Who is My Neighbor? Could she be a sex worker?
While the world is divisive and clamoring, fists raised and guns drawn, shouting and tearing each other apart, the organization I lead, forDignity postures itself differently, we truly believe God loves people including the sex worker. Every month my teams visit strip clubs and adult bookstores to build relationships with young women in the adult industry. We take our Christianity seriously and we believe we are called to represent a new brand of Church to those who wouldn’t set foot in a church building.
We believe love is more powerful than hate and that we should build bridges into the community, not walls. Love is a tool, not a weapon. The Church has mastered the art of judging, condemning and shaming people but we need to practice loving people without restraint or ulterior motive. A Church mobilized by love is a powerful and beautiful sight to behold.
In the Bible, an expert in the law tested Jesus with this question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” The reply was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all of your strength and all of your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”(Luke 10:27)
Love your neighbor as yourself
Yes, these days, our neighbors include people in the adult industry. This could include many different types of sex workers. They may be a dancer on a pole or a young lady hiding in windowless, smoke-filled dressing room, wondering how they are going to make it through one more day. Our neighbors may be the heroin addicts who are taking their last breath today because they were seeking one more high. Our neighbors are the bouncers standing at the door of the club and the managers counting money behind the desk.
We understand that women working in the sex industry often suffer silently with PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, addictions and hopelessness and we recognize the love of Christ can remedy that. There are thousands of women working in strip clubs, many of which experienced God at some point in their lives. They were once active in a youth group or grew up in church. Some have confided that their fathers are pastors. For various reasons, these young ladies now find themselves nearly naked dancing on a stage and participating in painful scenarios they never dreamed they would face.
“God is not calling us to shrink back from hell but to boldly go to the darkest places and shine His light.”
Unfortunately, from the outside looking in, it is too easy to judge and place labels on these girls, and many do. They feel the weight of our judgment. They carry the shame and condemnation of our words and rejection. We push them further away from the very God who fearlessly loves them and is yearning for their return.
The Psalmist declares, “…where can I flee from Your presence? …If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” (Psalm 139:7-8) God is not calling us to shrink back from hell but to boldly go to the darkest places and shine His light. He is calling His dancing daughters into their true identity and inviting them, just like David called Mephibasheth back to the table of the King to take their rightful position.
Since 2012 we have gone into strip clubs armed with love, hugs, hope, and resources. We have given away thousands of “Jesus Loves Strippers Bibles” and “SHINE – Uplifting Words for Girls in Stilettos.” We pray for these precious young ladies and we have seen incredible miracles take place by the transforming power of God. Realistically 90% of them would never step foot in the doorway of our church, but the Church must be willing to get uncomfortable and go where they are to share the unconditional, unwavering, radical love of Christ!
She Has A Dream
We at forDignity invite you to join us for our 2018 She Has A Dream Gala in New Jersey on Saturday April 14. This special event is an opportunity to elevate, empower and invest in women from Philadelphia and NJ. We advocate that the emergence of the #MeToo and #TimeisUp movement serves as a clarion call that ignorance is no longer a choice. We must help survivors of sexual trauma find their voice and offer them resources to heal. Women sex workers often suffer silently with a myriad of complex issues ranging from domestic violence, PTSD, addictions, eating disorders and depression. As a community, we can change that!
Kelly Master is a passionate speaker and writer who draws upon her healing from past addictions, abuse, and shattered dreams to elevate and inspire others. She is Founder of forDignity, which ministers to women in the sex industry, prisons, rehabs, safe homes, churches and on the streets. Kelly’s first book titled SHINE – Uplifting Words for Girls in Stilettos shares true stories, wisdom, quotes, and affirmations to inspire women to unlock their true potential and embrace their God-given destiny.