human trafficking

Brianna Copeland: “Our Love of Justice Must Come from our Love of Jesus”

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If you want to pursue justice, do you have to start a non-profit? Or, is there a way that you can walk in justice daily?

In this talk from the 2017 Go Conference, Brianna Copeland, founder of Save our Sisters, explains how she walks in justice daily — and how you can too.

Watch the Go Talk above. Here are a few excerpts:

On the origins of Save our Sisters.

“This whole project started when I was just 14, my freshman year of high school. I had a sleepover that I will never forget. At that sleepover, my two best friends and I could not shake off the burden the Lord had placed in us to do something about human trafficking. We had heard repeatedly about statistics and stories and news clips, and we were tired of just listening. We wanted to do something. But at that point, we were 14. What could we really do?

“Six years ago, doing something to help women like Georgetta [a former victim of sex trafficking] looked like asking our youth pastor if we could have a cookout with our youth group to raise some money to send to an organization that was already fighting human trafficking. Our desire to do something that night did not come from our knowledge of the slave industry because, trust me, we knew nothing. But our desire to do something came from what we loved. And this is what we have learned.

God calls us to love justice, to clothe ourselves in justice and to walk in it daily.

“You walk in justice when you love justice, and our love for justice must come from our love for Jesus. That night in my best friend’s bedroom, the Lord led us to a specific passage of scripture that has continued to be the foundation of our ministry to this day. In Isaiah 61:1-3, the prophet writes,

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

“In this passage, the prophet Isaiah is talking about the Christ that is to come and what he will be like. This is the same passage of Scripture that Jesus reads in the synagogue in Luke 4. Luke tells us that after Jesus finishes reading, he rolls up the scroll, hands it back to the attendant and tells the congregation, ‘Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’

“Jesus came to earth, anointed by the spirit of God, to do just this: To bind up the broken-hearted, to preach good news and to set the captives free. And Luke 4 teaches us that if we are in Christ, this is also our calling. We are the ones now anointed by the Spirit. We are the ones sent to bind up the broken-hearted, to preach the good news and to set captives free. This is our calling, and we need to be obedient.

“When Save Our Sisters began, we realized with so much conviction that to be like Christ means we must walk in justice. The Lord has made that very clear, and we want to be obedient. Because of Save Our Sisters, my high school years were filled with a lot of event planning and fundraising and traveling to different churches to speak on the weekends or on Wednesday nights at youth groups. So in the midst of all of that, when I was thinking about college, I knew I wanted to go somewhere where this passion the Lord had given me for justice could flourish.”

Our daily choices end up defining our lives.

What Brianna has learned about justice at Southeastern.

“The Lord has shown me that he does not just call us to fight for justice, or just to campaign at an event. More than that, he calls us to love justice, to clothe ourselves in justice and to walk in it daily. True justice is a little less about passionate advocacy, although that is definitely a part of any justice ministry. But it is more about faithful love.

“How do you love justice, and what do you do when the problem of injustice seems overwhelming and pervasive? A few specific ways that my husband and I choose to walk in justice daily includes buying free-trade coffee and chocolate for our home, where we know that our enjoyment of these good things does not come at the expense of hours of exploited laborers for harvesters on harsh cocoa and coffee bean farms.

“Another daily choice we make is to be careful and considerate about what music we listen to or what movies and shows we watch because we know that although those things are well advertised as just entertainment, our consummation of language in popular songs and the soft porn that is often found in movies today directly affects the demand for pornography and the sex-slave industry. These are just a few choices that we make to walk in justice as we walk with Jesus.

“And it’s going to look different for you. Walking in justice daily might mean knowing where your clothes come from, or sponsoring an orphan, or welcoming refugees or giving to organizations like Save our Sisters.

“It is one of Satan’s greatest lies, though, to make you believe that just because you cannot solve the problem of injustice by yourself, that your efforts are worthless. That is a lie from hell, and everyday justice chooses to believe just the opposite of that. Because the bottom line is that our daily choices end up defining our lives.

“So, consider the effect of your choices on the hundreds of millions of stories just like Georgetta’s. Choose everyday justice, and let your love for justice come from your love of Jesus.”

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The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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