Luke 17: 12-18.
As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices saying,”Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them He said to them “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed?” But the nine – where are they?” Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Stand up and go’ your faith has made you well.
The lepers of ancient times were ostracized from society and largely forgotten. They were treated as outcasts. They were required to live outside the city in leper camps (Numbers 5:2-3) and were to cry out “unclean” to warn others to keep away from them as they walked the streets. (Lev 13: 45-46).Being outside of the camp meant also that you were outside of the protection of society. A life of a leper was a life of isolation, disgrace and shame. It was a crushing weight to bear and you bore it alone.
We have lepers among us today. Prostitutes, strippers, porn actresses, massage parlor workers. Throw away people. They are the least evangelized group in our society. We don’t want them in our churches or homes. We don’t know anything about their world and don’t really want to….
I know s because I lived that life for over 7 years. It took the power of God to set me free.
You know, I didn’t grow up planning to be a whore. That was not the dream that I had for my life. Like everyone, I wanted to be loved and cherished and I wanted to be happy. I had a twisted view of sexuality, partly due to the fact that I was reading books like in Cold Blood in 4th grade and that I discovered hardcore porn magazines when I was 12. I bought into the love the one your with mindset of the 70’s and I actually thought that if I was a virgin on my wedding day, I would be humiliated. So I set out to make sure that I wasn’t. I slept with the first guy I could at a party. I didn’t even know his name, but at least I wasn’t a virgin anymore. I was 12 years old…. I look back now and think how insane that was! And that is how it began… I believed a lie and acted on it and brought misery and pain on myself
I started working as a prostitute when I was 14. I did it for kicks at first. I spent the money on drugs and clothes. It was easy and I sort of drifted into being a part-time call girl. I thought of it as a form of free enterprise.
During this time, I was going to high school and getting A’s and B’s, but I had this secret nightlife. I would say I was spending the night with a girlfriend or sneak out, and meet the men I would service.
I was horrified to find out I was pregnant. What would I tell my parents? That I was sleeping with strangers for money? I couldn’t handle that, so I ran away to California where I got an abortion. But the abortion broke my heart. I told my baby how sorry I was and how I wished that it could be different, then laid on that table and had her killed. I tried to block that memory out of my mind as best as I could and swore that I would never do it again. But I am faithless and my promises are worthless. I had two more and by that time my heart was so cold and hard then that it didn’t really matter anymore.
My life continued to spin out of control. By the time I was 21 I was living in NYC, had three abortions, two suicide attempts, two failed drug rehab programs, was living with a man who beat me (my pimp), working as a stripper and making porn films and doing live sex shows.
I can’t think of anyone less deserving of the grace of God than I was.
I knew that I would die if something didn’t change. But I was powerless to help myself. So at that point of desperation, I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in. “God, I prayed, If you are real, Help me, please help me” . Just saying those words made me cry. I hadn’t cried in years and it was like a dam broke in my heart. I cried for the whole sorry mess and just kept saying I am so sorry. There was no reason for God to care, much less to help me. Yet that little prayer was enough for God to coming running to rescue me. My life change almost instantly. The next morning I got up and went to an uptown shooting gallery. But I didn’t get high. Everyone else did, but I was perfectly straight. And the desire was gone. I never used drugs from that day on. It was like a light switch had been flipped. I was free of the drug addiction that had me in bondage for years. I still don’t know how it happen, but I got a job working in a Bronx insurance agency as a clerk. And within a short period of time I was back home with my parents. A brand new start.
I never once promised to love God or believe in Him or follow Him, God came to help me because He is kind and merciful.
But there is a real spiritual battle for our souls. Satan hates us. And his goal is to destroy our lives and send us to hell. He didn’t care if I went to hell as a prostitute or an unbeliever. He only cared that I end up in hell. So I was at a crossroads, just like the lepers in the story. I could choose like the one leper, to acknowledge that God rescued me, and follow him, or I could continue on my way. And only a fool would choose to walk back into darkness after tasting the goodness of God . Yet that is what I did! I choose to belive that by my willpower and strength that I pulled myself out of the mess I was in. And by that decision, I stole the glory that belonged to God and appropriated it for myself. As an added bonus, I choose to believe that my bad decisions were the fault of men. I could hate them for my choices. I was so sick that hatred was more attractive to me than the love of God.
I took that bait and walked away from the love of God. Logically that should be the end of the story. I was ungrateful and determined to do things my way. God should have given up on me. But He doesn’t give up. Never. Not Ever! No matter what you have done He still seeks you. And He seeks you kindly, gently because He loves you so much. He comes not with a club, but with love. I could have taken another beating, but I was powerless against a love like that.
It took 17 more years till I found Him, but all that time God sought me and blessed me, with a husband who always showed me the love and forgivness of God to me, even when I was unfaithful, even when I was spiteful, even when after 17 years of marriage he found out my past for the first time, he forgave me in the name of Jesus. He loved me unconditionally and because of that finally I came to know the One who loved me from the begining of time, who searched for me in the slime and pits I dug for myself.
I still am amazed by what He did to reach someone like me who was so not worth the effort, so sick and pathetic. But He was willing to give everything to make me His child.