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“Oh, are you one of the new girls?”

A room full of strippers greeted me with rabid curiosity. A year ago, I would have likely been rather offended at the thought of anyone mistaking me for a stripper. I am after all, a good old fashion church girl who saved herself for marriage. But instead I responded joyfully without a hint of offense “Nope! We are just here to bring you girls some gifts and let you know that you are valuable.”

They responded with warm-hearted smiles and sincere thanks. About the only thing that gave away the fact that they were strippers and not a normal group of young girls was the fact they were dressed in lingerie and I had just walked through a dark room scattered with men watching as music pulsed through the speakers.

This went on all night in different clubs and shops all over my home county. It amazes me what goes on behind bouncer protected doors just mere miles from the places I went to school and church. It’s as if a whole other world exists under the radar right in the midst of a normal, suburban atmosphere. There was so much brokenness, so much hell. I don’t use the word hell as a cuss word. If you thought I did, you certainly don’t know me yet! I mean to say; there are places all over my own county where the enemy has set up shop and made his home.

I’m not talking about SIN. I’m talking about IDENTITY.

Strip clubs should offend us, but not because we think of them as places where sin runs rampant. Rather, we should be offended because they are a place where the enemy has convinced an entire group of people that their value and identity are worth nothing. That offends me. That is not what God intended.

When I finished the night, I first felt a little bit disappointed that I didn’t get to have very much time with these women at all. What good did I really do in a few brief moments and a tiny gift? But then I realized something...

We had just stomped into the enemy’s territory. We didn’t stand outside and wait for them to come to safer ground. We went right into the place where the only message they experience is that they are only worth what they are willing to give, and the dollar bills they were given because of it and we gave them a different message:

You are LOVED. You have VALUE. You are created with a PURPOSE.

These girls are not aloof, twisted people who enjoy seducing men. They are girls with a story. As much as I wish that everyone were able to grow up in the kind of loving environment I was, it simply isn’t true. Statistically speaking, between 60-90% of the girls I met that night were sexually abused as children and 89% of them want to get out but don’t see any other way.

Am I offended? Absolutely. But not by topless women and stripper poles.

I’m offended by the fact that the enemy has made his home in my hometown. I’m offended that he has convinced beautiful, hurting women that this is the answer to their value.

I may not be the new girl working at a strip club, but I am a new girl because I have taken the time to understand their stories.

We ought to get offended more often for the right reasons and then actually do something about it.

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