Kony 2012, Sex-Trafficking, and the Christian Response to Justice Issues

I’m not sure there’s a more amazing piece of storytelling than the Kony 2012 video. It’s worth the 30 minutes as long as you are prepared to cry, be angry, and get fired up. [WATCH: KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo]

As I’ve spoken with a few people about the Kony video and how Christians should respond, I’m struck by a few thoughts.

There is so much brokenness in the world, how can you ever identify where to get involved? It seems that various winds of doctrine have been joined by various winds of mercy and justice initiatives. Paul obviously has negative connotations for the winds of doctrines and it is rare, though not unheard of, to have heretical justice initiatives. Nevertheless, being tossed about by doctrines or justice opportunities can make us completely ineffective if we do not assess ourselves before jumping in.

Every day we are confronted with a terrible issue in our world, whether it be sex-trafficking locally and globally, the Invisible Children, the global orphan crisis, racial inequality, and global poverty. Every time we see a new issue we could jump at the need to get involved but constantly be shifting our focus.

Living in New York City with 8.5 million people, it is easy to both see and be overwhelmed by the need. How should we respond? How should we approach involvement? Are we supposed to be involved in every justice issue? How does the church or the individual Christian approach these initiatives?

The Gospel Motivates and Empowers us to Mercy and Justice

Imagine pockets of people giving themselves to seeing brokenness restored, injustice ended, and local/global issues resolved. This is not our creation of the church, this is Jesus’ vision and mission for the church. We are inspired by these issues because we were created to embody our God’s character toward these issues. When we engage the brokenness of the world we are reminded of God the Father who sent Jesus, publicly declaring His passion in action to initiate the end of brokenness, suffering, and ills caused by the selfish desires that live inside of us. (Ed Stetzer has some good scriptural evidence for us)

Christian faith gives us a view towards the Kingdom of God where Jesus is King and eliminates all tears, pain, and injustice. There is no greater motivation or means of empowerment.

It also means we have responsibility. None of us can stand on the sideline and avoid issues of justice and needs for mercy. We must engage and we must do so led by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Don’t Just “Like” Everything - Settle On and Do Something

Now that Facebook is integrated into everything in the world, I am guily of hitting the “Like” button and settling into armchair advocate of a cause. Causes aren’t changed simply by web-interaction. It helps with exposing people to ideas, making an idea viral, but personal involvement and engagement of the issue is what rallies people to a cause. So choose a cause and focus on it.

Get Informed Beyond a Moving Video

Joe Boyd had a great article about a Christian response moving beyond emotive acceptance to informed action. Storytelling is powerful, so we must be careful to not enter an issue naively assuming we know the simple solution to an often complex reality.

Invest Deep More Than Wide

Real change happens over a generation. The moving video of Kony 2012 was a decade just in the making and could be a decade in accomplishment.

A sustaining impact comes from commitment to the idea which requires that we move our excitement and emotions to lifestyle-changing action.

The diversity of the body of Christ allows for us to find peace in addressing deeply a few issues rather than addressing broadly every issue on a surface level. We need to encourage people to develop discernment in line with their gifts, talent, and passions to mobilize more people for more issues.

These types of movements make me excited about heaven where we will get to celebrate Jesus’ destruction of injustice. I can’t wait.


Cross-posted from Logan's personal blog.