? The root of all sin is idolatry. It is using the creation God has given us to reflect our own glory, power, and strength rather than God’s glory, power, and strength. That idolatry is always rooted in fear. In the case of Modern Day Slavery and human trafficking it is the fear of lack, the fear of poverty, the fear of suffering, that both influences the traffickers as well as the traffick victims. The perpetrators see the opportunity to gain money, power, and influence by manipulating and using other people as a product to be sold. The “Consumers” of this product, fueled by their own fears of intimacy, commitment, poverty, or insigificance pay money to use and discard these victims for the purpose of selfish gain and pleasure. The victims are easy prey to the manipulation and coercion because they fear the danger, poverty, or suffering that might befall their family if they don’t go along with the slave master. At the heart of it all is fear which produces idolatry which manifests in sinful choices and behaviors by wicked men and succeptibility in the victims.
It is this same fear that produces the mistreatment of humans by humans in all kinds of different ways in our world today. Racism, political fighting, bullying in schools, office politics, not lending a hand to our neighbors in their time of need, abuse, divorce, wars, genocide, police violence, etc. are all fueled by the fear and accusation that if I am not the one in control, the one in a position of power, the one making the rules, then I am not safe because I cannot trust people and therfore I need to control them. Ultimately, what we are saying is that I cannot trust God and therefore I must become like God. Humanity has forgotten what it means to bear God’s image and instead we have sought to set our own image up to be worshipped.
As horrified as we ought to be about the issue of modern day slavery, the reality is we are far less horrified by the brokenness and mistreatment that happens right in front of our faces on a daily basis than we ought to be as well. We all have a part to play when it comes to the issue of Human Trafficking. That part may not be kicking open doors and rescuing girls from brothels, but it could be financially supporting the work of those who do, or it may be supporting a children’s home around the world, mentoring vulnerable and “at-risk” youth, becoming a foster parent, or maybe even something as simple as showing your co-worker or neighbor the love, dignity and worth they deserve as a fellow image bearer of God and helping them in their time of need. It is a culture of idolatry that produces the environment conducive to Modern Day Slavery, and if that idolatry is fueled by fear then the antidote is the unconditional love of Christ put on display by those who claim to follow Him.
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
Why, if God is truly good, would He allow such a wicked and evil treatment of people towards one another?
“I am sick of your sacrifices,” says the LORD. “Don’t bring me any more burnt offerings! I don’t want the fat from your rams or other animals. I don’t want to see the blood from your offerings of bulls and rams and goats.” 17Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.
Scripture clearly states that God will judge the wicked and rescue the oppressed. We know that when Jesus returns this will all be dealth with, but how does Isaiah tell us God wants to see His justice and deliverance take place today?
Because God is Love, and because we are made to reflect who He is to the world, we must also have the ability to love. Inherent in the ability to love is the ability to choose, or to put it another way the presence of free will. Unfortunately, in that free will comes the option to choose selfishness over selflessness. God placec the tree in the garden because without it Adam and Eve could never truly love Him or love one another, and without that ability to love they would also lack the ability to reflect who He is to the world. The conundrum is this, because God is loving and good He allows us the choice to be selfish and wicked. However, in that choice, God in his omniscience and omnipotence, has used our sin to actually lead to the greatest display of God’s glory, goodness and love the world has ever known, namely the cross of Christ.
In the cross of Christ God’s unconditional love has been revealed and within that love comes the regeneration of our hearts and restoration of our image-bearing purpose in which we are called to be “Ministers of reconciliation.” Or, to put it another way, we are called, in love, to step into the broken places of our world and, through love (which also looks like justice) be part of putting things back to the way God intended them to be from the beginning. Rather than blaming God for the evil that exists, we are called to partner with Him in the fight against such evil, knowing that it breaks His heart way more than it breaks ours.
No other faith, or religious, system provides a satisfactory explaination, or call to respond, to the issue of Modern Day Slavery, so how does the Gospel give us both the context to understand the root cause and the courage to be the kind of people who do something about it?
What is one small way you can help fight against modern day slavery today?
Let’s spend the rest of our time praying for the trafficking victims, as well as the traffickers, who are currently involved in this current day evil.
Text Journey Invitation
The ultimate goal here is discipleship, for us to encourage and walk with one another in our pursuit of being conformed to the image of Christ. Obviously, there’s only so much that can happen in a setting like this, so to continue in that pursuit together we are doing something we call our Text Journey. This will be a daily devotional sent to you via text and our ask is that you would partner up with someone from our community group (preferably someone who doesn’t live in the same house as you) for the purpose of talking through whatever God speaks to you or reveals to you each day. So, if you have not opted in yet you can text the word “Pray” to (855) 931-1450. If you have not partnered up with someone yet then let us know and we’ll help you get connected with someone.