Charity isn’t justice.
“Victims of injustice do not need our spasms of charity. They need our legs and lungs of endurance.”Gary Haugen, President, International Justice Mission
“Spasms” of charity. Homeless shelters. Soup kitchens. Short-term bandages on society’s bleeding wounds.
Charity treats the symptoms of injustice while the root causes persist. Charity feels good (for the giver) while often perpetuating the dependence of the receiver.
Charity’s pretty safe. Food and clothes for poor kids? Everyone’s in favor of that! But start asking why there are kids without food and clothes, or proposing changes to level the field, and the rhetoric gets heated.
Justice requires “legs and lungs of endurance” because it’s a long-term investment. Justice – in a Kingdom sense – means working to set things right. It means fighting for systemic and institutional change rather than repeatedly bandaging the same wounds.
When we do the FREEDOM TOUR, we’re cycling to advocate for justice. It’s a great metaphor, because you can’t just jump on your bike and climb a mountain pass. Training is a long-term activity; it takes time and effort to develop “legs and lungs of endurance.”
Project Rescue began with a phone call in 1999. Three dozen kids had been rescued from brothels, so…now what? For those individual kids, justice meant a safe house that provided support, aftercare, restoration, education, and the opportunity to follow their dreams. Those kids are now young adults, ready to take their place and help India move forward in their fight to change the culture and corruption that support human trafficking.
The 20-year legacy of the phone call is dozens of homes and justice for tens of thousands of people who’ve had their lives restored. Restored lives. Productive citizens. Advocates for freedom and justice.
The long-term work continues – at the zoomed-in level – with our kids and our HOME OF HOPE. They’re middle-school aged now, but soon enough they’ll have that same opportunity to become the leaders that lead their nation toward justice.
The culture has a huge vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Healing systemic wounds is a difficult enterprise, mostly because injustice generates a lot of wealth and power and those aren’t surrendered easily.
We won’t cure poverty or end human trafficking. Our job is to do what we can to set things right.