August 24, 2014
Men can be a lot like shopping carts! That may sound like a strange way to start a blog post, but let me explain. I went to Walmart today and immediately grabbed a shopping cart when I entered the store. A grocery cart is sturdy, strong, and very helpful when it's under the control of the shopper. Well, today that cart did what I wanted until I got out in the parking lot. As I was unloading the cart, I let go of it just for a second and it started to roll away from me and right into a brand new, beautiful SUV. I ran towards the cart and grabbed it inches before it smashed into that SUV.
Men are irreplaceable to the Kingdom of God. When God's hands are on a man's life and directed by the Father there is so much good that results. He provides leadership to his family and the local church. He can be a shining a light at work or a positive influence as a coach to his kid's sports teams. He is strong force that benefits everyone that comes in contact with him. However, when his life isn't centered in God the Father, he can act like a runaway cart that creates havoc to others around him.
Unfortunately, there are too many men in our society who aren't surrendered to the Father and are exploiting and damaging women by their selfish conduct. They log onto porn sites on a regular basis, visit strip clubs with their friends, and hire prostitutes on out-of-town trips. They have convinced themselves no one is being hurt and they're making a private decision. They may ask themselves, Don't these women choose to participate in this lifestyle anyways?
But in my role directing a ministry that helps women exiting the sex industry, I get to see the hurt and pain inflicted on these women. Anger and lack of trust are common among these women and the ripple effects of the sex industry require long-term healing. Often childhood sexual abuse lurks in their background. Many have been victims of violence. No wonder many of them don't trust men!
Of course there are some men who will never change, but the good news is that a lot of men are helping transform these victim's lives. Refuge for Women has a good number of men that are involved in various forms of the organization. At first, the women may be hesitant seeing a man at the house, but eventually trust is earned and perspectives changed. One guest stated early in her journey, “There is no such thing as a faithful man to his marriage. Every man hires women!" A few months later, her perspective changed as she realized that not all men are contributing to the problem. A smile now appears across her face when we remind her of the broad comments she once made about all men.
In John 8:1-11 we see a beautiful picture of how Jesus models how to treat a woman and give her dignity. Jesus defended a woman caught in sexual sin. Can you imagine the healing experience in the soul of that woman when Jesus tenderly looked at her and said, “Where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you." He provided safety, respect, and instruction on how to live.
Based on Jesus story of love for women and our ministry in Refuge for Women, here are four ways—in the form of the acrostic H.E.L.P.—that ordinary men can make a difference in the issue of exploitation:
Exercise your gifts
Love your daughters
It will take all of us contributing in different ways to address this major issue of our day. Check us out on our website at www.refugeforwomen.org for further ways to get involved in the effort.