For the last few weeks I have been traveling across the United States with my parents. During a seemingly innocent stop at a gas station somewhere between California and Arizona I managed to get myself locked inside the single room bathroom along the outside of the building.
I walked into the bathroom, flipped the lock, and when I went to unlock the door…nothing. The lock would not turn enough for the door to open no matter how much I tried to force it. For several agonizingly long minutes I was stuck. All I could do was pound on the door and call out to anyone listening for help. Eventually my father went and got the attendant to wrestle with the door until they were able to open it with the key; but the emotions I experienced in those few minutes stayed with me and made me think.
The sense of absolute powerlessness was unnerving. There was nothing I could do to set myself free; I was stuck alone inside a small room with no windows, a locked door, and no other way out.
As we drove away from the gas station I couldn’t help but think of trafficking victims. My situation is nowhere near to what people who are trafficked experience, nor can I say I can imagine what they are thinking and feeling. But I had a glimpse at absolute powerlessness and isolation for a few minutes, and I didn’t like it. It was uncomfortable and terrifying to have my personal agency taken away from me.
People trapped by trafficking are pounding on the door to be released. They may be emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually locked up; but they are all trapped in some way. They don’t know if there is anyone who will hear them. I knew my parents were outside that bathroom door somewhere and wouldn’t leave without getting me out of there.
God gave us the key to freedom from sin when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. We Christians need to take the gospel to people who are trapped in sin and in trafficking and refuse to let them remain locked up. When we decide to follow Christ we take on His mission and purpose. In Luke 4 Jesus began His public ministry in Nazareth by reading Isaiah 61:1-2. By doing so He declared that setting captives free was the purpose of His ministry on earth. That means we also are to help free captives, in whatever way they are bound, whether it be spiritual bondage or physical, by sharing the awe inspiring gospel with them.