Home > Getting missional > drug dealers, strippers and ….. Jesus

drug dealers, strippers and ….. Jesus

I hung up the phone with a sigh of relief.   I had a friend I had been worried about for some time.   I got the call that all was ok and he, (who will remain anonymous) had at last chosen to leave the life of drug dealing.

I was intrigued to find out what caused the change of heart?  Instead, I found myself hearing an amazing of story of what caused him to remain in the lifestyle for such a long time.

You see, I’ve had a lot of misconceptions of why people get into damaging lifestyles such as drug dealing.  I was about to get schooled.

I started to impose my own opinions, as I know that the life of selling drugs is particularly tempting to those wanting to make a lot of money fast.  I have spoken to numerous teens in schools about it because I have seen the lives of various young people get sucked into the greed and “fast money” selling drugs brings.

But the answer I got was not what I expected.  Yes, it was a lot of money.  He was able to buy a sweet BMW and probably a ton of other fun “toys”, but that wasn’t the main reason he stayed:

“I was good at it”, he said.

He found not only could he make a lot of money, but he was building an empire…. and it happened fast!   This person has always had some amazing leadership potential and the ability to make things happen, so it is no surprise that these gifts were being used to their full potential….. just in the wrong direction.

And the craziest thing I heard him say was, “I was energized because I was actually pouring into these people!”   He wasn’t just selling these people drugs, but he was pausing to stop and encourage those buying and selling.   He became well known for being the one people wanted to deal with because he…. cared!  Bit of an oxymoron, I know, but I was starting to see why this seemed so “win-win” to him, which in turn, kept him in the lifestyle.

Let’s rewind a couple of years back to my days of ministry in Vancouver.   There was a precious young woman I got to know who one day admitted to me that she was a stripper.  Again, I was very intrigued of why she was choosing to stay in that lifestyle. She was wanting to pursue more positive options in her life, why wouldn’t she just leave?

It wasn’t that simple.

“I can’t leave the kind of money I make to go work at Wendy’s.  I’d never survive.  I have no education”.

If she left her job of stripping, she wouldn’t be able to afford rent or food.   That gave me a different perspective.

Both of these scenarios have taught me a ton about what I don’t know.

  • they taught me that people involved in these lifestyles aren’t “baaaad” people.
  • these people, didn’t wake up one day thinking, “I think I’m gonna be a drug dealer/stripper.”   Wouldn’t momma be proud….
  • the people involved in these lifestyles often have gifts that aren’t being used to their full potential.   This is probably a good one to note if you work in the area of empowering people.   And of course the one place where their gift can be used but also corrupted and multiplied deceptively, is the LAST place they need to be in.
  • they have justified their acts in whatever way possible, looking at the “good” in their actions.   Yes, they do this to repress the guilt, but more because deep inside, they really desire to do good.
  • these lifestyles feed the self-worth we all crave.  To us on the outside we can see that this is a false reality, but to them, its the worth they’re not getting anywhere else.   When that young lady would strip, she would be praised.  Maybe not the way most of us gals would like, but if you’re not getting praise from anywhere else, you’re open to ANY kind you can get.   When my friend would walk the downtown core, people knew who he was.   He had respect, admiration…. people needed him.  He had status and people wanting to work under him.

You know what this new awareness tells me?   It tells me that more than ever, we need to give people room to dream…. to use their giftings.   We need to encourage and pour into people so that they don’t have to look to these destructive lifestyles.  Sometimes all it takes is just someone saying; “I see more in you that this…..”

It’s funny that in both situations, these people both confessed to me that while involved in these lifestyles, they struggled with feeling comfortable going to church.   Sad.   I wonder how Jesus would treat my two friends?

I’m not sure, but I do know that while on the earth, the people Jesus poured into and hung out with were:

  • adulterers
  • greedy
  • power hungry
  • prostitutes
  • racists
  • dishonest
  • loud mouthed
  • violent
  • backstabbers
  • disbelieving

Wouldn’t He do the same today?

May we remember the power we have to invest in others lives so they can become all that He envisioned for them.  May we not look aside, choosing to judge, but bring people to a place of true worth in Him through loving acts and acceptance.

“The church was meant to reflect Jesus, a man whose entire ministry was OUTSIDE of the building” – Matthew Barnett

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Categories: Getting missional
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