Why the Sex Industry?

121016071812-generic-prostitution-story-topI could go on about trafficking stats and the realities of the industry, but I won’t do that in this post.  Instead, I’d rather focus on the main reason.

I’m always amused at people’s reactions when I tell them that I participate in a ministry which serves people affected by the sex industry.  I get a mixed bag of responses especially from other Christians.

For the most part, people are curious.  And I LOVE that!  Curiosity and questions are my favorite reactions because it’s an opportunity for us to break bread together, learn about each other, learn more about God’s heart, and hopefully grow.  If you’ve been wondering about BeLoved and how it all works and why, please ask me!!!  Answering questions about it is my favorite thing in the world!

Another reaction I often get is that of pure excitement that such an outreach exists.  Many people want to know right away how they can be involved because they recognize the need to love people right where they’re at.  I love that reaction too!  It’s my great privilege to participate in a ministry in which I can open doors for people to love other people.  And there are so many ways for you to get involved.  So, if you’re interested in being a bearer of God’s love to some precious people, just ask me about that too!

But, I also am met with a lot of misunderstanding and religious attitudes from some people.  They have attitudes such as “Well, why don’t they just get another job.”  “I mean, they are choosing their lifestyle.”  And deep down in their heart, what they really believe is that they are better than people affected by this industry.  Deep down, they believe that people in the industry don’t deserve love because they are somehow less than.

And that breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart for the Christians with that attitude because it’s a symptom of not having the fullness of grace and redemption operating in their own lives.  You can’t give grace to people in the sex industry if you don’t have grace.  You can’t give mercy to people in the sex industry if you don’t have mercy.  You can’t show love to people in the sex industry if you haven’t received love.

forgiven-muchJesus said that the sinful woman loved much because she had been forgiven much.  We should all desire and seek after the ability to love much.  This means we have to be forgiven much.  Now, I’m not saying go out and intentionally sin so that you can receive more forgiveness.  On the contrary.  I’m saying, recognize your great need for His grace and mercy each and every day.  Recognize that no matter how much deliverance you experience, there is always more to experience.  Live a lifestyle of repentance and dependency on God’s forgiveness.  The more you do that, the more you will love people.  Crucify haughtiness.  Crucify self-righteousness.  Crucify judgment.  Recognize that without His grace, mercy, and love we are each and every one of us, wretched!  Our own righteousness is filthy to Him.  His righteousness, the righteousness He has so freely shared with us, even though we don’t deserve it and never will, is supposed to make us more like Him: better and better at loving people, even people we may have deemed as unlovable.

The truth is that people in the sex industry are anything but unlovable.  They are so incredibly precious to my Father.  He loves them unconditionally.  They are each beautiful unique expressions of His image.  And they are His lost sons and daughters.  He aches for them to know Him as a Father.  He groans to be reconciled to them.  He desperately longs for them to walk in their true identities in the Kingdom.  He yearns to wipe away their tears.  He desires to shower them with affection.   His heart burns with passion for them to know His love!

So, why the sex industry?

Simply put: Because God loves people in the sex industry.

Isn’t that enough?

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How The Prodigal Son Should Have Ended

I’ve always loved the parable of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15.

prodigal-sonFor most of my Christian walk, I’ve completely identified with the younger brother.  Drawn to what the world had to offer, in defiance of the Father’s will, defeated by the world, humbled and fearful of the Father’s wrath, hanging my head as I vied for a servant’s position in the household, then overcome by His unexpected grace and mercy, and ultimately fully aware of and troubled by the older brother’s lack of compassion and understanding.

But over the past few years, God has led me through some intense healing and deliverance.  The theme of this recent season has been learning what it means to be a true son of God.  I’ve learned a lot about my identity in the Kingdom and that has changed everything.  It’s changed how I relate to God.  For the first time ever, I began experiencing Him as a father.  And I found out that He is a really really good father!  It’s changed how I view the Kingdom of Heaven.  For the first time ever, I don’t see it as some far off land that I may get to be a part of one day.  Instead, I realize that it is at hand.  I am already a part of it and I am an Ambassador of Heaven living in a foreign land.  I represent the culture of Heaven here on earth and it’s my privilege to spread that culture.  It’s changed how I feel about myself.  For the first time ever, I feel like ALL of the promises in the Word are for me.  All that He has really is mine!

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And for the first time ever, I realize that in this season of my life, I actually now more closely resemble the older brother in the parable.  I know my place in the family now and I’m busy serving my God as a true son.  And, I have very little desire for the things of the world when compared with the things of God. 

So now, I have a decision to make.  Will I behave just like the older brother in the parable, or will I rewrite this story?

Option One: The Original Story

I’m serving my Father in His house, tending to my own inheritance all the while there are prodigal sons and daughters living out beyond the reach of the family.  My Father watches at the window waiting for them to return, desperate to get to them before anyone else in the household does.  Who knows what they might do to them?  The disgrace they’ve brought the family is reason enough to rough them up and send them packing. 

