“Do they know?” “Do Christians in America know that the women here in Sudan are being raped and murdered? Do they know?” Amina asked the American missionaries, tears running down her cheeks and falling into the African sand.
“I was seven when our village was attacked. The soldiers threw my parents down a dry well, where they either died of starvation or a broken neck. I ran for days. I tried to stay hidden, but I got lost and the soldiers found me. They held me captive for three months, forcing me to cook for them, wash their clothes and then….” She sniffed, tears running down her face, “then they tortured me over and over again. Every day. All nine soldiers. One day they raped me unconscious. It was terrible, but they didn’t guard me because they thought I was too weak to run away. But somehow I found the strength and made it to a refugee camp.” There she met Dorcas, a strong Sudanese woman who runs a center for girls like Amina. At the center Amina learns life skills, and experiences love for the first time. “When I first came here, I could not understand a God who would love me. I’m just a girl. I’m nothing. But the longer I live here, the more the Christian workers love me, the more I think this story about Jesus might be true.”
Those made in the image of God are neglected, starved, exploited, abused, and aborted simply because they were born female. Gendercide is the mass killing of persons based on their gender. According to the book Half the Sky, more females were killed in gendercide than people killed in all of the genocides of the world.
Women and girls around the world are in desperate need of help. Countless secular aid organizations and non-profits have banded together to bring about social reform on behalf of these oppressed females. We know their cause as the Social Justice Movement.
Social justice is great. Meeting physical needs is vital for survival. It has to happen. Social justice gives food to the starving, clothes to the cold, education to the illiterate, business skills to the poverty-stricken, rescue to the captives, freedom to the slaves, voices to the silenced, rehabilitation to the abused.
But tomorrow…. Tomorrow the food is gone, the clothes wear out. Tsunamis and volcanoes destroy businesses and demolish schools. War comes and the freed are enslaved once again. There is nothing that we can give to these precious women and children that will not be gone tomorrow.
Jesus Christ, the God who created them as women in His image, who loved each woman in the slums of India, in the brothels of Shanghi, in the mud huts of refugee camps in Sudan, and in locked rooms across the Middle East. Christ has the power to transform their lives, both in this life and for eternity. Food and clothes give hope for today, but Christ alone gives hope that lasts forever!
As a Church we cannot give only aid without the gospel or the gospel without aid. The majority of these women need aid just to live long enough to hear the gospel message. We give food, clothing, healthcare, transportation, education, and microloans as tangible expressions of Christ’s love. Because until a woman, a girl, experiences love from a person, she cannot grasp the concept of a God who loves her, yet alone came to save her. But we give aid as an introduction to the answer, never as the answer itself. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Recently, the social justice movement has focused on the restoration of women to the exclusion of men. A report from the United Nations found that impoverished women, when given economic opportunities, will reinvest 90% of the profits into her family, while men will only give 40% of their profits for family needs. Because men are abusers, men waste money and men oppress their wives and daughters. While these facts are true – I have seen it with my own eyes in the jungle villages of Indonesia – these facts don’t reveal the whole truth. Men, the abusers and exploiters, are not the root problem, the problem is sin. Men, like women, are sinners.
Men are not the enemy, sin is. And the abusers aren’t always men. They are also the mother-in-law who beats her 9-year-old daughter-in-law daily for not getting pregnant. It is the greedy old woman who offers money for the daughters in her village under the guise of finding work in India, only to sell the girls to brothel owners. It is the stepmother who can hardly feed her own children, much less children from an earlier marriage, so she abandons two little girls in a crowded train station, leaving them to beg, starve or be trafficked. It is the mother in China who murders her infant daughter so she can have a chance to give birth to a son. The cause of this evil is not men, the cause of this evil is not women, this evil exists because of sin.
Carolyn McCulley warned us, “We, as women striving for biblical womanhood, must be careful not to marginalize men in helping women in need.” We help women and girls, not because men are the enemy or unsaveable, but because God commanded us to look after the widows and fatherless. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27 And as biblical women, we must pray without ceasing for godly men to go out into the harvest and win these sinful fathers and husbands to Christ.
Because sin is the problem because the abuse and exploitation of women, social justice is not the cure, it merely manages the symptoms. Only the Church has the cure for sin – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But where is the church? It seems that we, as the body of Christ, fall in one of two extremes. Either we shy away from anything remotely resembling social justice, ignoring the needs of women and children, we are petrified of coming anywhere near something that might look anything like liberation theology or feminism. Or we are so emotionally compelled by this great need that we jump on the social justice bandwagon at the expense of the Great Commission to take the gospel to all nations. “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20. A True Woman of the Word, compelled by the redeeming love of Christ, will take the gospel to the darkest corners of the earth, bearing with it food and clothes to meet basic human needs. The gospel of Jesus Christ meets needs…. spiritual, emotional and physical. Anything less is not the true gospel.
“Do they know?” Amina asked. “Do Christians in America know that the women here in Sudan are being raped and murdered? Do they know?”
Do you know?
Where are you?
Get involved with gospel-centered social justice ministries:
Help AIDS orphans through Covenant Mercies (www.covenantmercies.org)
Help make trafficking illegal through the International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org)
Help give new life to abused and exploited women and girls through Sisters In Service (www.sistersinservice.org)
Help give healthcare to impoverished areas with Mercy Ships (www.mercyships.org)
Help provide free healthcare for marginalized women with Heal Africa (www.healafrica.com)