Ignoring a Problem Doesn't Make it Go Away

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One day while in a group for believers someone said she wanted to share some advice about the problem of sex trafficking that was being lighted in the news and said she believed it is best to avoid listening or reading about it.

Her logic was Satan wins either way, so it is better to not have negative information it in your head to impact you and then followed up with a statement about praying for all victims of abuse. But this doesn’t really match the advice the Bible gives. Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away and prayers alone is not a substitute for acknowledging the specific problems and taking action accordingly.

"Suppose a believer, whether a man or a woman, needs clothes or food and one of you tells that person, 'God be with you! Stay warm, and make sure you eat enough.' If you don’t provide for that person’s physical needs, what good does it do? In the same way, faith by itself is dead if it doesn’t cause you to do any good things." James 2:15-17. You cannot address a problem by avoiding acknowledgement of a problem. The devil wins when people do nothing and treat prayer as a substitute for action. God doesn’t want us to find pleasure or fall into despair by dwelling on the pain of the hurting but God doesn’t want us to ignoring the hurting either. Discomfort with situations should lead us to seek to resolve issues not to avoid it. “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” Proverbs 28:27

God wants us to see the hurting and help them because that is what God does. God didn't just say, humans fell into sin and it is so depressing down there on earth, so I will avoid thinking about their suffering and death and just pray about it while I sit in heaven surrounded by angels and nice things. No, God came to this painful world as our Messiah to help us. A child will be born for us. A son will be given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. He will be named: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Sar Shalom. His government and peace will have unlimited growth. He will establish David’s throne and kingdom. He will uphold it with justice and righteousness now and forever. Yahweh Tsebaoth is determined to do this!” Isaiah 9:6-7

Of the Messiah’s mission prophecy states, "The Spirit of the Almighty Lord is with me because the Lord has anointed me to deliver good news to humble people. He has sent me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to announce that captives will be set free and prisoners will be released. He has sent me to announce the year of the Lord’s good will and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all those who grieve." Isaiah 61:1-2. God does not avoid seeing our pain, "In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old." Isaiah 63:9.

So when we try to avoid being distressed about the distress of others-whatever the problem maybe- we are avoiding the example of God. If we are only fooling ourselves if we think we can actually be right with God and are showing true faith by neglecting the needs of others while hiding behind the garb of religion by only praying about the problems in society without actively doing anything about it by seeking to be part of the solution. “For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:2-8

Picture originally found here

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