But, that’s not my Father’s heart.  He weeps for them.  He watches for them.  He longs for them.  He’s come to me and to others several times entreating us to go look for them and bring them home.

But who has time for that?

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The Prodigal Son Driven Out

Give it up Father!  Just forget about them if they don’t want to be a part of this family.  Look around at how well things are going here!  Everyone’s happy.  Everyone’s needs are met.  We’re working together to build and expand your household.  We’re getting stronger.  We’re getting fatter.  We’re getting richer.  Our enemies come to try to rob us and we easily send them packing.  We’ve got it made in the shade.  Who needs all those dirty, stinky, needy prodigals coming in here and screwing up what we’ve worked so hard to build?     

One of them came back the other day.  And Father actually threw him a party.  He gave him fine clothes and gifts!  Can you imagine?  Father is acting just like these prodigals: hasty, irrational, extravagant, and indulgent.  It was so wasteful.  All that I’ve worked so hard for was just given to this scoundrel.  I had to say something.  Father made a big point of telling me that this prodigal wasn’t just His son, but that he was my brother.  Well, Father can go on thinking that if He wants, but that wretch is no brother of mine.  Let him prove himself first.  Maybe then I’ll accept him.painting1

Uggh!  Now that I’m the older brother, I just hate this part of the story.  I want to rewrite it.  I believe the whole reason Jesus told this story is so that we would rewrite it!

Option Two: An Alternate Ending (How it Should Have Ended…And Still Can)

So many of my brothers and sisters have left and are living out lives they were never designed to live.  My Father’s heart breaks for them.  He paces before the window every day, watching and praying for their safe return.  I can’t bear seeing my Father like this.  I can’t bear the thought of what my brothers and sisters might be going through.  They are living without the protection and provision I enjoy as a son of this household.  They are living without the Father’s love and blessing and guidance. 

There’s so much to do here, but I can’t get them off my mind.  My Father loves them as much as He loves me.  And I love my Father.  So when my Father’s heart breaks, so does mine.

So, I went to my Father one day and I said, “Father, send me out to find these lost sons and daughters of yours.  Give me authority to tell them how you really feel about them.  Give me provision to journey to the ends of the earth to find them!  Give me authority to bring them home to you.” 

tumblr_li7zmaRFW71qhmhdfo1_500With joy, He gave me everything I asked for and sent me out to find them.  In ways, it was tough to leave the safety of the household and venture out to where I might be mocked or abused or even killed.  But I knew that I had the support of my entire family behind me.  So I mustered up all the courage I had and decided to care more about my lost brothers and sisters than I did for myself and my own needs and safety. 

And when I found one of my brothers face-down in the muck of a pig pen, it made it all worth it.  He was dirty and stinky and half starved to death.  I ran to him and got right down in the pig poop with him.  I got filthy dirty, but I didn’t care.  I took no thought of what people might think when they saw me covered in muck.  All I was thinking about was rescuing my brother. 

My brother was beyond surprised to see me.  He couldn’t believe that I had actually left home for the sole purpose of finding him.  He thought the family had written him off.  He thought Father hated him.  He thought he was too dirty to be accepted. 

mudkids-1I brushed the mud off of his face.  “There you are,” I said.  I told him he was my brother and I loved him no matter what he had done.  I told him all about how the Father wept for him and longed for him.  I told him, “This isn’t who you are.  This pig pen doesn’t define you.  You’re a member of a wealthy and royal family.  Come home, brother.  Father and I love you!” 

I helped him to his feet and together we headed home.  All the while, he hung his head and kept rehearsing his apology.  He kept asking me if I was sure he would be welcome.  I reassured him over and over again that no one would turn him away. 

 When we drew near to the house, he grew increasingly nervous and considered turning back several times.  “Don’t,” I pleaded.  “Just wait until you see!  Everyone will be overjoyed to see you!  I guarantee you Father will be head over heels for you!” 

Finally, we reached the edge of the property and here came Father, running out of the house and down the hill toward him!  Father’s arms were wide open.  There was a huge smile on His face and tears in His eyes.  My brother just dropped to his knees and hung his head. murillo

But just then, something miraculous happened.  Every member of the family who had heard what was happening immediately left their work in the fields and joined the Father in running down the hill to greet our brother who had returned.  It was amazing to see my family with one heart and one purpose following in the footsteps of our great Father. 

The party started right then and there as the Father and everyone after Him hugged and fawned over my brother.  We all helped him into his new clothes and we reminded him over and over again the he was a true son of this family.  We fed him and helped him heal.  We held his hand and loved him.  We never treated him any differently. 


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And he grew strong and confident.  And now, whenever he and I hear of another lost son or daughter, we go out together after him or her.  And we as a family celebrate over and over again, every time our brothers and sisters come home.  We’re constantly throwing parties.  And I love it!  I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other family.