Going out to the women in the windows for the last time was really great actually. The last week in particular, the women were just really open and wanted to talk for forever. Something happened though, that last Wednesday walking around in the Red Light District that I believe was divine intervention on giving me a new perspective of something going on there: As I was walking with Rebecca, a man started walking beside me and looked me up and down and said “I like this one, how much is this one? Is she for sale?” Disgusted, I looked at him with distain as my blood temperature went up to boiling in about 2 seconds. Thank the Lord we go in teams, because at the moment Rebecca stepped in between us and spoke very directly saying “she was already bought at the highest price by the one who paid for our sins by dying on the cross – Jesus Christ. Repent from your sins and turn away from them, and He is faithful to forgive!” She went on and tried to talk to the man, but he walked away at that point.
I was so angry. It wasn’t just the fact that he said those things to me personally, but it made me angry to hear that man speaking to any woman in the disgusting, disrespectful way that he did, demeaning the very worth of a woman. At that moment in time, my first instinct was to not only chew him out verbally, but somehow physically do damage to his face as well…maybe not the best idea.
Coming back after ministry, the team has time in prayer again to close the day. But as I sat before the Lord in silence, my heart was uneasy. I couldn’t get past the fact that I knew I could not say in all honesty that I loved those men, in fact, I hated them. The Lord spoke to me with a verse, saying “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” –Eph 4:18. At the moment I realized that I was angry and bitter towards them. How could anyone love or forgive someone who treats another human being that way; stripping them of their very dignity, speaking to them as if they were nothing but a piece of trash to be used and thrown away again? But God reminded me…”I do,” he said. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Being here in the Red Light District, in some ways, has been a picture of the extreme end of the possible depravity of man and the “twistedness” of our thinking. In Genesis 3 God says to Eve that “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” The word ‘desire’ here though, means “to dominate”, pointing to a parallelism in this verse that is showing the inherent depravity and drive men and women will have to dominate/rule over each other. On one side of the red lit window, I see the man strong-arming the door open as he reaches in and grabs the prostitutes arm…but on the other side I see the woman using her body and little flirtatious movements to manipulate the men walking past. On both sides I see so clearly a picture of the brokenness of our human nature, being once created for union with Christ, but now seeking to find that in the sexual exploitation of others.
That day, something changed in me, and God showed me with new eyes what it is to not only look at the women, but also the men in the Red Light District with compassion. I pray for the brokenness caused by sin to be restored in these men and women through union with Christ.