recent years we have seen a flood of films, documentaries, and
discussion centered around sex trafficking. With the prevalence of
access to social media that even the most impoverished communities have,
exploitation can touch anyone anywhere. It is a very difficult issue to
face. Millions of slaves worldwide, wow, how am I to make a difference?
We may feel powerless in our inability to know what we can do,
especially in our own communities.
If we are going to make a difference in the exploitation of human trafficking, we need to take an honest look at our view of...
We live in a sexually charged culture. Adolescent youth often find their initiation into adulthood and significance in who
they slept with. TV commercials highlight a woman’s attractiveness
through her sexual appeal. We are quick to defend a person based on
their sexual orientation. Researchers say that both genders are exposed
to pornography by the age of 8. With the prevalence of sexual abuse
from an early age, a generation is growing up with a warped view of
love. In the church we wrestle with how to approach this topic. Many struggle to talk about sex
with their teenage son or daughter. Today our youth are gleaning wisdom
from Hollywood and their peers. We can do better. How?
With Truth and Grace.
In a sexually charged culture our identity and lifestyle are shaped by the way we view sex.
What was your first introduction to sex? Does sex education come
to mind? Was it pornographic material? Sexual experimentation? Abuse?
feelings are associated? Was it positive? Or if someone exposed you
through force, how did you process your experience? Are there feelings
of shame? Have you told anyone? And if so, what was their response?
is a beautiful thing. Why has it been so difficult to talk about it
from the church pulpit or to even dialogue with our friends and not feel
embarrassed in the process? In the church abstinence and virginity are
highly valued. How then is the church to respond to the over 80% (in the
church) who are involved in premarital sex? Why have so many silently
blamed themselves for abuse, struggled with pornography, or sexual
attractions and addictions?
Did you feel seen for who you are, and not defined by the act?
In a sexually charged culture, we build our identity around our sexual experiences.
This is where Truth and Grace come in.
Truth: Sex impacts on a deep level.
Grace: You carry immeasurable value and dignity that nothing and no one can take away.
Why is it so hard to believe this?
For example: Virginity is a beautiful thing but it does not define who you are. This is based again on your perspective of truth and grace.
Truth: acknowledging the reality of what happened.
Grace: to be embraced fully free from fear and shame.
you experienced this? Have you been
able to look honestly at the way you were raised, at the value or lack
of value sex had? Was there shame around the topic, even it it’s most
pure context? Was grace something you experienced? Your answer will
affect the way you engage in the effort against human trafficking and
sexual exploitation. Its ramifications will affect the culture you live
in today. Yes, sex is an act with
immeasurable ramifications. But it does not determine my value. John
Perkins grips us with, “We don’t give dignity, we affirm it.”
how do we bring up the issue of sex in our circles today? Is it spoken
of with crude humor or respect? We must change the way we talk about
sex if we are going to see a change in the sexual exploitation around
us. In the church, we do this by choosing to embrace others with love free from judgement.
We acknowledge the act but we always embrace the person.
you are reading this and have experienced sexual exploitation, I want
you to hear me. You are not marred. You are valuable. You have intrinsic
worth. Your body is a gift. Your love brings life. Don’t let shame and
fear keep you bound up. It starts by telling your story, acknowledging
what happened both verbally and emotionally. Then receiving grace.
this place of receiving truth and grace we can embrace the sexually
broken. On a spiritual level, our bodies are deeply impacted by our
intimacy with others. That is why in the church we value sex and why we
protect our bodies and choose to experience sexual intimacy within a
committed covenant relationship. Both the bodies and spirits of those
who have been exploited must be restored. God’s Spirit came to fill us,
to affirm the unique intrinsic value we carry, the person that Jesus
came to save. His saving power gives us the ability to forgive our
perpetrators, to forgive ourselves, to remove the accusing finger. Receiving God's love uniquely positions us to respond with humility and wisdom to the sexual exploitation around us.
When we take an honest look at our view of sex and receive truth and grace, we step onto a path of sexual freedom and create a culture that fights for and embraces those who have experienced exploitation.