How do you see her?
Reading Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd is eye-opening and heart-rending.
One of the things that has struck me the hardest is the power of thoughtless, sometimes hateful, reminders of our past failures.
Rachel describes the tainted scene of visiting the White House on the invitation of the President. She was there to witness the signing of legislation that she helped make a reality, a law to help the cause of exploited children trapped in the commercial sex trade.
In the midst of a deeply emotional victory, one man seized the opportunity to heap ashes on her head. Grabbing her arms, he said, "Long way from the streets, eh?" instantly reminding her who she still is in his eyes, letting her know she didn't belong there.
Once a ho always a ho.
You can't make a housewife out of a ho.
These are the messages burned into her mind when she was trapped in "the life."
Thank God, literally, that Rachel Lloyd was able to see herself differently than the lobbyist who reminded her of her shame.
Rachel is an overcomer.
But what about the girls who aren't?
How do you see them?
How do they see themselves?
In ancient times, people sprinkled ashes on themselves in humiliation and self-abhorrence.
When the Jewish princess Tamar was deceived, raped by her brother, Amnon, then forced from his presence, she bore the pain and life-changing shame.
Her brother received no immediate penalty because shame kept her silent.
She tore her regal gown, the one given by her father, the king, the one that she had worn proudly, the one that marked her as a virgin princess.
Her brother's spiteful actions stole her identity. She no longer felt worthy to wear the robe or the title.
After tearing her gown, she imagined never seeing a crown and instead covered her head with ashes, placed her hands on her head and ran from the palace in tears.
Each young girl who falls prey to the commercial sex trade is a princess.
She is not a commodity. Not an object. Not a whore. Not trash.
Instead of seeing her past, or even her present, see her. See her as Christ sees her.
We say the word Christ, which means messiah or savior. Today we could use the title Hero instead.
See her as the Hero sees her. He is the prince who heaped all the ashes of her shame, guilt, and past upon himself.
He is the prince who cleanses her every stain, not with the sprinkling of ashes but with his own blood.
He restores her, giving her new robes, making spotless. He brushes the ashes from her hair and places a crown on her head.
Our temptation is to look on her tainted past and her warped view of the world and say, "Shame on you."
But the Hero embraces her and says, "Shame off you" and takes all of her shame upon Himself.
My prayer for you and me is that we can see her through His eyes.
How do you see her?