My name is Cassie Hammett, and I work in Shreveport Louisiana. I get the privilege to work with an organization called Purchased, Not For Sale. We primarily work with victims of human trafficking in our state, but we also work with women who are coming out of the sex industry. Whether it’s a lifestyle of prostitution, online prostitution, pornography, or exotic dancing, we offer a program that helps them re-learn life. Purchased is an incredible ministry that has changed me. It has changed my heart and taught me so much about God and His love for us. I have learned so much through working with women in prostitution and pornography and, as a result, I’ve learned a lot about the conversation around sexual sin. What does God say about it, and what does the Bible say about it? As I’ve walked through life with women who have been on the other side of the screen, who are the stars of many of the films and images that you see in pornography, I’ve had this conversation with the Lord through prayer where He has shown me more about how to engage with the issue of sexual sin.
Let’s be honest. We live in a world where this conversation is happening whether we are in it or not. The world is shouting through a megaphone to us and to our children that sex sells, that our bodies are for everyone else, that we can use our bodies, we’re powerful, and it’s empowering to show our body and to show skin. That is the world that we live in. Sex has been reduced to just something you do, something you do with multiple people, something that is not sacred, and something that is used to sell products.
Whether we as the church want to engage in this conversation or not, this is the conversation that is happening. And we are leaving the world, who is desperately searching for answers on this issue, to find them in culture. I believe that it is the church’s job to step up and say that we have a loving God who has spoken about sex, sexual desire, and sexual sin.
I want to find the understanding that, as a Christian, part of my job is to have open arms to someone who may be struggling with homosexuality, addiction to pornography, or addiction to sex. The church is where people should go when they are broken and when they are addicted. I also want to have the understanding that I have the answers I need in scripture to address this issue.
I think, historically, the church has taken an arms length, distant approach to sex, merely warning people: just don’t do it, you are not supposed to have sex, you can’t have sex before marriage. This isn’t bad, but it does fall short in not asking why. Why do we need to stay pure? Why does God want marriage to be the place for sex? Why is sex outside marriage considered sin? What you discover when you ask these questions is the heart behind the command and why our loving God doesn’t want you to be in sexual sin.
And it’s because He loves you, His heart is for you, and sexual sin causes pain, loss, and brokenness. I am raising children, and as I teach them what to do and what not to do, it is important for them to understand the “why” behind it all. For example, I don’t want my kids to run out in the street, and when they’re running towards the street I want to yell “Don’t do that! Stop!” But just the other day I sat my oldest daughter down and told her, “Hey, I don’t want you to run into the street, and here’s why: you could get hurt and Mama doesn’t want you to get hurt because I love you so much.” So when I ask my daughter why she can’t run into the street, she says, “Because my Mama loves me.” The same is true about our heavenly Father. He loves us so much that He wants to protect us against pain, heartache, and brokenness. He wants to protect the things in us that are meant for life, for our future and destiny. So he puts boundaries up, not to keep us from all the good things, but to keep us for the things that He has for us and to protect us.
I think we need to get a grip on this conversation as the church because we live in a world in which sexuality is a big question mark right now. And we don’t want to push these questions away just because we don’t think we have the answers. On Facebook and social media we see a lot of negative and aggressive knee-jerk reactions to sexual sin from Christians, and I believe that the heart-problem there is a lack of information and understanding. When we dig in to Scripture and truth we get to the reasons our hearts break for people who are broken. We begin to understand that they don’t know why God would say marriage is between a man and a woman, they don’t know why God warns against sexual sin. So instead of pushing people away, pull them in and tell them why you believe what you believe.
I get to come every year to the Kanakuk Institute to have a conversation with the students about pornography and sexual sin. My hope is to free them up to understand that they are equipped, that they have the answers, and they need to learn how to communicate them well to other people. And I help them understand that pornography and sexual sin is hurting them, hurting our world, and hurting those in the industry. And the good news is that we serve a powerful God who has the answers and has enough forgiveness and enough redemption for all of us. I hope that when I come and talk about such an interesting and crazy topic that the students understand the heart of Jesus and the heart He has for His children.
Cassie Hammett is the founder of The Hub: Urban Ministries and Purchased, Not For Sale. With these organizations, Cassie walks with those in poverty as well as women and children who have been involved in the sex industry. She empowers them with skills to become self-sufficient, healed, and restored. Cassie and her husband, Brent, live in Shreveport LA with their adopted daughters Liv and Esther.