God is changing my perspective of the sex industry. Perhaps He will begin to change your perspective, as well.
Some consider pornography and prostitution to be victimless crimes. They reason that these are consenting adults doing what they want. Even those who dance at strip clubs are taking full advantage of the economic reality that men will pay them well for them to work there. People make their own choices, so who are we to judge?
Others (and this has included me) tend to look at the sex industry and see only an obvious distortion of God's design for sex. We see the ugliness and the brokenness of it and wish that it would all just go away. We have sympathy for those who are involved in it, but what they are doing seems so vile that we choose to distance ourselves in an attempt to be "set apart."
But God is opening my eyes. I am slowly gaining a new perspective. As He is changing my heart, a few select words are becoming the primary descriptors I now use to characterize the sex industry:
Victims. Abused. Teenagers. Trapped. Powerless. Damaged.
The time that Jenifer and I have spent with Polly Wright of We Are Cherished over the past few months has put a new face on the women (and men) who are caught up in this ugly world. She was sexually abused as a child, taken advantage of as a teenager, and fully involved in the sex industry by 19. A friend from the past fifteen years, Polly has only recently told her whole story and developed a ministry to reach girls in the strip clubs of Dallas/Ft. Worth. God has used her to change my perspective. (Watch a video of Polly's amazing God story here.)
The fact that human trafficking has become something of a "hot topic" in the church has helped change my mind, as well. We are becoming more aware of the 27 million people who are currently slaves in our modern world. This is a far greater problem than it ever was in the days of the Civil War. Many of these slaves are women who have been tricked into becoming prostitutes and who are now powerless to escape.
A video of a news report from Ohio changed my perspective even more. It tells the story of a judge who stopped treating prostitutes like criminals and started treating them like victims. Instead of locking them up, he created an innovative program to break the cycle of sin in their lives and offer them a real chance at a new life. It's a powerful story and I have attached the clip below. I pray that God uses it in your life the way He used it in mine.
We must open our eyes to the reality that most in the sex industry are looking for hope...for a way of escape. That includes the exotic dancer who relies on a steady stream of drugs to numb her from the pain and shame of what she is doing. It includes the porn star who cowers in a corner, clinging to a teddy bear like a toddler once her work is done. That includes the orphaned 14 year old girl in Thailand who will be violated by an American businessman for $50. No matter what is portrayed in the mainstream media, there is absolutely no glamor in this industry.
It does them no good when we see them as criminals. They are broken by the effects of sin just as we are. We must come to associate them with the words I have started using. And then we must do something about it.
If they are abused, then the body of Christ must respond with healing. For we know the Healer.
If they are victims, we must pray that the courts offer them justice and mercy. Because we serve the righteous Judge.
If they are teenagers, we must help parents to offer guidance and protection. For Jesus loves the little children.
If they are trapped, then the church must begin to see our role as rescuers. As our Heavenly Father is the Great Rescuer.
If they are powerless, we must show them where power for change is found. It is found in the Holy Spirit of God.
If they feel damaged, we must show them that it is never too late for God to bring complete restoration to their lives. For we know that "anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
If you have trusted Christ, then you belong to Him. And you know these things to be true in your own life. It's about time for us to confidently believe that it is true for everyone....including those most marginalized by our society. Pray that He begins to change your heart toward all those who are trapped in a lifestyle that troubles them just as much as it troubles you.
And watch this video. It's that good....