Me, Myself and I: The Villain and the Victim

by Aszia Walker

“Apart from Christ, I am Osama bin Laden.  I am Hitler, Stalin, Mao.  Only by the virtue of Christ can I stand forgiven before a holy God.  This isn’t hyperbole; it’s biblical truth.  We’ll never appreciate Christ’s grace so long as we hold on to the proud illusion that we’re better than we are.  We flatter ourselves when we look at evil acts and say, ‘I would never do that.’  Daniel, a righteous man, came before God confessing the sins of his nation, not saying, ‘They have sinned,’ but, ‘We have sinned’ (Daniel 9:5).  He took full ownership for his own contribution to the problem of his nation’s sin.  So should we all.” – Randy Alcorn, The Goodness of God

Last year I began to notice my lack of empathy for others and my immense pride in myself.  So, I thought it might be a decent idea to pray about it and ask God to begin a transforming work in me.

Whoops.  He actually heard that prayer, and He has actually started teaching my heart about His heart.  The pureJUSTICE internship program has served as my most recent tutor.

Here I’m gaining a wealth of understanding about pornography, prostitution, and their correlations to human trafficking. But the most penetrating lesson thus far has been a personal lesson in humility and compassion as I am beginning to lose that proud illusion and self-flattery Alcorn refers to.

We’ve talked a lot about sexual lust and its widespread effects on the immorality and turmoil in our society today.  There are real-life villains doing atrocious things to innocent and unsuspecting women and children, and while perversion is an obvious driving factor of the sex trafficking industry, we have learned that still other motives for pimping women, trading humans, and possessing modern-day slaves are greed and the hunger for power and control.

Which brings me to the following confession:

I lust.  I get greedy, stingy.  And, I try to control everything.

It has become blaringly apparent that my iniquitous tendencies contribute to this global problem that I hate.  Plaguing the core of my deceitful heart are the underlying motives of every trafficker.

Knowing this leads me to a whole new level of mercy and propensity to forgive.  I want to stop the evil of human slavery, I want to rescue victims, I want to help them heal, but I also want to be a part of leading offenders to justice and repentance.  I want to adopt the Lord’s heart of empathy for even the enemy.

In Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, a documentary on the sex trade, Ohad, an ex-trafficker states, “I was captive on one thing, she was captive on another… but God loves to set the captives free.”

Because of the Spirit, even in the height of human depravity, someone like Ohad can be convicted unto contrition and enabled to walk in step with Him.  Wow.

It is almost certain that the perpetrators of oppression are not yet believers, not yet free in Christ themselves, but Christ died for me while I was yet a sinner too.  Having similar root sin issues to the most evil men on earth gives me compassion in my prayers, enlightenment as to how their hearts are currently hardened, and hopefully an edge in evangelizing should I ever seek or see the opportunity.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t seek for traffickers and abusers to be prosecuted and taken out of position to do further harm, because we should (Proverbs 24:23-25).  But as we rebuke them in truth, we must also pray that behind prison bars, they will find freedom and grace in Christ.  There is tolerance for no sin, but forgiveness for all men – even those who are most reprehensible to us.

And, as we continue to pray for the rescue of innumerable victims of heinous sexual crimes, trapped in a billion-dollar flesh industry, may we not attempt to completely absolve ourselves of guilt.

With the daily choices we make regarding media, clothing, and the way we speak we may be guilty of contributing to injustice.  With a flesh that lusts, covets, and tries to control, I know I am guilty of injustice.  I can see weeds in my soul that must be uprooted so that fruit may grow freely.  I have recognized many of my offenses against our holy God and see how gross they are.  And here at this internship, I have also gained a broader perspective and a greater kindness towards all of humanity.

The vision of pureHOPE is “A world free of sexual exploitation and brokenness.” No one is left out.  This vision includes the offender and the offended, because all of us are part villain, part victim.

A world free started with a man on a cross.  His promise of justice and His invitation to life and liberty.

A world free continues with me, when I die to self and crucify my sin.

A world free rolls on with men, women, and children who are finding physical and spiritual freedom every day.  Will it carry on with you?

“Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.
 Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:16-17

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.   Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:21-24, 32

Question: How might this perspective change the way we consider and converse with our peers on issues such as trafficking or abuse like in the recent Sandusky trial?  Click here to comment

See Also: 

Aszia Walker is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University and the Kanakuk Institute.  She is currently serving as a 2012 pureJUSTICE intern.

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