"Redeeming love." What is that?
In 1991, Francine Rivers wrote Redeeming Love. A novel loosely based on the story of Hosea in the Bible, the story follows “Angel,” a woman sold into prostitution as a child. Her hero, Michael Hosea, hears from God and marries her. Through many ups and downs, Michael runs to her rescue and continues to show her Christ’s redeeming love as she battles her past and her lifestyle in prostitution.
Last weekend, Redeeming Love hit the box office for the first time, and many were disappointed. It includes graphic material such as multiple sex scenes (implied & otherwise), alcohol usage, nudity, language, and violence. However, one of the most troubling aspects for me was the vivid image of children being used, sold, and bought for sexual purposes.
The thought alone makes me sick to my stomach, as it did many other viewers and readers of Rivers’ novel. But what makes it worse is that such child trafficking is happening all across the United States and world…not just in novels about prostitutes.
Human trafficking is happening every day in every city and with every age demographic. And just like Angel, many victims are there against their will or were put there as a child. In today’s world, the sex industry presents itself as glamorous and “empowering” when in reality, it’s a lot of little girls and women being forced to do things that I cannot fathom.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in 2020, there were more than 17,000 reports of child sex trafficking across the US…and those were just the reported cases. In 2020, Polaris’ human trafficking hotline found that 27.6% of all victims were minors when they entered into the life of exploitation. Of all the calls Polaris received, they found that between 2019 and 2020, 47.3% of victims were recruited by a family member or caregiver.
A large portion of sex buyers prefer children. But how would anyone know that?
Like many, growing up, I never heard about trafficking. Rather – like many of my Christian friends – there were certain words that we heard to identify women working in the sex industry. “Trashy,” was the most common term I heard used. So, I continued to move in life thinking less of those women – until I was a senior in high school.
After seeing a friend with a red X on her hand, I began to learn the truth about trafficking and much of what really happens in the sex industry. Without hesitation, during my quiet time, I heard the Lord say, “Hannah, they are just as important to me as you are. Will you love them as I do?”
I was broken. Because little Miss Holy-Roller (aka me in this situation), had never taken time to consider the hearts of these women and girls. Who was I to forget that the Lord extends His mercy to them, just as He does to me?
These are little girls, women, and souls that believe no one loves them. That no one could care about them because of what they have been forced to do (or are doing). But how can we expect a holy God to forgive us amid our tragedies?
So, what is redeeming love? It is the love that can only be understood and seen through eyes that seek the Lord. It’s a love that rescues the hurting, dying, enslaved, and broken. And if He can heal us in our sin and depravity, He will do the same for them as well. I don’t deserve the gracious love of our Father, but I am thankful every day for the mercies He gives me, and everyone who chooses to accept it.
Due to the graphic material mentioned, I cannot recommend that AFA supporters view the movie Redeeming Love, as it is an exact adaptation of the book. However, I would encourage you to daily showcase the redeeming love given to you by Christ. If we as believers don’t, who will?
… God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:16-19).