The Burden of Knowing

I walk down new paths, nearly every day, it seems. I step gingerly with the click of the mouse. Each link leads me from one website to another; entryways to knowledge open almost instantaneously. I force myself to see.

Children nearly starved to death.

Women heavy with child, victims of molestation.

Homes that are mere tin shacks.

Young girls sold into sexual slavery.

Neighborhoods built on city dumps.

Streets that flow a river of human waste.

Bodies decimated by disease.

I read hunger, disease, slavery, starvation, poverty, orphan, AIDS, malaria. The suffering is overwhelming. My heart is ripped wide open. Again and again.

I cannot turn away. I cannot pretend it isn’t there. Now that I know, unknowing is only a memory. Knowing is the path I walk. I cannot turn back.

Walking the path of knowing hurts. And it is hard. Will I ignore the knowing, pretend it is not there? Or will I do something? Either way, I am responding. Knowing always demands a response.

This week I learn that two hundred thousand children in West Africa are labor slaves to the cocoa growers who supply the biggest names in chocolate in our country. 200,000. Child labor slaves. So that we can eat chocolate.

The sweetness turns so bitter it is unpalatable.

And it adds a new burden. The burden of wrestling with the response the knowing demands.

Do I stop eating chocolate? Does living radical mean I must give up my beloved M& Ms? Could I truly enjoy them now that I know? Would it even make a difference? Me, just one person among millions choosing to avoid certain chocolate brands. Does it matter if it makes a difference if eating slave chocolate would betray my own conscience? Perhaps I could do more. I could tell others. I could even give to help end child slavery. What do I do?

The questions are hard. How could the answers be easy? I carry the burden of knowing. And I wrestle with the response. And I wrestle with the Word:

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. – James 4:17

Have you wrestled with the burden of knowing? How did you respond?

In hope,

Has the Lord given you a heart for the Least of These? Do you have a story or ministry that you’d like to share? If so, please link the direct URL of your post into the link-up below. Also, kindly use our community graphic in your post to help us find one another.

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About Shelli Bourque

An ordinary girl living by the grace of life in Christ. Adoring wife and mom. Lover of quiet places and uncluttered spaces. Beauty seeker and image maker.