Used. Betrayed. Manipulated. Discarded. Sold. I am not alone.
It started with one dollar. A quick dance that took seconds was merely a sampling of what could be. The dollar wasn’t the goal. It was the hook…for him and for me. If he decided I was worth more, we would move to a more private room where I had to live up to the brief show on the floor. Each song costs $20. That’s a lie packaged up in words to hide what was true. I was worth $20. As long as he enjoyed the dance, with every song he would give me another twenty. I would sell more with every song, and he would greedily take all that I had. He took all I had, and I gave all that I was. I could walk back to the dressing room with fistfuls of cash, and still I was nothing.
One dollar, twenty dollars, one hundred…there was so much money and it was never enough. Outside of the club there is a lot more to be made. I sold myself for $500 and I sold myself for $1000. I could be bought, but as hard as I tried no amount of money could buy back who I once was.
It is surreal to be sold. Does that make any sense at all? It’s like you are outside of yourself watching in horror. You see the money on the table. You see your hands clenched and feel your manicured nails digging into your palms. You think of all the moments you could have walked away, and you wonder how you got here. You wish you couldn’t feel what is going on, but you can. And you want to throw up. As you walk away you cram the money into your purse, and you drive home as fast as you can. You cry over what you have done and who you have become. And you cry because you never want to do it again but you know you will.
It has taken me thirteen years to be able to bring these pieces of my past into the light. Even now as I see the words forming in black and white, it is hard to fathom that this is what my life was like. It is amazing to me that I am a woman who has been forgiven. This Easter season, it has become incredible for me to discover that Jesus knew exactly how it feels to be sold.
Thirty pieces of silver. Jesus was not only betrayed by one of his own disciples, but he was sold for thirty pieces of silver. Judas asked the leading priests “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you? And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. “ (Matthew 26:15) When I read these words I was heartbroken. My Savior, the King of the world, was sold for an amount of money that could never come near his worth. My Jesus, the One who has saved me, understands me.
Jesus was sold, and in doing so he then had to pay a much greater price to buy me back. I couldn’t do that on my own. I tried. So what happened to him once he was taken away from the leaders who purchased him?
He was mocked. At a farce of a trial, Jesus was the one the crowds wanted to crucify and a real criminal was released. Jesus knew what if felt like to be rejected, and he understood injustice. He was spit upon. My Savior was demeaned. Jesus was beaten. The whips tore his skin to the bone. The Prince of Peace was a victim of violence. A crown of thorns was pressed into his head, and the blood must have stung his eyes as it fell from his brow. He knew humiliation. The heavy cross was his to carry to his place of crucifixion until he could carry it no more. Jesus knew what it was like to walk a path of pain and misery. His wrists and his ankles were nailed to the wood of a cross, and on that cross he hung in agony. As he hung there dying, people shouted at him and made fun of him. He knew what is was like to be hated. Jesus felt fear and he felt pain. The most amazing thing of all is that as he took his final breath, he knew love.
Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you. He died knowing that many would still reject him. He died knowing that I would reject him over and over until I came to the end of myself and turned to him. That is love. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) Death did not claim Jesus, for he rose again in three days. It is in his resurrected life that we can be made new. Because Jesus died, I am no longer who I was. It took hours for him to die. It only took a moment and a simple prayer to Jesus for my life to be forever changed.
Maybe you have never felt loved or understood. I get that. But that is a lie. There is no love on earth like the love Jesus has for you, and he understands everything you have gone through. He gets you. He loves you. You are chosen. You are a treasure beyond measure. You are a child worth dying for.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” Isaiah 53:5