There is a weird trend in the county where I now live of having half-naked women serving coffee in the drive through coffee stands. Perhaps where you live there is a criminal code preventing this or perhaps common sense prevents this near you, but in my zip code, half-naked baristas are all the rage. How do you differentiate your otherwise commonplace drive through coffee stand? Have women in lingerie serving the lattes! I can only imagine the first genius to make this observation. Want to know the sad thing? It works. Drive past the lingerie ladies coffee stand most mornings and there is a line of idling cars. Want to know the even sadder thing? Worse than the actual customers lined up are the passers-by on the street like myself that take the occasional glance at the barely clad barista.
I was having a conversation with someone close to me recently who was telling me how upset he is about sex trafficking. “Its horrible” –he almost shouted “and it happens right here!” The person was fired up- and I agreed. Yes, its horrible. And yes it happens right here. Sex trafficking is perhaps one of the biggest sins and crimes happening every single day perhaps not even a few miles from where you live. To be sure, we should be concerned with this, bring awareness to the issue, help fight for justice to bring the perpetrators to arrest and set the captives free.
But then I thought of my passing glances at the Lingerie Latte Barista…aren’t I part of the problem too? Does that girl serving coffee really want to be standing there in her underwear? Or is she a victim of a bunch of “over-hormoned” men needing both their caffeine and their lust fix in one convenient stop?
We are all part of the problem. If I am concerned with sex trafficking, and I am, I need to do more than send a $50 check to International Justice Mission once in a while and change my FB status. I need to change my life. I need to be concerned with all of my sexuality and the way in which women and children are imprisoned by lust and greed and misplaced sexuality. And I need to change my gaze.
See, I have 2 daughters. I hope they grow up in a world where they aren’t concerned with sex trafficking. But I also don’t want them serving coffee in their underwear. Why? Because they are CHILDREN OF GOD and VALUABLE for whom they are, for their connection with their Father God and their service in HIS NAME to the world around them. They will do things with their lives based on their interests and passions and their calling. And I hope they have healthy and beautiful relationships with men who love and respect them for who they are, not what they look like when they are in their birthday suits.
Girls, you deserve so much more than being objectified for what your body looks like. You are valuable and cherished for your character, your soul, and your beliefs. Remember this. Your God sees you as beautiful for your interior- this is how He created you.
Boys, protect your hearts. Refrain from the glance at the half-clad barista, the internet nudity, or worse. Your eyes are a pathway- so feed your soul with good food. Seek purity and follow God.
Women– raise your children to seek purity and be honored for their real worth- how God created them. Model this in your homes. Tell your children they matter for who they are to God- not just how society judges them.
Men– partner with your women to raise your kids in this way- but also set an example. It isn’t just what we say we value, it is how we actually live our lives. Guard your eyes- which the bible says are a gateway to our hearts. Your personal purity will prevent your mind from committing mental or emotional adultery. And the women and children in your life are listening- but they’re also watching your eyes. They’re watching what you see on TV, what you look at on the internet, how you look at the body of a passing by woman. These things matter. Bono wrote that “I don’t believe in forced entry, I don’t believe in rape, but every time she passes by wild thoughts escape.” Our minds are as important as our actions.
We start being Christ’s witnesses as we seek purity. It is a hard journey. One that I’ve failed at, at times in my life…but it is a journey we must walk. To set the set the captives free- both from sexual slavery and cultural values that say women are only what they look like. We can change things…but it takes one glance at a time. And we can confess when we fall short of our values and aim to start again. We can confess and change. We are called to confess and change! Psalm 32:5 states,
“I acknowledged my sin to You,
and my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin!”
So I have written an apology letter. And I apologized to my wife. And I asked for forgiveness from God. And I am changing…one glance at a time.
Dear Latte Lady:
I’m sorry for casually stealing glances from the street through the barista window when I have driven by. I will confess that I don’t want to gawk at you only to steal glances of whatever suggestive outfit you are wearing. I don’t think you are valuable for how you look half clothed. I think you are valuable for how God made you, full of dreams and relationships and ideals. Maybe you already know God and know this to be true. Perhaps you do not. Either way, by glancing when I drive past, I realize I am part of the problem that has you serving coffee in your underwear. Today I have resolved not to glance again. Please don’t take my stony face resolve as anger or distaste for you. On the contrary, I’m trying to show my kids that my actions matter, that my eyes won’t indulge in women other than their mother. I want my daughters to know they don’t need to be objectified…they deserve better. I want my son to know the things he looks at are as important (or more) than what he says he believes. And I want you to know that when the time is right, you can leave that coffee stand and not look back. You are worth so much more. Come to church sometime. I’d like to meet you, fully clothed, and hear your story.
Blessings on your journey,