Monday, May 28, 2007

Prostitution

A prostitute makes 'her corner' at the end of my street, tonight. She flashes her smile and shows interest to anyone slowing down.

My first thoughts were of anger. Of punishment. Of jail.

My second thoughts were of fear. Are we living in the right neighborhood? Is crime really on our doorstep? Are our kids safe? Do we need to move?

But most troubling to me is this:

I realized I know her. She's sat right across from me, in my home, on my couch. We've talked and eaten together and laughed.

She's a real person.

She's not the sum of her actions tonight.

Sometimes life seems neater when that stuff stays on the other side of town. Or when it only happens in the movies.

I don't know a lot about it, I realize. I imagine she gets hungry. She wants out. She wants to be numb. She won't think about it. She'll do what she has to do.

And she still has the capacity to wonder if God could love her. Will she find out? How will her story end?

I'd love to say I know what to do tonight, but I don't. I don't want to contribute to the white picket fence version of Christianity. But I sit here nervous as I think about walking out my front door and down to her "workplace" to talk.

I don't know how successful her night will be, but I know at the end of it, she will still be hollow.

And I know that the God she's at least sometimes seeking understands prostitution. After all, His people have prostituted themselves for years.

His concern for us as prostitutes, while at times did involve punishment, never involved fear. He wasn't compelled to move away from us...but rather to pursue us. I now realize it wasn't coincidental that God led me to read the book and retelling of the story of Hosea recently.

Now's the question:

Will I choose to look like my God? Or will I just theorize about it?

Will I be that "minister of reconciliation" that He calls me to be? Or will I just seek the healthy, the safe, the reasonable?

Will I let her know that He offers "freedom for the prisoners, and release to the oppressed", though I fear she'll not believe it for all she's experienced in life? Will I trust Him to answer for her the questions I can't?

Do I risk my own safety to do so when there's another man across the street, likely watching her and making sure she does her job?

It's comfy here in front of my computer.
It's past midnight.
It won't make a difference, really.
I have kids to think about.
No one would blame me for not going out. Some would call me stupid and unwise if I did.

But if I don't go.... if WE don't go.... "crime" does creep up to our doorstep. Crime in the form of people, making desperate choices, missing out on something more. On Someone more.
Because we're too scared to offer the name of our God to transform the "lawbreaker". Because we've decided the prostitute probably wouldn't be open to Him changing her life. Because that's just a bit more messy than we like to deal with.

A reminder to myself, and to you, if you need it.

The gates of Hell will not prevail against that Name... so we have nothing to lose.

"He is no fool, who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what He cannot lose."

And she has everything to gain. Such is the preciousness of the gospel.

She, though she doesn't believe it yet, and may consider me a fool to suggest it, is the target of Christ's affection. I don't have to prove it to her... He has, and will.

But He has entrusted the telling her of that to me. To let her in on it. To show her. To help her believe He could love her by showing her I can and do. To love Him more than I think about myself so she has a shot of receiving all He offers her. To invite her back into my home... back on my couch. To eat together, and laugh together again.

And maybe, to give her a chance for freedom.

If she doesn't take the offer... I've nothing to loose.

If I don't make the offer... she's got nothing better than the corner at the end of my street.

9 comments:

Shaner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaner said...

The deleted comment above is mine...

This is what I'm feeling while I read your post:

I'm at home watching my team (the Rangers) play the Cardinals (everybody else's team) in game 7 of the World Series on TV. It's the bottom of the 9th inning, 2 outs, the count is three balls and two strikes, and Texeira (our slugger) is at the plate. The bases are loaded and the Rangers are down by three runs. If Tex hits a grand slam, we win the Series. If not, Cards win.

The pitch comes in straight and fast and Tex swings HARD -- the kind of swing where you know if he hits it, somebody in Corpus Christi will wake up with a baseball in their front lawn. And then, before I can see what happens, the electricity goes out in my house. I SCREAM!!! I have no idea if he hit it or if he struck out.

So what happened? Did you hit it? I am on the floor holding my stomach, dying to know what happened...

Jill said...

Wow, Heather. I can't imagine what I would do if I were in your shoes. I know it takes so much courage (courage that you have because of Him), but I think you are right in that you've got nothing to lose and it may be the offer she's been looking for. Please let us know what happens. I will be saying a prayer for you and for her.

Jeanne said...

Heather,
My heart is crying over the same thoughts lately. A precious friend gave me this book, The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ, perhaps you know her! ;) Anyway, it has turned my world upside down. I'm so challenged by what I read in it. I've been challenged to quit just going to church and start being the church! Thanks for helping me grow. Let me know what happens with your friend. I see Jesus in you!

Terry Rush said...

Heather,

You are the church and look at the church. It actually has eyes to see and recognize such street devastation. But do you notice you have not rushed past this scene with forgetful heart? You are still trying to figure the best and most effective move...and when you do, I'm guessing on the side of Jesus in you.

What you have or have not done to this point is not the issue. It's that you "want" to get the right thing done and that's why I love you and the church!

flee said...

All I can say is, Wow!

Your fears are real, no doubt about it, and I've had the very same ones. Remember that those are from the enemy. I LOVE your heart, and I have a feeling that God does too.

Can't wait to hear how things went.

flee

tim rush said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

God bless you.

Burns 5 in Guadalajara said...

You have such a loving and compassionate heart. For that I thank God. I love you and your family for many reasons. One of the things I am most thankful for is that you make those around you want to be more like Him. Thanks for challenging me to have eyes and a heart like our Lords. Love you lots - Toni

Chris said...

Heather,

I share your apprehension in approaching something of this nature. One of my fellow classmates was recently arrested for soliciting favors from an undercover police officer. He was a minister of the gospel, husband and a father of two. I am trying to come up with the nerve to contact him to let him know there is hope, but I have failed to do so because of the failures in my life.

I was a minister, husband and father of two also. I didn't solicite from a prostitute, but had an affair nonetheless. Now, several years later, I am part of a blended family, trying to live my life for the Lord and accept his mercy and forgiveness. My situation would bring nothing but rejection from the preaching school from which I graduated, and from the classmates who shared that experience with me.

However, like you, I knew him and feel like I need to do something. Perhaps hearing "the rest of the story" will encourage me in my struggles to reach out.

Thanks for sharing.