Slavery is illegal practically everywhere in the world today. Yet, there are more slaves and human trafficking now than in all of recorded history. A slaver is one who takes away someone’s God-given freedom and rights for selfish gain. A slave is someone whose God-given freedom and rights have been taken away and is forced to exist for another’s benefit.
Different degrees of slavery exist; that is some slavers take away all freedoms, while other slavers allow their slaves to have some freedom. Different degrees of harshness in slavery exists; that is some slavers mentally and physically abuse their slaves, while other slavers do not. Indentured servitude practiced more so in the past than today is a form of slavery. Some kings in centuries past were so selfish and cruel that they were in fact slavers.
Scholars estimate about 10% (but possibly up to 20%) of the Roman empire’s population were enslaved. This would mean, for an estimated Roman empire population of 50 million (in the first century AD) between five and ten million were enslaved.
What can a person do when someone has taken away their freedom and rights, whether in part or all? We should remember that we bear God’s name for we are children of God (1). Children of God will do nothing to cause our Father’s name to be slandered (1).
Jesus taught that his followers, “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Mat. 5:39-42)
Jesus’ socially radical teaching includes that I should show respect to someone who takes away any or all of my rights and freedom (1). Also, rather than resent someone who claims to be a believer in Jesus and yet takes away any of my rights or freedom, I am to show them even more respect than if they were not a confessed Christian (2).