Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Kyle Korver played with a large “X” marked on his right hand last night.
It wasn’t intended as any sort of shooting aid (though he did finish 6-10 from three point range in the Cavs win against the Knicks) or a clever focusing tool.
Instead, the “X” called attention to a hard-to-believe global statistic: over 27 million people worldwide continue to be enslaved against their will.
"The red X that I'm wearing, it's on my clothes too, (I) went all out today," Korver said while pointing to his t-shirt and hat that also had the mark. "One day a year, and literally thousands of people across the world, letting people know there's over 27 million slaves in the world today."
On a predetermined date each year, worldwide attention is given to “Shine a Light on Slavery Day,” an effort set in motion by the End It Movement, “a coalition of the leading organizations in the world in the fight for freedom.”
Korver said that one of his primary motivations for putting the “X” on his hand and wearing the gear is simply because people are so unaware that slavery continues to be a problem.
"Raising awareness. I mean, when people hear that number they're like, 'Man, are you serious? I didn't know about that’….It looks a little differently than we thought before.”
The End It Movement and its partners have raised over $4 million and the “X”—besides being worn on gear and written on the hands of people all over the world—has been shared over 500 million times through social media platforms.
The coalition itself is made up of both secular and faith-based organizations, coming together to bring about justice by organizing around four keywords: awareness, prevention, rescue, and restoration.
These are gospel words.
To wake people to the truth, to stand against evil before it has a chance to happen, to pull people from dire situations, to bring to life what had once been dead—good news!
Reading from Isaiah 61 to a captive audience, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” He then stuns—and offends—the room by letting them know that the prophet was referring to Him.
Every Evangelical reader is quick to point out the truth that this message is spiritual in nature, that people would be set free in their soul more than in their body. But this knee-jerk response has always been an overreaction to a Social Gospel message that lacks a Cross.
Transformed people who see the current world through Kingdom eyes also recognize that being the hands and feet of Jesus means bringing these words to bear on people’s physical reality as well.
Jesus saves the soul and sets people free from their personal sin, but He then invites those same people to stand against human captors and open the literal prison doors for people enslaved because of ongoing demonic activity in our world.
Korver and others used an “X” yesterday to make people mindful of an often ignored evil around the planet.
Could God be leading you to somehow take the next step, to ask how you might be involved financially or otherwise in prevention, rescue, and restoration for those whose freedom depends on someone taking action against their oppressor?