No two words have evoked more emotion in the 21st century than these: SEX TRAFFICKING. Mothers and Fathers around the globe are concerned for the safety of their children. Entire nations are being internally destroyed by the de-valuing of women, men and children. We hear about it almost daily in the news. The statistics are staggering and depressing. It is becoming an epidemic and the most exasperating part of all – it is happening right under our noses and most people do not have a clue.
For 2 years I worked at a treatment facility that served teenage survivors of sex slavery. The pain and agony I witnessed daily in the faces of the young girls we served changed my life. Each girl‘s story was filled with tragedy. Our youngest client was 9 years of age. Astonishingly, her mother had sold her to pay off her drug debt. The saddest part of the stories were that nearly 100% of the time the girls believed that it was their fault that they were used this way – that somehow they deserved this kind of treatment.
Most of these girls had been brainwashed to believe so many lies about themselves. Over time, the repeated violence, sex and drugs wrapped them with layers of shame. Apart from the goodness of God, they would be trapped in this web for a lifetime. Seeing the effects of shame in their lives was devastating. The lack of confidence and hopeless outlook on life opened my eyes to see how the enemy has invaded our culture and has imparted his lies into our youth causing the feeling – my life has no value.
The bible warns us through Jesus’ words that a robber does indeed exists among us. “Jesus spoke and said, the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJ
The “thief” has one objective – he wants to weave his web of deception in our minds. One of his primary goals is for you and me to NOT trust God. And the second is just as paralyzing: he wants you to believe a lie about who you truly are. The tool our preying enemy has forged to use against us is none other than SHAME. Although the enemy can be very deceptive, he is not very creative, since this is the very same tool he used in the Garden when he deceived Eve. He begins fashioning this weapon as soon as possible and for most, it usually begins in early childhood. Unfortunately, I have been intimately acquainted with this condition numerous times throughout my own life. But it was never clearer than when I walked with the girls who had been traumatized by trafficking.
At any given moment, there are two forces at work — Good and Evil. Light verses Darkness. These forces are pitted against one another and are vying for control of our minds. There are no grey areas, and this has never been more true than in the arena of sex trafficking. Becoming acquainted with the stories of these beautiful young girls has convinced me of the forces working in the diabolical minds of male and female pimps. The enemy of the human soul is continually working to systematically destroy the value of every child and youth today.
“We don’t see things as they are; we see things as WE are” ~ Anais Nin
The bible refers to shame as being like a garment – that is placed on us and we wear it uninformed. Shame will keep us from connecting with others. At its very core, shame will isolate you and bury you deep in its darkness. Your greatest fear whispers, “If other people find out the truth of what I have done or what has happened to me, then they will not accept me. I am not worthy, I do not belong.” And the most incapacitating of all….. “I am not loveable – for no one can love me after what has happened to me!” These are all lies that the enemy wants us to believe about ourselves.
Shame is described numerous times in scripture. One of the symptoms of shame is the inability to look at someone face to face – head cast down, and no eye contact for longer than a few seconds. However, the bible also offers a remedy for our shame. Cry out to the LORD, and He will come – He is described as the “lifter of our head”. Psalm 3:3-4.
Our heavenly Father picks up our head so He can look into our face. When we have enough courage to believe the truth and trust God, our garment of shame falls off. It is then that we are able to gaze into His eyes and see reflected back to us our true identity. A son or daughter of God! The most rewarding days I spent at the treatment facility were the moments when I would see the most downcast girl, turn to her heavenly Father, and realize her true identity.
“Those who look to the LORD for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” Psalm 34:5 TLB
When someone bravely takes just one step out of the tangled lies that the enemy has woven, God meets you in your mess! With one word, He can cut through the jumbled thoughts and bring clarity. As you take each lie to Him, He will speak HIS truth and that is where your true identity will shine!
Everyone experiences shame on some level, at least once in their lifetime, and others will struggle with it continually. But there is hope! We don’t have to wear the tattered, stinky garment of shame forever. We can remember who we are. By turning to the One who has the power and truth to transform us, we can make a great exchange.
- Truth for lies
- Honor for shame
- Love for hate
- Acceptance instead of rejection!
Conceivably, some of you may be wearing the suffocating jacket of shame and lies. Perhaps the thief has snuck in the back door of your life and is holding you captive. Or maybe you know the effects of not being loved or chosen. Whatever situation you find yourself in, I know someone who can help you dismantle the lies and give you back your dignity. His name is Jesus! Allow yourself to be seen…..deeply seen by Him. By knowing who you are and valuing yourself as a person God made you to be, you portray the confidence and self-esteem so many long for.
“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.” Isaiah 58:9
I would love to hear any stories, comments or questions you have regarding shame. Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In love – Lisa