But now put away and rid yourselves (completely) of all these things: anger, rage, bad feelings towards others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips!” [Amplified Bible]
While the foulmouthed utterances may not be a struggle, avoiding bad feelings towards others can be a struggle from time to time; however, it creates a wedge between us and the Lord as much as the other items listed. We can look at my family and friends and agree it would be bad to have bad feelings towards them, but what about pimps? Johns? People who do evil in our world and seem to take great pleasure in doing so? Wouldn’t it be okay to have bad feelings towards them?
The reality is no, it wouldn’t be okay. Allowing any form of sin into our lives is bad for us. It separates us from God. The pimps and johns are not impacted by any bad feelings we may have for them, but those feelings can fester in our lives and eat us alive. Jesus did not die for the righteous. If He did, He would have died for no one, because we’re all sinners [Romans 3:23]. God didn’t sit up in heaven and say,
I’ll die for this one, but not for that one.”
According to Colossians 3:11, Jesus doesn’t make distinctions, and we shouldn’t either. We’re to forgive all, pray for all, and even love all according to Matthew 5:44, even our enemies. How on earth are we supposed to do this?
First and foremost, we do this by remembering Ephesians 6:12, which says,
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
If I’m honest with you, I have to admit even with all of this knowledge, I found it hard to have any compassion for pimps or johns as I did research for Rescuing Hope. In fact, I struggled with not allowing hatred to well up inside of me as I wrote. Hearing the stories of the survivors of sex trafficking from their own mouths ripped my heart out. God; however, gave me a glimpse into what He sees when He looks at these men, when He allowed me to sit with a former pimp for three and half hours and hear him talk about his past. The enemy stepped into this man’s life from a very young age and manipulated him, lied to him, and used him. John 10:10a played out in his life,
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
When this man had a face to face encounter with Jesus, his life was transformed. He now dedicates his life to getting victims of sex trafficking off of the streets and into treatment programs like Wellspring Living. He partners with organizations like Out of Darkness, and educates them on the ways pimps and johns operate and how to reach the girls.
What if no one had ever prayed for him? What if no one had ever reached out to him? He’d still be fighting for the other side. He’d still be part of the problem instead of part of the solution.
Thankfully, for all of us, God is willing to forgive any and all who confess their sins and profess Him to be their Lord and Savior [1 John 1:9]. If He is willing to forgive everyone, who are we to hold onto anger and rage? He was victimized, spit upon, beaten, and murdered for doing nothing but loving, and He chose to forgive us.
Lord, help us all to get beyond ourselves and fix our eyes on You, to do things Your way, and trust it is best for all involved. You are worthy of our trust and our obedience. Help us to remain faithful as You are faithful. Amen.