He walked her to the bar and she did the talking. He was about 55, white, slightly overweight and even from a distance I could tell he was unsure of himself. She appeared the opposite, young, Thai, beautiful, confident and doting on the older man, wiping his face with a cloth to catch the perspiration from his face.
Couples like this are everywhere in Thailand and seeing them used to turn my sight red. Many of these girls have been purchased, for an hour, for a day or a weekend and sex was a part of the deal. Sometimes I see men forcing alcohol down the girl’s throats or groping them in public and it would take some serious self-control not to intervene. It would take further time in prayer not to hate the men who did it, how could you ever justify buying someone?
But a couple of nights ago, something changed in the way I saw the Johns. As I watched the older man wait for the girl to order the beers, I saw no malice in him. He looked uncomfortable with himself, like he was just trying to fit somewhere in this broken world. Not what I would have pegged for a man who buys women.
And the longer I looked, the more I saw him as a man who was so desperate for love he settled for purchasing a cheap and tainted version of it. I began to see myself in him.
He was searching for love and oh, how I know the search for love.
I may have not resorted to purchasing it, but I have tried perfectionism, performance and attention-seeking ploys. I know what it is like to feel broken and unworthy and just by looking at him I could tell he felt the same way.
My last blog was the most vulnerable one I have written so far, I spilled my guts and my fears of dying alone because I am too broken to love. After posting it I was scared people would view me differently, but what I have discovered, with resounding hope, is we are not alone in our struggle.
I received emails and comments sharing they were struggling with the very same thing and they were comforted in the fact they were not alone. Feeling unloved, it seems, is simply part of the human condition and creates all sorts of crazy behaviors.
Someone once told me the root of all sin was pride. Sin was to think you knew better than God by forging your own path and choosing things the flesh desired over the Spirit. So when I sinned for a long time I thought it was pride in me, so I tried to be unprideful. Which I really didn’t have any idea how to do, it mainly looked like me feeling unfixable in my brokenness.
But now I think the root of sin is more just not understanding who we are. It is forgetting we are beloved sons and daughters of the most High God.
Sin, at least in my life, is caused when I forget how incredibly and unconditionally loved I am and begin to believe the lie that I am unloved. So I’ll say something unkind because I don’t think I am loved by that person. Or for the older gentleman I saw the other night it is purchasing a girl for sex.
If we really knew how loved we are, if we could feel it in our bones and have it coursing through our veins, it would be enough for us and we would stop acting selfishly to get it. It’s just like Martin Luther King Jr. said “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
We can’t fix ourselves, folks. Believe me, I have tried. Only love can fix us and it’s something we only get through spending time with the Father and letting the truth of His love hit us like a freight train.
So stop believing that you are alone in your struggle, stop believing that you are unloved and unfixable and see what those thoughts for what they are, a lie.
And start choosing to be loved, because He is always waiting for us.