I was really ticked off last night.
We had to move rooms again for the second time at this hotel. Our first room the sink started leaking. The second room they gave us as a replacement was considerably smaller. So we moved again last night to a bigger room, but after an hour or, so realized that the air conditioning didn’t work. I asked the front desk for a fan, but no luck – just a warm sticky room.
I laid in bed and fumed for a while. While I was laying there a phase kept coming into my head. I’ve used it before under my breath to refer to things and places that I did not like. It sounds like this…. “I hate this God forsaken place. It’s hot, humid and full of terrible people.”
I guess I should start at the beginning. We are in Bangkok, Thailand working with two organizations that are working to help people caught in the sex industry.
I had heard Bangkok had a huge sex industry but until you are here it is hard to visualize what that really looks like. Walking downtown in the red light areas in the middle of the day you see women everywhere dressed for “work” and hanging out in front of restaurants and bars. Once you realize what you are looking at you see it everywhere.
You also see their customers everywhere. In fact, it is easier to see their customers all over the downtown area. Mind blowing numbers of men, single and in pairs or small groups. You see lots of western (or other foreign) men walking around with women that are half their age. Most of the time the women are ‘dressed to kill’ and the guy looks like he fell out of bed in a low income neighborhood in the US and landed on the street in Bangkok.
The scale of the problem is dizzying and mind numbing to say the least. It is easy to see the women as victims and the men as the problem, the criminal element.
In talking with one of the organizations yesterday, they mentioned there are people who work to reach the men, the customers to try to help them and address their emotional needs as well.
People who will travel across the world for sex or to pay for companionship have huge issues and hurts. It is a side of the issue I never thought of.
So coming back to last night, as I was laying in bed muttering about “This God forsaken place”, I felt God saying that I had no right to say that. That He had not forsaken this place. He is working here and He is giving me an opportunity to be a part of that work. He has raised up these organizations in one of the darkest areas of the world. They are a light in the darkness, fighting against the sexual slavery and human trafficking.
I also felt him saying that this place is not forsaken because He is a God of love and these are all his children, even the ones who are responsible for the darkest darkness. He is still working to bring them back to himself and show them love. He wants them to see that there is a better way.
This is a hard and pill to swallow. It is easy to write off people who are doing evil and throw them away as hopeless and condemned. It is easy to want them to be forsaken by God and punished for our perception of who they are and what they have done.
It is hard to realize that we are called to love each and everyone of these people and show them they are loved by God, despite everything they have done or are actively doing. God is love and we are called to be like him. It sounds simple but in reality it is incredibly hard.