The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8: 35-36
Restavek. That’s a word you’ve probably not heard before. Until I read a story carried last week by MSNBC, it was a new word to me, as well.
Restavek. is a Haitian word that describes “a person who stays with others.” That sounds innocent and innocuous enough. It’s not. Restavek describes 300,000 Haitian children, 10 percent of the population under the age of 18, who serve without pay in the homes of other families.
A person wouldn’t be far off if he said the word restavek is synonymous with “slavery.”
In 1804, Haiti freed itself from French rule and, as a republic, was among the first countries in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw slavery. Unfortunately, the law became unenforceable as the government decreed mandatory labor for many of Haiti’s people. Those laws gave birth to the restavek system where an orphaned child, a runaway child, or a child from a poor family, is brought into the home of a rich individual.
Most of the time, these well-to-do persons promise they will make sure the child is educated and provided for. Sometimes those promises are kept; all too often they’re forgotten. When that happens, the restavek children become little more than unpaid house servants. As such, they are often physically abused and beaten for their efforts. Most of them are uneducated. This is not a system that pleases the Savior.
In the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus explained the difference between slavery and sonship. He said: “The slave does not remain in the house forever, the son remains forever.” Jesus knew that it is only when we are sons and daughters in the family of faith are we given any rights. Those who are not adopted into God’s family remain slaves to sin, Satan and death.
So that we might be freed from such servitude Jesus came into this world. To forgive us of our sins, to free us from the shackles of Satan and death, the Christ gave His life upon the cross. Now, by the Holy Spirit’s power, we are given faith in Christ as our Redeemer.
We are, as Jesus said, ‘free indeed!” Now, by God’s grace, we are able to come to the Creator of the Universe and call Him, “Father.” Because of Jesus we can be thankful that we have been adopted. Because of the Savior, we can pray for those children of Haiti, and all around the world who are still physically and spiritually enslaved by the forces of darkness.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I give thanks that Jesus has made me Your forgiven and adopted child. As Your child I come to you on behalf of all those who are enslaved by Satan and human sinners. I pray that You will grant them the earthly freedom as well as the eternal freedom which comes from having Jesus as Savior. In Your Son’s Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries