the father's heart is not divided
“Lord, we pray for George…”
Seated behind a mic at the prayer meeting last night, the air was dense with laden prayers for George Floyd’s family, our country, repentance from racism, and confession of disunity in the Church. Suddenly, I was compelled to pray for Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George – but I hesitated. Multiple times. “He is evil. He is a murderer”, I thought. Wait, I remember this feeling…I continued thinking, “A spoken prayer could be viewed as veiled affirmation or condoning of what he did.” So, I kept that prayer silent last night. And today, I repent.
The truth is; the Kingdom does not allow me to love the victim and hate the perpetrator. I learned that truth in Angeles City, Philippines with Wipe Every Tear last year.
As a member of the first all-men’s trip with Wipe Every Tear in 2019, I remember our first night on Walking Street, which is the red-light district strip in Angeles City. After worshiping for hours, we set our feet upon the Strip for the first time. As we were quickly led through The Dollhouse, one of the more prominent bars, I remember being overrun with the sights, sounds, and smells. But, we had prepared for this. Worship prepared us for this. And while God is always worthy of our worship, intimate time in His presence is for us, too. Worship recalibrates our vision to see what heaven sees. To see what the Father sees. We called it, “Jesus eyes.” Because if you think a well-intentioned Christian man can simply stroll into one of these bars with the sights, sounds, and smells of exploitation in his face and casually begin rescuing girls from the sex trade – think again. In fact, run. This calling requires the fullness of the Spirit of God, taking over the whole man, eyes included. There is a wonderful Hebrew idiom in scripture which essentially says, “The Lord put Gideon on like a glove.” The indwelling Lord, ‘Puts us on’, and that is the only way this type of work is effective for the girls and safe for the men.
I did not know much about first-world sex trafficking here in America, let alone the raw, in-your-face catastrophe of Walking Street. “Seeing” and loving the girls comes easy. How could it not? But, what about the men who are violating and exploiting these girls for money? I remember the rage I felt that first night as I stared at disheveled, middle-aged Westerners walking hand in hand with diminutive Filipinas who were half their size. As the crime before my eyes walked toward the hotel, my heart burst for that young girl; “That is the Father’s daughter, created in the image of God and loved beyond measure! I would do anything to rescue that girl from the night of horror and trauma that awaits her because she is worth it!” And in the same breath; “I want to tackle that disgusting fraud of a man and beat him senseless.”
It was that night that Kenny Sacht, the founder of Wipe Every Tear, taught me one of the greatest Kingdom principles: “We cannot love the girls and hate the men. The kingdom does not work that way and the Father’s heart is not divided that way.” Every morning we would have breakfast on the roof of the hotel overlooking the city. These men would avoid one another and sit alone, shaking off their hangover and looking a little emptier after yet another night of exploiting. The first morning, I struck up a conversation with *Robert, who turned out to be from my home state. As I politely endured his boastful chatting, I resisted saying what I was thinking of him. As I went to the elevator, one of the Pastors from our team nudged me saying, “I want to punch that guy in the face.”
But, the Holy Spirit was training me and training us. That night during worship, I pressed in with the Lord asking again to see how Jesus sees; and He showed me *Robert. Broken *Robert. The Lord said, “That man is the Father’s son, created in the image of God and loved beyond measure! I would do anything to rescue him from the brokenness and trauma that is his life because he is worth it!”
As we ministered each night in the bars, the stranglehold of darkness was palpable. Not only are the sweet girls rendered hopeless as they are forced to dance and pretend to look happy while the very substance of their soul cries out for freedom, but the men who abuse them look hollow and just as trapped – it is just within a different type of prison. The reality is, the mamasans, waitresses, bartenders, and bouncers are all trapped. Only Satan can create a kingdom where everyone is miserable.
Over the remainder of the trip, I had breakfast with *Robert every morning. The love of God touched him deeply as he confessed the pain and despair of his life. And that Pastor struck up a similar roof-top friendship and ministered deeply to a broken man’s wounded heart. In fact, one night in a bar, a team member simply told a guy what Wipe Every Tear does. Upon hearing, this gentleman plunked down his wad of cash, confessed, “I cannot do this anymore”, and walked out. Loving these men does not affirm, condone, or celebrate their sin. The more we can see what heaven sees, the love of God floods into these moments, and real healing, redemption, and justice rush in.
“Lord, we pray for Derek…”