The Reality of the Hunger Games

            For those who are unfamiliar with the recently popularized book/movie series, The Hunger Games relays one girl’s struggle for survival in spite of tyranny.  Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her little sister’s place in the Capitol’s annual survival game.  The Capitol represents a strict regime ruling over 12 impoverished districts in post-war America.  In an effort to maintain the fearful compliance of the districts, the Capitol annually hosts a cruel game, in which children from each district are chosen (one boy and one girl) to participate in a comprehensive death match.  The children must slaughter each other, until only one victor remains.  The participants are dependent upon sponsors for survival supplies, thus the match is publicized by the media like a reality television show.
The plot is much more complex, but the basic premise encompasses the question- how do you defeat a system of injustice when all the odds are against you?
            I have seen The Hunger Games in theaters twice in the past week… once in English with my teammates, and again in Thai with two of my Thai friends from the SHE staff.  As I watched the movie with my Thai friends, I asked God to speak; I figured I would not understand the Thai without English subtitles, so maybe I’d hear from God instead. 
            We are hosting hunger games every day.  Girls and boys (raised to be girls) are sent from Thailand’s Northern provinces to participate in a cruel show.  Tourists from around the globe flood Bangla Road in hopes of purchasing a ‘companion for the night.’  Poverty allows for few alternatives for young adults in Chang Rai, Chang Mai, and Isan.  The demand comes from wealthier foreigners, seeking satisfaction for their insatiable lust.  Wealth censures hurtful professions such as prostitution in most Westernized nations, but in cultures plagued with a capital dichotomy, it’s permissible to assess the price of a human being.  It happens to thousands of women on Bangla Road every night.  They are forced to put on a smile and sacrifice their sense of value to customers who pay to violate them.  Alternatives are bleak, and like Katniss, many of the bar girls admirably refuse to abandon their families in the North- children and parents in need of money for food and basic shelter.
            As I sat in the theatre, absorbing the metaphor, conviction burned in my chest.  I am the hands and feet of the Living God, who refuses to sell His children; thus He paid the ultimate price, so that we could be free.  I am His hands and feet, and yet for most of my life, I have done nothing to revoke this injustice.  I heard Him remind me, My grace is sufficient for you, but that does not excuse me from continuing the work that He has started.  As Suzanne Collins aptly illustrates in her work of fiction, love is the most powerful force in the face of injustice.  When we operate from a heart centered on Christ’s love, complacency and unawareness evaporate; filled with His divine affection, we are more powerful than the greatest injustice of all- because of the resurrection, Christ declared that our God is greater than the massacre of innocence.  He is bigger than the hurt on Bangla Road, and He asks us to demonstrate His power to the world.  

"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." ~Saint Teresa of Avila

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