a call to anger:
I sat at dinner, fuming. My heart pounding. As two older white men sat at the table next to us discussing their day, their “girlfriends” and the lovely ladies that “flirted“ with them at the bar as they played pool. Sounds innocent enough, but there is a darker context. I knew what they were talking about, they were talking about buying women. The very women I am here to minister to. Those girlfriends? Yeah, they pay them. They talk about it as casual as discussing the weather. I looked up around the restaurant, besides our table of four girls there were about 15 older men, in groups or by themselves. It is a pattern. These men come to Thailand, and places like it, alone or in groups, for holiday, for fantasy. They tell themselves its love, its normal its okay, they try not to think about the families, or whatever situations they leave at home. They come to purchase women. They come to see their “girlfriends.” these women who are just trying to make a living, just wanting to be loved. These women trying to survive, get used over and over. They become beaten and battered by a system that tells them they are worthless, and they start to believe it.
my team moved to a ministry whose purpose is to do something about this issue.i am now participating in their ministry which is a bar ministry in the red light district. We spend time in prayer walks in the mornings through the bar areas, and at night alternating between prayer and intercession and being out at the bars building relationships with the women. We get opportunities to share stories with the women, talk about Jesus, to tell them they are valuable, to tell them they are worth more, to speak life over them, overall we get to spend quality time with them that doesn’t involve using them. Honestly this is an amazing ministry! I look forward to ministry every day.
We get to be a light in the darkness, shaking up the atmosphere as we pray and bring the Father’s joy, oh and we also get to make the customers feel a little uncomfortable with our presence.
In about a 5 minute walk through of the bars the other night I saw a couple hundred of these men in their 40s-50s and some younger men as well, they are there for one thing, they are there to pay for sex. It was overwhelming. It was everywhere. Sadly enough, these tourists only make up 20% of customers even though they look like the overwhelming majority, 80% of the “johns” here are Thai men themselves.
Everywhere we walked God drew my eyes to these men.There's something that happens when you see women being bought and sold repeatedly, you get angry.
How could they do this? Disgusting. What’s wrong with them? Gross.
And then God began to speak to me:
These are my children too: they are lost.
They are confused, they are broken.
They are chained by their sin and blinded by their shame.
I didn’t just die for your sins on the cross- I died for theirs too.
I need to learn to love these men. I need God’s help for that, and let me tell you it will be a process. But it doesn’t stop there: I need to love them, but I don’t need to love their actions. God is stirring up in me a righteous anger. how can we, especially as Christians sit by and let this continue to happen in our cities, in our countries, all over the world? When will we say enough is enough? The Church as a whole must rise up and do something about this issue, to be a voice for this injustice.
You see- God is a God of righteousness. Countless verses in the bible are dedicated to this idea, meaning that this is something that is strong on His heart. He may love these men looking for love in the wrong places, and He does, but He absolutely hates the sin they engage in. How can we sing out God’s faithfulness every Sunday in church and over coffee with our Christian friends, and then on the other hand in the back of our minds casually accept that he couldn't be faithful in this area, nothing will ever be done about this issue: it can’t change, the battle is over, it’s too far gone.
I refuse to do that any longer.
God is a God of righteousness, and he is faithful to bring redemption.
“The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge
The world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice. The Lord is
a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:8-10
Not only is God a God of righteousness, He is a refuge, a stronghold in times of trouble. He was there in those bars, a light in that darkness, before I came, and he’ll be there when I move on. His heart is for the people there-both the women and the johns, the pimps and the street children, the drunk and the lonely.
As Christians we are not meant to halfheartedly speak out truths about God now and then and only on Sundays- we are supposed to live it, breathe it, build our very lives on it. Our God is a God who saves. He is a safe bet, a firm foundation.
We cannot see the end result right now, but we don’t have to. It’s about faith.
We walk by faith, and not by sight.
Once we have faith that he will bring redemption, it doesn’t stop there. He beckons us. Beckons us to come along side Him and partner with Him in ushering in a change. He’s not asking all of us to drop what we are doing to run into the red light districts yelling, but He is asking us to pray, to worship, to call forth and be a part of a generation who will not allow this to continue. A generation who will take action. He calls us to take on his righteous anger and raise awareness of the injustice that breaks His heart. To be a voice. To intercede and contend for revival. To stop allowing a culture that accepts the purchasing of another human, for sex or for any other reason. To stop allowing a culture that sweeps this injustice under the rug.
Out of sight, out of mind is not an option anymore.
Let’s get passionate, let's get angry and LET'S take action.
Let’s pray, and watch God move.
Learning to love the people that perpetrate this industry, but saying enough is enough. we will not idly let the industry continue to flourish.
So let’s all get angry, the good kind of angry.