I drove by a strip club today.
Well, a former strip club.
This place of business closed down and went up for sale after an employee was indicted on federal charges of sex trafficking, torture, and money laundering. The evidence and testimonies are powerful.
The news reports about this club, which was located in a rural farming community, shocked neighbors. (To be fair, some members of the community had to have known. After all, the club obviously generated enough revenue from someone to stay in business.)
It might surprise you that this isn’t a post about the very real problem of human trafficking and exploitation. That’s another post for another day. After all, it is a real issue involving real people whom God loves and whose heart breaks for them—and it is in your area too.
Instead, this is a post about redemption.
You see, not too long ago someone bought the property and is turning it into a different business. When I drove by, I saw progress. Where there used to be only walls, windows are being framed in. There’s a dumpster outside. What used to be a place that hid what went on inside—a place that didn’t want to let the light in—is undergoing a renovation. It’s been given a second chance.
I couldn’t help but think that’s what it’s like when Jesus takes ownership of us.
Before Jesus, before baptism, before repentance, before the Holy Spirit giving us faith, the Bible says we are full of darkness. We don’t want anyone to see the evil going on inside. (Although sometimes, to be fair, we revel in our darkness and don’t care who sees it.)
Then Jesus claims us. He changes our business, and there’s progress.
He is the window who brings the light into our darkness. He is the one who acts as our dumpster—putting all our garbage (sins) on him to be hauled away forever. And he is the new owner who will take care of us. He promises, “I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).
Now your business is to tell everyone about the renovation that’s taken place. Realize just how valuable you are—that someone purchased you from darkness. Now your identity as a place of ill repute is in the past. You’re new. “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who really had no idea that driving by that building for three seconds would give her so much to ponder. Feeling judgmental about the people who worked in that building? Check out her thoughts on the topic.