I caught a great call in show on Sirius Channel 161 Sunday Night. Tal Prince1, a great champion for marriage, sexual purity, and recovery from sexual addiction posed the following question: What would you do if a prostitute, just off of her last date, showed up at your worship service? Great question! Two of the worlds more renowned prostitutes are listed as biblical examples of women with great faith. Here’s another question: What would you do if a known extortionist and money launder came to your worship service and asked to sit on the Deacon board? Jesus made a tax collector one of the twelve.
All of the callers that I heard gave good, safe answers. Answers such as welcoming her (interestingly everyone assumed it was a woman not a man. Would we feel differently if it was a man?), offering help or assistance through ministry and prayer, inviting her back. All good answers but I think we should challenge ourselves to take it a little bit further.
Matthew 21:31, 32 says: Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
I took two personal challenges away from this passage and Tal’s radio show:
The first challenge is to talk less and listen more. Jesus claims that the sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes, were getting it and the elders and the chief priests were not. What do we have to learn from the prostitute who shows up on a Sunday morning? Before I try to dazzle her with my spiritual gifts and well organized prayer groups maybe I should step back and listen. I’m sure there is a lot for me to learn from her (or him) about grace, adversity, hope, and faith. One of the best Tweets I heard on this question was someone’s suggestion that she would invite her to lunch.2 I loved that answer because it doesn’t assume that we, the “churched” have the answers or the “fix” for her problems. Rather it assumes that we need to enter into a relationship where we both give and take. It assumes that we enter into the healing process together.
The second challenge is to quit sitting around waiting for a prostitute to show up at my worship service. Instead, go find one. I have learned first hand that we have a huge opportunity to serve those with sexual addictions and other prostitute/tax collector-esque backgrounds within the church. We see healing when we leave behind the ways of the chief priests and begin to acknowledge the sin problem in our midst. As Matthew 21:32 reveals there is healing when we repent with them and believe. So, one last shout out. If you are ready to put your money where your Hymnal is check out Hookers for Jesus and help a prostitute find a worship service.3 After all they may be entering the kingdom ahead of us. Praise God!
2 This answer came from Crystal Renaud, another great champion for sexual purity. Check her out at www.pinkhairedgirl.net or www.twitter.com/pinkhairedgirl to learn more about women and sexual addiction.
3 For more information on Annie Lobert and Hookers for Jesus, a Las Vegas based ministry offering outreach and transitional assistance to women and men exiting the sex trade industry, check out www.hookersforjesus.net
If these sites interested you I also recommend checking out Craig Gross and XXXChurch at www.craiggross.com and www.xxxchurch.com, New Life Ministries and Every Man’s Battle at www.newlife.com; and Desert Stream at www.dsm.us.churchinsight.com
I MOVED ALL THE COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS HOST SITE