For someone who takes almost a dozen trips a year, I still really dislike flying, mostly because of turbulence, but also because of feeling cooped up in the same place for an extended period of time. So on a recent flight across the country from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, I decided to get up and walk to the back galley to ask the flight attendant for a cup of water.
As I started to walk back to my seat with my drink in hand, my eyes caught sight of a sexually explicit image on the cellphone of a young man. I was shocked, not only because of the picture, but also because of the public space in which he was viewing it.
When I got to my seat, my mind was racing. Did I really see what I thought that I saw? Should I say anything to him? If so, what? What if he gets angry? Who am I to say anything to him anyway? I immediately went into calling upon the Holy Spirit for answers.
Holy Spirit, my heart aches for this guy; even at 32,000 feet in the air he cannot get away from lustful images that are constantly bombarding us on the ground. I know that he is loved by you. I know that he is a beloved son of the Father and I feel like you are calling me to engage him in conversation, but I feel completely insecure about going up to a stranger and talking about why porn is lame and why he shouldn’t look at it. Why me? Who am I to say anything to him anyway?
That’s when I felt the Spirit of the Lord remind me, that if he is God’s son, and I am God’s daughter, then we are brother and sister in Christ. And just like I want good things for my biological siblings, I want good things for my spiritual ones too. And just like I would correct my biological siblings if I saw that they were doing something wrong, I needed to lovingly correct my spiritual brother too.
I felt a sudden deep love and protectiveness over him and I wanted him to know that I didn’t see him as a porn-viewer, but rather, as my brother who needed to be reminded of his dignity and worth.
By this time, the plane had landed and I quickly sent out a tweet to Matt Fradd telling him of my intent to give the young man information about Integrity Restored and a few other resources. Matt’s response was the encouragement that I needed to not chicken out:
“Bless you, be sure you do. Tell him he was made for more. Smile at him.”
So I got out my business card, and wrote the web address for Integrity Restored, the Victory app and Matt’s Twitter handle. I also wrote “You are worthy of more!”
My heart was racing when I got off the plane and I wanted to forget the whole thing, grab my luggage, and go home; but instead I asked the Holy Spirit to stir within me the virtue of fortitude so that I could embrace the fear of possible rejection for the opportunity for this man, my spiritual brother, to encounter Jesus.
I saw him walk towards me and he looked around as though he were lost, so I took that as my chance to start up a conversation. I asked if he we was looking for baggage claim and he chuckled and said that he was just looking around. I smiled back, took a deep breath, and said, “I hope this isn’t strange, but I really feel called to give you my card.
I wrote a few websites on it that I think that you would be interested in. If you want, you can just toss it in your backpack for now and get to it at a later time, but I really hope that you give them a chance. I know this seems kind of weird, but you are worth more.” He raised his eyebrow and gave me a strange look, but he took my card and said thanks. I smiled back, said you’re welcome, and quickly walked away into the women’s restroom before he could say anything else.
I didn’t bring up the image that I saw on his phone and I didn’t tell him that websites were all anti-pornography because that’s not what he needed to hear at the moment, and truth be told, he may have just walked away from me without hearing without taking my card. Rather, I kept it simple and said what was most important for him to have ingrained in his heart and memory: “You are worth more.”
When I looked into the eyes of that young man, I was met with such warmth and kindness and it reminded me of what Jesus must see when He looks at me. Jesus doesn’t see my sin. He sees me, His beloved chosen one.
To the young man looking at porn on the plane, I really hope that you will take time to check out the websites and turn to the Lord for guidance. I don’t judge you. I love you as my brother in Christ, and I want you to know that you are worthy of so much more.
1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
This article first appeared on the Integrity Restored website on October 26, 2016