Have you ever been unable to sleep? I think sometimes when we are unable to sleep it is because something is being stirred up within us. For me that happened last week. Here is what was keeping my body awake and my spirit attentive…
“We are not evangelists but simply a group of men from around the world who look to share our personal stories”
Of course, when the MST Project started it was never meant to be a religious show on the street, nor was it meant to be our own personal soapbox so as to lecture those who found themselves in the midst of a red-light district. It was always the intention and calling to be an example of what one could become, not because of who we are, but rather because of what He has done in us. A man may be able to deny statistics, but can anyone deny a transformed, redeemed, and restored individual that stands in front of them?
“Shame, judgment and guilt have no place in our approach”
As I reflected upon this it was plain to me that this is one of our core values. I have met quite a few people that I think would like nothing more than to shame, judge and guilt men into a different behavioral pattern. But what really changes one’s behavior? I chose to believe that a heart transformed by the gentle hand of our loving God is much more effective than a cutting remark from someone who doesn’t take the time to get to know the name of the one they are talking to.
“We have no agenda but only seek to extend grace and love at a time when you least expect it”
I have seen that grace and love are more powerful and transforming than shame and guilt. I hope that when we do head down to red-light districts that we run into someone who is still searching, still hoping, still milling about thinking that perhaps tonight is the night that he will find the one he is looking for. When another night of quick satisfaction and empty beer bottles comes and goes may that man be the one we run into. May we, at that divine intersection, proclaim to him that there is no place too deep where the loving and merciful hand of God can not reach down to rescue him.
“We do not talk at men but with men”
As this thought came to my mind I must admit a little smile crossed my face. I started to think of the many times I would do something wrong and my mother would talk at me and remind me of the wrong behavior I just chose to engage in. That approach worked, when I was child. I then began to reflect upon some of the men we met who told us that they appreciated someone listening, someone caring, someone willing to be a friend. I know that we engage in conversation in areas of immorality that are overwhelmed with blatant sin. However, in the midst of all of that I want to be an instrument that displays the character of a Father who longs for their son to return home – a son that is no longer wandering aimlessly about but is now safe in the arms of the One who never forget him in the first place.
“We desire to walk life with you, not meet you and forget you”
How could we be anything different? There have been times in all of our lives where someone, somewhere saw the potential of a transformed heart in us. The men we seek to talk to are worthy of that committed investment. As I reflected more and more upon these thoughts that were coming across my mind, I knew that I was in a time of confirmation of who we are and what we do. Men in red-light districts are worthy of His love, His redemption and His restoration.
I ended up going to sleep that night knowing that we are men of faith committed to walking life alongside other men. We desire to extend grace, not judgment, for a heart transformed is possible when we look beyond the stereotypes that are all too common. We see men not as a ‘John’ nor a perpetrator but rather a man with a life story consisting of high’s and low’s – a story that we want to hear and perhaps help define how it will end.
End of article.