The Healing Power of Love

healingLove is patient

To heal a heart, a broken heart, a broken body, a broken soul…

patience is required, to watch the bones grow painfully slow;

to change bandage after bandage, emptying bowl after bowl

of time and sensitivity, poured as a sacrifice upon the head of the wounded.

And finally, after many moons,

his eyes will open and her arms will rise to wrap around your neck and say, “Thank You.”

Love keeps no record of wrongs

“It’s all behind us” is the sound of forgotten pain.

A long embrace after rejection,

the smile that sees beauty even in separation

is the sign of forgiveness for mistakes.

To ingest acid and produce beauty,

to be unaware of the knife in one’s back and to move full force ahead without dying… that is the healing power of love.

Love hopes all things

And everyday I think about you and you and you, I hope you are no longer marra*; I pray you are happy; I pray only for your good and desire that maybe one day, we can meet in God’s park and walk through His field of fragrant flowers with the rising scent of smiles, laughter, positivity…

 maybe one day everything will be alright.

I know one day Love will make everything alright.

He will make everything alright.

He makes beautiful things out of all of it.

Love endures all things

Love survives the empty space between “goodbye” and “hello again.”

Love survives a slap in the face, the kiss of betrayal.

Love survives the harsh winter of abuse.

Many men have tried to kill her.

Many women have trampled on her breasts. She resurrects every time.

Every. Time.

And every generation, naive infants are born to teach us to give, to trust, to love again.

Love is the greatest of them all

It takes Love to love. We are nothing without it.

We love because He first loved us.

He was the one to reach aCROSS.

He was the one who gave His Son.

And that is the freedom we stand upon.

God is great.

God is Love.

 Fill us with Your Love, Lord, that we may be cured of the infirmities that breed hate, callousness, selfishness & silence.

Sing over our hearts every day until stone breaks into flesh.


“marra” – bitter

Here’s Why Christians Should Love Prostitutes

Definitions

Prostitute (noun): a woman/man who engages in sexual intercourse for money.

One of my favorite definitions, by far, came from Urban Dictionary:

Prostitute (noun): “A [woman] who sells her body to a variety of creeps, low-lifes and degenerates. The majority of her wages goes directly to her abusive scumbag pimp who takes pride in the fact that he arranges for her to be degraded at the expense of scum.” 

Intense tone but it pretty much captures it.

Introduction

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”

Matthew 21:31 (NIV)

Tax collectors and prostitutes. These were his people. In today’s world, we understand that there is a negative stereotype against women trapped in prostitution so can you imagine what it was like for them in Jesus’ day? Reaching out to women* trapped in prostitution was intricately woven into Jesus’ ministry. Fast-forward 2000 years later and prostitution rarely comes up in our conversation about what it means to be the church. Instead, women trapped in prostitution are relegated to the box of “dirty sinners” we wouldn’t want anywhere near our church building. We’re doing exactly what the Pharisees were doing thousands of years ago.

Why do prostitutes even matter? Should we care about them any differently than any other “sinner”? Aren’t they just debased individuals? Good questions.

No.

They do matter; we should care about them uniquely and they are not just debased individuals.

Here’s something that surprised me (even though it should have been obvious): the path of sex trafficking ends exactly where you would expect it to: prostitution, pornography, strip clubs and anywhere sexual acts can be purchased. It’s sad that things like this have to be explicitly stated but some people truly don’t believe sex trafficking is a real problem worldwide (Yes, North America included). While there are a few people who say they chose that life freely, there is a clear link between prostitution and sex trafficking. What does that mean?

For a brief overview of on the link between human trafficking and prostitution, check out this article.  It is an injustice that requires the intervention of an outside party. Doesn’t that sound like something the church should be a part of? Many of us in the church don’t seem to be ahead of the game when it comes to understanding this problem and being gracious to the women trapped in it. As followers of Jesus, we should be at the forefront of movements that bring freedom and healing to women trapped in prostitution.

I credit the shift in my thinking about prostitution to the Documentary,  Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. In it, the problem of human trafficking is explored starting with prostitution and going all the way back to people at the root of the problem. The documentary spans 4 continents. For me, it helped humanize women trapped in prostitution which was something that had, unfortunately, never crossed my mind. Say this with me: “Prostitutes are God’s people too.”

Statistics/the sad truth

Are you ready for some more statistics? I read a short article called, 10 things you might not know about women being sold for sex. Here are 4 of them:

  1. She is two times more likely than a solider in a war zone to have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (68%)
  2. She was just 13 years old when she entered into the sex trade.
  3. She is 40 times more likely to die than the national average.
  4. She is a victim of incest. (65% to 90%)

And what does society do to these women?

  • glamorizes pimping in rap videos
  • indulges in heaps of pornography (which ends up being bad for people’s sex lives anyway, just saying… topic for another day)
  • calls them dirty
  • refuses to help them

Resources/how you can help

But here’s what happens when the church steps in and becomes a conduit of God’s grace to women trapped in a life of prostitution. The following video is from a Christian organization called Wipe Every Tear. They have “hope houses” in the Philippines where women seeking to leave the sex industry can start over, get a college degree and heal through the grace and power of Jesus Christ. Check out this video:

There are many other Christian organizations and I could sit here all night and list them out but here are 3 of my favorite ones:

  1. The International Justice Mission: A global team of lawyers, investigators, social workers, community activists and other professionals. They protect the poor from violence in nearly 20 communities throughout Africa, Latin America and South and Southeast Asia.
  2. World Vision:  A humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
  3. Arts Aftercare: A hub that brings the arts community – musicians, painters, dancers, photographers, poets – together to use their unique resources as artists with at-risk youth and survivors of trauma.

This is what is going on around the world and it starts when Christians stop treating women stuck in the sex industry like diseases. When we humanize them, we become that much more like Jesus. We were never meant to stand apart from these women and point an accusing finger. I think Jesus knew something about women trapped in prostitution that we still don’t fully grasp as a society today: they need rescue and healing, not judgement.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice…to set the oppressed free…when you see the naked, to clothe them…If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday…”

(See Isaiah 58:6-10, NIV)


*I use the phrase “women trapped in prostitution” a lot in this article as a blanket term. The problem affects men, women and children. It’s just that the majority of them are women.