“How do I make an unhealthy relationship spiritual again?”
I said it before thinking. Probably should have thought about it. But she received it well.
“That’s what I thought you would say, I just don’t like that answer.”
Welcome to the woes of living in sin. I didn’t say that. Thank goodness I didn’t say that!
Her response reminded me of a quote by C.S. Lewis or Oswald Chambers or another deceased spiritual giant. The quote goes something like this: it is easy to follow God, what makes it difficult is when we still want the things of our flesh. TRUTH!
Brandon and I have been volunteering at New Life Community Church’s high school service since the end of last year. The youth group is filled with broken kids just trying to make it through life, some of them dealing with crap no 14 year old should ever have to deal with. Every week we are there God opens our eyes more and more to their brokenness and need for His healing and control of their lives.
Quick soap box: isn’t it HILARIOUS that people think they can make their lives great by themselves and don’t need God to control every aspect of their life!? And some of the people who say this that are professing Christians! It’s hilarious because usually they are the ones who keep messing up their lives and can’t seem to stop. Well, if they don’t need God to get their life in order, and only need themselves, they would have done it already. And since they haven’t been able to accomplish a very accomplishable feat (in their eyes), wouldn’t they have to conclude they need the help of a higher power to fix them??? Just saying…. we all have teenage angst.
Over the last month Brandon and I have been co-leading/planning the youth group’s purity series. It has been great! Every weekend we talk about sex, porn, marriage, masturbation, and God’s love to a bunch of high school kids! This weekend I was with a different set of girls than usual for after-service small groups. One girl is currently in an unhealthy spiritual relationship, which got her talking and asking really good questions.
But it ended up not being just about her and her boyfriend.
During her explanation of the situation, somehow she related her relationship back to one of her girlfriends, one who got into some dangerous situations last year.
As soon as she told me her friend had run away, I knew the ending to the story:
Her friend was sex trafficked.
No one really expects to walk into a church in a nice middle-class neighborhood, with high ranking schools surrounding it, with a predominately white demographic, and have an attendee talk about her friend being sex trafficked. I say that not because trafficking usually does not touch those place, I say that because there is no stereotype!
The Christian community needs to step up. These injustices are literally happening at our front doors. These kids are coming to our youth groups, friends with our students, and we need to be there. We need to be present and available. We need to invest in our kids. I’m not talking about parents to their own children, I am talking about any good-willed adult to every child.
I don’t want where my faith is now to take me to a place like my friend.
Do you see how BRILLIANT this girl is??? She gets it. She already understands what the ultimate prevention is: an intimate relationship with Jesus. And she knows that she does not have that right now. What is even better is that she know it makes her vulnerable. Brandon and I can do as many assemblies as schools in this country, but the effectiveness of that in comparison to students coming to know the Lord is almost not worth noting because of how AMAZING a relationship with Christ is!
But do you know why? Is it because of my soap box from earlier? That only God can fix us, and if we let him fix us than we will be too fixed for pimps to break again? Not so. It is because of what my young friend said next….
When my friend came back home, she was telling me about what it was all like. She said she got involved with those guys because she wanted to be loved, like the kind of love my boyfriend and I have.
She just wants love. Is that really what all of this comes down to? Girls so desperate for love, and men so evil, they end up selling their body thinking they will find it? Love. To these girls it is worth the lies, cheating, beatings, dirty looks, name calling, control, manipulation, and bondage. As long as they get love.
If you are a Christ-follower reading this, than you should be rejoicing! For we know Love itself!!!! We can introduce them to exactly what they are looking for! It is so much more than their imaginations and so much bigger than the gaping hole in their hearts.
Are you in youth ministry? Are you pouring into those kids week in and week out, teaching them about the love and commands of God? Then I applaud you! You are creating more prevention than any presentation could ever, because you are guiding them into Life itself! You are on the front lines of this battle.
Are you mentoring a youth leader? Praise God! They need your wisdom and encouragement as much as they can get!
Brandon and I are so grateful to be serving in a youth group. We are so grateful for those who served us in our youth groups. People always ask me what they can do about this cause, to help prevent such injustice from happening in the first place. My answer is not to help with an assembly or do admin work for RLR. Nor is my first response to have me speak at their church or social group.
My first response is always: start investing in some students.
Volunteer with a youth group, become a foster parent, start serving in high-er risk neighborhoods.
The things you can do to create prevention! They are endless!