There are many sights and sounds that we encounter during nights of ministry in red-light districts that simply do not faze us. But every now and then something happens that we don’t quite expect. We had one such night not too long ago. You see it was just a typical night where we were looking to engage men in conversation. The problem was that where we were standing there weren’t too many men strolling by. So we made the decision to head across the street to another area where we usually stand to see if we might have some better luck. We cross the street and just about get settled into our spot when a man looks at us, he smiles, and then he starts talking to us. Pretty soon we all decided to go to a local restaurant to sit down, grab a drink and enjoy the free air conditioning.
As we sit down and settle in for what we are hoping will be a long conversation, we soon realize that the man sitting across from us is a little different than some of the other men we’ve talked to. You see, we don’t need to share with this man about the façades and lies that litter this red-light district, rather he begins to share with us about the facades and the lies that he has encountered and that he warns other men of. Here was a man who had experienced first hand the addictive style that exists within this area. He had seen how the manipulation and exploitation that ensnares both men and women impacted him far more than he would have ever wanted. Here was a man that had been to the bottom of the barrel only to claw his way out. During this conversation I saw someone who has come out of an addictive lifestyle due to the sheer willpower that he possessed but also because he saw firsthand the destructive end that comes to so many. Yet, while I applaud him for being able to say ‘no more’, my heart also desires for him to experience something much deeper.
It is true that a lot of men have no desire to hear what we have to say. Some men don’t feel they need Him because they have rescued themselves from previous bad decisions. Other men show interest only to be swept away by the latest temptation sauntering by. But there are some who He is drawing to Himself. Was the man from this particular night one of those He is drawing to Himself? I don’t know. What I do know though is that through the course of that conversation we met someone who was swallowed up by all the area had to offer only to be tossed aside to wither away in his addictions. While he did come out of it, perhaps we can show Him that true freedom comes not through one’s own strength, but in running into the arms of the one who is strength personified – Christ.
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