When is a choice not really a choice?
In Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, it’s perfectly legal to pay an adult to have sex with you. These men and women are often enslaved, coerced into the industry and forced to turn over any money they make. They are also likely to have been brutally abused as children and have entered into the industry while underage.
So when a twenty-five year old mother of two with no home, no job, no skills, and a lifetime’s worth of trauma “chooses” to legally sell her body, is she really making a choice?
Of course not. We all know that she’s not making a choice. She’s been forced into an impossible situation and sees no way out. That’s not a choice.
In some of the world’s poorest countries, it’s perfectly legal for a mother to choose to internationally adopt her child as a response to her extreme poverty. I don’t see that as a choice.
Most mothers I know would choose to sell their body or hand over their child to a rich benefactor rather than watch their child starve. It would be an easy decision. A painful decision, but an easy decision.
When we first learned that the children we were adopting had a mother, I wept. OWAS told us that she was poor and couldn’t take care of them and so she had chosen for them to be adopted. I hadn’t signed up to take a mother’s children. I thought we were adopting orphans. Orphans have no parents, right?
But then it’s easy to justify. She’s poor. What kind of life can she give them? I can send them to school and give them medicine when they are sick. And I will love them.
And then when it still felt wrong, I made up possible explanations. Maybe she was raped. Maybe she is abusive. Maybe her new boyfriend won’t let her keep her kids.
I told myself that she had no other choice. It was adoption or sure death.
But was there really no other choice in this situation?
A woman selling her body may have no other choice, but the pimp has a choice. The john has a choice. Law enforcement has a choice. Lawmakers have choices.
There was a choice for me. I could choose to bring these children to America. I could choose to walk away so that the kids could stay in their home, country, culture. I could choose to support this mother to keep her kids. I had the power and the choice.
I’m not saying that it’s an easy choice. It rarely is when we talk about changing lives and making impact.
The foundation of my faith rests on a choice that a man made in ancient Israel. He chose to sacrifice himself to humiliation, execution, and the wrath of a holy God to save me.
I had no choice in that matter. I was in an impossible situation – born under condemnation, destined to die, undeserving of forgiveness, and utterly incapable of doing anything about it.
But the man had all the power and all the choice, and he chose me.
He became sin who knew no sin so that I might become the righteousness of God.