Lady of the Night
And then came the "crunch" line. I knew there would be one, but wasn't sure what it would be. "Dick," she said with tears brimming in her eyes, "in my whole life I have never ever felt that anyone ever loved me. I am terribly lonely all of the time."
I got a little teary eyed myself. "I sure can understand how you feel," I genuinely said. "I came from a broken home too. My parents were divorced. And I hated my father because I felt that he had rejected me. I know what it's like to feel lonely—like you're all alone in the world and nobody loves you or even cares that you exist. I know exactly what that feels like—only too well."
Now I knew the reason why Toni was a prostitute. She was craving a father's and mother's love which she had never had. She was also acting out her inner hurt, anger, and self-hatred in self-destructive ways. She was desperately craving love and acceptance.
Apparently there was another couple involved in this racket. They could see that business wasn't going too well. I don't think they approved of the tears. They were closing in on Toni and trying to get her away.
I reached around to block them for a moment, put my arm around Toni's shoulder and said, "Toni, I will probably never ever see you again, but there is something very important that I want to tell you. I hope you will never forget this as long as you live. It is this: no matter what you have ever done or have failed to do—and no matter what it is, and no matter how you ever feel or don't feel, please remember that God loves you and so do I."
And with that I let go of Toni and she was taken away.
It was a lack of love that drove
Toni into acts of sin. Only love
will ever take her out again.
As I stood there that day, I felt deeply moved in my spirit. Two people had related, heart-to-heart and not merely head-to-head like in so many of my conversations. Then I was struck with the thought that in God's sight there wasn't that much difference between Toni and me; the only difference being that, to overcome the voice of her inner pain and emptiness, Toni became a sexaholic. To overcome my inner pain and emptiness I became a workaholic—"for God" no less! But with God, who looks on the heart and not on the outward appearance, there wasn't any difference—Toni and I had both sinned and come short of the perfection (wholeness) that God had envisioned for us both.1
In God's sight we were equally sinners. And then as I sat there in deep contemplation, waiting for my friend to get off work, another truth hit me. It was this: "It was a lack of love that drove Toni into acts of sin. Only love will ever take her out again!"
Love, understanding, acceptance and forgiveness. That's the message of Jesus Christ and true Christianity. It's from the goodness and mercy of God. It's the message that we all need to hear—and experience. And it's the message that God has for you and me today.
So, dear reader, God wants you to know that no matter what you have ever done or have failed to do, he loves you with an everlasting love, and has the gift of acceptance, forgiveness, and eternal life for you. It's yours for the taking. Why not respond to God's love today by confessing your sinfulness to him, and asking for his forgiveness and healing.
For help click HERE for the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian—without having to be religious."
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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