3 Ways to End Demand
Nov 29, 2018
"End Demand" is a tagline I have seen on social media, heard it shared at many conferences and written about in various blogs. And while the tagline in and of itself isn't misplaced, I have often seen that true transformation in the lives and hearts of men who visit red-light districts requires an understanding of 3 key areas.
Change Our Perspective
I believe that the first priority in helping us see men walk away from a lifestyle of sexual sin and immorality is to first change our perspective of who these men are. The truth is, many people see men who visit red-light districts as nothing more than "Johns". But more than a "John", many who visit these kinds of areas, or struggle with this type of sin in secret, are also labeled as perverts, sex tourists, perpetrators, disgusting and dirty old men – just another lost man feeding a never-ending problem.
And yet, in some way, that is correct. These men are Johns. But they're also Peters, and Samuels, and Roberts, and Michaels and...you and I. These men may be fathers. They may be husbands to someone. But there is no doubt that they are sons of mothers and fathers somewhere. And like many sons who go wayward, that mother or father may be praying for their son right now. A prayer that may sound like this,
"God, when will the grip of immorality be loosened in my son's life?", "God, will today be the day that my son's hard heart begins to soften?" and "Today, God, please lead my son home."
Parents pray these types of prayers because they know with all of their heart and every fiber of their spirit that God loves their son even more than they do. Sad to say, for many of us, compassion is far from our hearts. We look at these men and instead of seeing someone as worthy of our attention and worthy of our time, we think to ourselves, "Don't you know what they have done?" So often we want to take on the role of jury, judge and executioner and banish these men to a place that is out of sight and out of mind. But hating the broken doesn't heal the brokenness. You and I are believers, and as believers, we are to have a perspective that is not bound to this world but focused on the redemptive and restorative power of God. A power that is not only for a select few. The Father's love is for everyone, everywhere, and at all times. A lost soul, no matter how lost, is no cause for applause and no reason for joy. Our hearts and perspectives must continually be aligned with God's heart. Is this your heart? Because if the church won't believe for the redemption and restoration of men who engage in this kind of immorality, then how can we expect the world to?
Amongst the world, and within the church, we hold on to various stereotypes. When we hold on to them we find ourselves free from the responsibility of engaging with people who sin differently than we do. Ultimately, we miss out on being a part of God's work in an individual's heart. If someone is going to extend mercy, grace, and love, shouldn't it be you and I, the recipients of these three gifts? How then could we who have received them not want to share it with those whom we used to be like? Perhaps not in the exact same way, nevertheless just as guilty. I am always reminded that if Jesus were to walk in the midst of a red-light district, He wouldn't go around pointing his finger and saying, "You're the problem", but rather, "I am everything you are looking for." You and I can share that beautiful and most powerful message.
Christian Men Must Walk in Purity
I believe that the second way we can end demand is to challenge and inspire Christian men to a greater lifestyle of sexual purity and spiritual maturity. If the church wants to see dignity restored in the lives of men and women who are caught up in the sex-industry, then part of the solution must involve us as Christian men. Every time a man clicks his way to a porn site, he engages in sexual immorality and contributes to the manipulation and exploitation of men and women. We live in a time where there is a global stronghold of sexual sin and immorality. This stronghold is pervasive, celebrated, and continually pushed on us in all forms. But we are men of God and we don't have to compromise with this world and its ways. As believers, the Bible should be the guide of our life and all our decisions.
The Bible is not silent on the issue of men walking in the ways of purity and shunning evil. As Christian men we are no longer blind and we are no longer naive to the truth that sin always over-promises and under-delivers. Our faith is greater than our lustful desires and we are called to: walk in purity, care for women, respect women, and protect women. This isn't a holy calling that is applied only to our actions but is to be lived out in our thoughts and emotions as well. This is a high calling and it is a privilege and an honor to pursue purity in spite of living in an impure world.
The Church Must Be A Safe Place
The third way that we can end demand is to create an environment where the church is a safe place for men to share their struggles. That means that we do not glorify sinful struggles or ignore sinful struggles, and neither do people who struggle repulse us. Rather, we help to foster an environment where men share their struggles in a safe place, and receive help, hope and healing, if they so choose. We don't ask men to leave their baggage at the front door of the church. We invite men in, we walk with them to the front of the church and we help them leave their baggage at the foot of the cross. The foot of the cross is the best place for everyone and anyone to lay down their sins, their struggles, and their addictions. Yes, people sin and that sin can potentially hurt so many people with repercussions that may last for years and even decades. However, we must remember that the men of this world can be transformed into men of God because our God is redemptive, restorative, and transformative. Our God redeems the hardest of hearts. Our God restores the most broken of lives. Our God transforms lives that others have given up on. How do I know that to be true? I am reminded every time I look in the mirror. I see the man I used to be, but I also see the man I am today. This man is a testament to the reality of the loving, redemptive power of God.
Friends, in closing, when your eyes lead you to believe that a man is beyond hope, and that a situation looks hopeless – the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross should remind you that there is always hope. Always.