Gary Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission, « a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression, » shares his vision:
When outsiders consider Christians to be « sheltered, » they are basically saying that Christians are not living in the real world. The next generation struggles with Christians who talk about the problems facing the world but don’t do anything to stop them. If we were authentic, we would actually take our faith into the hard places of the world rather than try to build a safe shelter away from them.
A heart and compassion to get involved in the tough places of the world is not natural or easy. It starts by setting an intention with a compassionate heart that is willing to stand with people who are hurting. The word compassion comes from two Latin words, cum and passio. Cum is defined as « with » and passio means « to suffer. » Thus, compassion means « to suffer with. » As we go forth, tell the truth, and help people in need, we are going to experience a level of suffering…and this is where God is found.
I think that is what the world is looking for in Christians. I think outsiders find it inexplicable when they see Christians with the kind of courage to step into places of real brutality and ugliness because fear is so real. Consider Jesus’s example. He was not afraid to come to an earth that was full of violence. He left a heavenly place and came to the dirt of the earth to experience life with common, average, and hurting people.
Take the first step: who in your family, your neighborhood, or your school is hurting? Stand with them and then expand the circle of your compassion in your city, the nation, and then the world. I believe God pours out unbelievable joy and passion on us and those we are standing with as we get closer to the situations outside of the shelter.