In Part One of this article I shared the amazing testimony of Yvonne, and how she was delivered from a life of sin and sleaze. Here I want to look further at her story, and examine some strong warnings she offers. Two things in particular stand out here: how she thought she could still work in the sex industry yet claim to be a Christ follower, and how a tough love approach was desperately needed to snap her out of it.
As to the former point, Yvonne explains what was happening back then:
I was a stripper and a Christian at the same time. It was an ugly time of change and process. Outwardly I continued to do what I did, while internally the Holy Spirit was working on me. Just like anyone else who gets saved, we can have some instant change but some things are like habits that take time to break off as faith increases. For me, stripping was a financial dependency and a reliable “go to” when I needed money to survive as a young single mom. My faith for God’s provision was not matured.
This is just a small portion of the back drop of why I did what I did, while if asked, I would say that I was a believer at the time. But the buck literally stops here (and this is why I give no excuses to those who continue in the lifestyle): God stopped me in my tracks (because I was his) and I will NEVER forget the day that the Holy Spirit took over. I went to work at the club one day only to receive a very special customer who changed the situation forever. He was a married man of God with a praying wife who came into the club to hire me. He paid for a table dance in a back corner.
As soon as we hit the spot, the Holy Spirit began to freeze my body and shake me head to toe. I believe that because I belonged to God and he belonged to God, God’s grief for us in our sin was so strong, things seemed to tremble in the spiritual realm. It was just so wrong. I tried to talk money with the guy, but prophesy came out of my mouth. I said to him, “Are you married?” as a vision of his praying wife spanned across my mind. I prophesied, “You are a married man, a man of God, you belong to him, and your wife is praying for you?” He was shocked and angry. He said, “You’re not supposed to talk about that. You’re not supposed to know that stuff. You can’t say this stuff to me!” I left the money on the table, turned by back to him, and ran the other way. I NEVER WENT BACK.
When I told people, that I can’t strip anymore, it’s because I literally can’t do it anymore. God won’t let me. The only stripping I do now is stripping down the lies that bring people to that lifestyle. After all of these years, I am so grateful for repentance, the discipline of the Lord, and for his interventions. The solution for this is praying wives. I am grateful for praying wives. To this day, I still pray for that man and his wife. I don’t know how the experience affected him. It’s none of my business. But if I pray for anyone, it’s that women I saw in the vision, the praying wife. If God could make me stop, he can help anyone else stop the lifestyle, he can help anyone else repent, change, and be fully transformed. What God starts, he finishes.
Another point Yvonne very much wants to stress is how a softly softly, non-judgmental approach just does not work. Indeed, it simply condemns the deceived person in their sin and downward spiral. They need truth, they need loving rebuke, they need the hard words of the gospel. They do not need cotton candy sentimentalism. She speaks about some of the programs that are out there to help women in the sex industry:
There is a silver lining of hope, but there is much to be criticized about them as well. It frustrates me to no end! Here’s what’s going on with ministries that want to help. There are well meaning Christian women who go into porn and photo studios and also strip clubs. They sit at the bar, buy an alcoholic beverage, and attempt to converse with the women. The goal is to show them no judgement, full acceptance, and love them right where they are at. Some of the Christian women bring in gift packages for the women in the sex industry. The gift packages have information on how to escape sex trafficking, how to sign up for welfare (financial services) and housing, and scriptural devotional books. And that’s it. They leave it right there. The goal is to love the sex women through acceptance and just hope that they will be touched somehow by the love and read the devotional.
This is all good. So why would this frustrate me? All of this lovey dovey, no judgement, acceptance is NOT WHAT I NEEDED when I was in the lifestyle. What you get from that approach is what we have with so many young women caught up in this: a mess of sin and a mockery of forgiveness. First of all, the lovey dovey acceptance does nothing in comparison to how impressed I was with the devil and his power. It could not compare to how impressed with and reliant upon the devil I was. In the back dressing room, I and the other workers would “pray” to the spirits, cast spells, and send out demons to loose the pockets of men. And it worked. The more we “prayed” the more money we made that night without having to do the dirty work. Sorry but acceptance doesn’t turn into cash. The heart becomes ruthless.
Also, I loved to laugh at Christians who came to the bar and drank alcohol. So much for Jesus being enough, or Jesus being their peace. I guess, whatever excuse a person needs to drink, they’ll use. I loved that they needed drugs just as much as the rest of us to survive this world. I actually felt sorry for them for having the burden of a spiritual guilt trip over it. At least I could drink and drug and not have a moral melt down over it the next day. If I encountered a Christian at the bar, I’d buy them a drink and mock them with every sip. The heart is evil and humorous.
And finally, they may not have known it, but the bar was clearly the devils turf. I loved that they might think they could come in there with hopes to change us, but they sure got an eye full while they were there. I wondered what they’d do when they got home to relieve all that tension. Who’s their God now? Even sinners know human bent, very well. No, I didn’t need to be loved and accepted. I have more respect for my father who yanked me off the stage and attempted to drag me out by my hair, than I do those who didn’t put their lives on the line to save my soul. We need better helps than these sex industry ministries. The devil is aggressive. We need to be aggressive back, with truth. Even if it pisses their pretty little heads off. Trust me, they will respect you later. There is a hell and it is hot, and thank God for saving me from it.
She goes on to talk more about how the “love and acceptance” approach is so unhelpful:
We need to learn to be OK with just being seed planters and some seeds are driven into the ground with a sharp and precise edge. Warming me up with acceptance never combated the real problem. Acceptance was needed later when I presented myself as wanting to change. I was then, accepted as I am and I was nurtured into changing. But that desire to change would never happen if I was made to be warm and comfortable in my sin.
The two most impacting truths that affected me were: 1) What I was doing was wrong, selfish, and I was hurting not only myself but others around me. Now, that is pretty offensive. 2) If I continue to habitually practice the lifestyle and I bring a child into it, with a numb “gut feeling” toward sin and perversion, my child will most likely be molested while I’m in the lifestyle because I will not be able to discern who is a pervert, what sexual advances cross the line (since there are not lines), and who actually just wants access to me to eventually have access to my child. How rude right? But it’s all true. What I was doing was wrong and destructive beyond measures that I could predict in my selfish moment. Truths must be spoken, even though they piss people off. And we need to learn to be OK with that as Christians. We aren’t called to be nice. We are called to be holy.
Yvonne is not alone in thinking this way. I have often reported on those who were deep in sexual sin who actually hated it when Christians told them the hard truth, but it was exactly what they needed. They needed Christians to stop being “nice” and make some sound judgments and truth claims. I discuss one such former homosexual for example here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/12/30/loving-enough-to-offend/
So take it from people like Yvonne and others: people entrapped in these sinful lifestyles desperately need to hear biblical truth. Sure, they will lash out and get angry at you when you do, but it is what they need to hear. That is real Christian love. Winking at sin, not confronting evil, and just trying to get along is NOT the Christian response.
Thank you Yvonne for sharing your story with me and with everyone else who will listen. You are an inspiration and a champion. God bless you, and may your testimony continue to help set many other people free, and point them to the great deliverer, Jesus Christ.
Part One of this article is found here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/06/28/sex-industry-tough-love-amazing-grace-part-one/