The following information comes from information provided by Redeemed Ministries at their weekend conference on Aftercare Training.
I am 100% convinced that God hates the sexual exploitation of women. I am positive that he is grieved by the fact that 21-30 million people are trafficked, 80% of whom are women, and 50% of whom are children. Why do I know God hates trafficking? Because of how he has revealed himself in the Bible.
God Loves Women
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
God created men and women as equals. Both men and women are imagers of God, which means we all reveal God–in our productivity, in our relationality, in our creativity. Further, both men and women are given humanity’s task–to fill the earth and rule over it. There is no hierarchy before sin. God loves women, and he wants them to reveal his character to the world by fulfilling our global mission.
But sin did enter the world, and it changed everything. Loving relationships were broken and male domination became the norm. For millennia, women have been beaten, raped, kidnapped, and claimed by men who thought they had the right to treat another human being as property. Yet in the midst of this male-centric world, God consistently reminds readers of the Bible that his love for women is not changed. In fact, he clearly tells us that there are serious consequences when women are abused.
Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness. (Leviticus 19:29)
When God becomes flesh and walks the earth as Jesus, his love for women is made overwhelmingly obvious. Not only is it made explicit that his genealogy is made up of women as well as men (including prostitutes and non-Jewish women!), he consistently interacts with women in loving and respectful ways.
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. (Luke 13:10-13)
Jesus spoke with women, although his culture said such interactions were immodest. He engaged in theological conversations with the woman at the well and he argued for Mary of Bethany’s right to sit at his feet and learn alongside his male disciples. When he rose from the grave, he appeared first to his female friends despite the fact that their culture insisted their words had no weight.
God loves women. And he cares about how they are treated.
God is a God of Justice
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalm 10:17-18)
God consistently reveals himself as the God who cares for neglected, the oppressed, and the impoverished. He delights in taking insignificant people and showering them in blessings. He has no time for people who claim to love him but do not take care of those who are suffering.
“The multitude of your sacrifices–what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals…When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:11, 15-17)
I wonder how God feels about the Church today. Somewhere around 18% of men have purchased a woman for their sexual pleasure, and I am positive that many of those men claim to be Christians. But our guilt goes far deeper. How often do Christians view prostitutes with distaste, convinced of their sinfulness without stopping to wonder what led them to such a job? Without first feeling outraged by the reality that men are creating and maintaining the demand? And worse, how many of us never even stop to think about sexually exploited women at all?
This is not someone else’s problem. Approximately 300,000-500,000 U.S. citizens are trafficked in our country. The average age of a woman entering the sex industry is twelve years old. Our hypersexualized and patriarchal culture feeds an idea that women are objects made for the pleasure of men, and this lie sells! Human trafficking generates 32 billion dollars annually.
We need to stand with our God of justice. He loves women, and he hates when they are treated as something less than human. We must do the same.
Return tomorrow to read, Sex Trafficking (2 of 3): Victim’s Perspective