“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” — Bob Pierce
I think there have probably been times when I’ve recommended a book that would be appropriate for anyone (and sometime soon, I hope to write a review of a book like that, that I recently read), but I think this is the first time I’ve ever said that there’s a book I think everyone SHOULD read … I would almost say that everyone has a moral obligation to read. (The reason I say “almost” is because I know I have friends — God bless them! I’m kind of the same way — who would balk at me defining what their moral obligation is. If I were not to use that word “almost,” my statement would cause them not to read it, for that reason alone.)
This book was not easy to read. There were times I found it so disturbing that I had to put it aside and regain my composure enough to continue. But that’s exactly why it needs to be read. Not to decondition us or make us calloused, certainly not to get us used to seeing this kind of thing, but because we NEED to be disturbed by this. Too many turn their heads away — they’re afraid to face these facts, they scorn the people who are victims, they don’t know what to do, etc. There were people in Theresa’s life — the school security officer, teachers, friends, and others, who turned away when they saw what was happening, and even when she begged them for help. Many of us would possibly be guilty of the same thing.
When I shared this story with a few friends while I was reading it, their response was that she was stupid to not get out. This is why we need to read this. We need to understand what holds people in those situations. If we think that they’re stupid, that should be a red flag to us that we need to gain better understanding. I learned in acting class in college that people do things because they think it’s the best thing to do. In our omniscient wisdom (tongue in cheek), we may be able to see that their decisions are foolish, or we may be able to see other options, but it makes us more human, more humane, and more godly, when we take the time to figure out why they think it’s the best thing to do. Not necessarily a good thing; but sometimes, our only options (or at least the only ones we can see) are all bad, and we choose the best of those bad options. Hint: Someone doesn’t live through the terror and pain this young woman lived through if they think there are better options. We need to allow God to give us compassion. We need to beg God for compassion. “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” Bob Pierce (founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse) said this, and I think it’s one of the godliest prayers we can pray.
There are times when we have to be willing to say, “No, don’t turn your head. This is important.” Asking you to read this book is one of those times.
The main purpose of this book is to help us understand how someone gets trapped in sex trafficking … in this country. A nice girl from a good family. An intact, loving family. A girl who was not promiscuous and was committed to saving sex for marriage. There may be people you know who are stuck in this lifestyle and you don’t even know it. But I think that it goes beyond that. It can also help you understand what it’s like to be abused or bullied — and why people stay in those situations when you think they have options. I can almost guarantee you know people who are in that situation, whether you realize it right now or not. I think this is a book we should read so that we can become better educated about things that need to be changed in our society (not just some place on the other side of the globe), but mostly so that we can become better human beings.
Btw, I know that my posts are read by a number of homeschoolers, so let me say this about using this book in school. Yes, I think it would be valuable, in about junior high or high school. And having your child read it could quite possibly save their life (which is why I would recommend junior high), in addition to helping them become better human beings. Having said that, though, I think it’s a very good idea for you to read it first, so that you have a heads up as to what kinds of questions and discussions would be helpful in working through it. This book is disturbing. There’s just no way around that. You might even want to read the book out loud to your kids so that you can have those discussions as you read … and so you can decide if you need to censor any details. The woman who wrote this — about her own experiences — is quite conservative and has strong family values, but she does occasionally give some details your children may not be ready to hear. If you read it ahead of time, it’s easy enough to know what to skip over (just a few sentences in the entire book). If you decide to read this with your kids for school and you’d like help with coming up with discussion questions, leave me a comment asking for that, and I’d be happy to put some together.
(Btw, I’m not an Amazon associate and I don’t get anything if you buy this book. Just want to let you know: You should read this. It’s also available in a print version.)