By Cheryl Baker
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV).
I was sitting in church with my family and friends when I heard the announcement: Saddleback Church was going to host a conference about sex trafficking. I felt this overwhelming thought: “Was I supposed to go to that conference?” Immediately, my practical side kicked in. “No, I wouldn’t belong there.” I felt as though I didn’t have any solutions to contribute to this worldwide epidemic. In fact, I was a little scared to learn too much about an issue I could do nothing to help solve.
I’ve been a part of Celebrate Recovery for 25 years. In that time, we’ve seen men and women turn their lives over to Jesus Christ and find freedom from anger, codependency, drug addiction, food addiction, and sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and we’ve seen adult children experience recovery in their relationships with addicts. God uses CR to help men and women find victory over their hurts, hang-ups, and habits all over the world and in jails and prisons. So, I thought, what else could we do?
Despite the arguments with myself, I drove to that conference on an early Saturday morning convinced that I would not feel like I belonged there. One of the first people I saw was a leader from Celebrate Recovery. When I asked her why she had decided to come, she said she didn’t really know, but just felt like she should attend.
Uh-oh, maybe I did belong.
Then one of the speakers stepped up to the podium and introduced herself as the founder of a ministry that reaches out to women in strip clubs. She went on to say that she loved our church. She explained how she had driven 90 minutes every week for two years to be a part of Celebrate Recovery. She drove from Los Angeles to Saddleback Church. Now I knew I was supposed to be at this conference.
The question that came to my mind was, “How could Celebrate Recovery help with the heartbreak of sex exploitation?” Then I realize the answer. I knew we could do what we’ve been doing for 25 years: Provide a safe and non-judgmental place where someone trying to escape can find healing, support, and love. We can applaud the men and women who are confronting their sex addictions. We can pray that by lowering the demand for pornography, the need for sex trafficking will be erased. I am so excited to see that Celebrate Recovery has now started a Sex Exploitation Initiative as a part of our regular program.
Let me ask you a question. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by new information? When confronted with this information, do you think that you just don’t belong or that maybe someone else can help solve the problem more effectively? I encourage you to reach out of your comfort zone and pray to find a way that you can become a part of the CR Sex Exploitation Initiative.
As we reach out to others in pain, we get to live out one of my favorite verses, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, which says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all of our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (NIV).