Exploited by Michael Owens
Young people, have you noticed some of the things that are going on with your generation? If so, you will see that many teens have been tricked or forced into compromising situations to make ends meet or to simply prove their womanhood or manhood.
I often think about the young people who sell drugs or prostitute their bodies for money. I think about the half-dressed teens on rap videos who compromise their morals for fortune and fame. In addition, I think about young people around the world who are forced to work in sweatshops or who have been recruited into guerilla warfare or the sex trade. My heart goes out to them because I know they don’t have to live like that.
These are examples of young people who have been exploited. Exploited means,- “to be used in a selfish or unethical way.”
A Serious Problem
Organizations often prey on young people because they know they can take advantage of them. For example, young ladies who want to break into the entertainment industry have been pressured to reveal their bodies so they can “make” it in the business. Unfortunately, sex sells, and directors and producers will exploit women to meet the bottom line. Most of the young women who give in to the pressure are stripped of their morals and, ultimately, their self-esteem.
On an international level, there are young people who are forced into drug trafficking or who have been recruited to fight in guerilla wars. Bogotá, Columbia, is an example of this. According to a report by the Human Rights Watch, an independent, nongovernmental organization, over 11,000 young people have been recruited to fight in illegal armed groups. One in four of the combatants are under the age of 18 and among these, several thousand are under the age of 15. Due to the level of poverty in the country and the financial opportunity afforded to guerillas, children and teens are easily recruited to fight against their government. Many never live beyond their teenage years.
Stop, No More!
It’s up to you to take a stand for your generation. If you are born again, you have the power of God inside of you. You should pray for your peers in the U.S. as well as those in other countries. If you feel that others are taking advantage of you, pray for their deliverance and trust that God will provide a way of escape for you.
The Word of God says that we have been created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). Satan hates that image and will use subtle methods of exploitation to trick you into choosing between fame and money or morals. Ecclesiastes 2:26 (NIV) says, “To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness….” Whenever you are presented with an opportunity that requires you to go against your Christian beliefs, make a decision to please God, and He will give you the wisdom and the connections to accomplish your dreams.
Psalm 1:6 says, “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” If you have been seduced into selling drugs or trading your body for financial gain, quit now! Stop allowing others to influence or take advantage of you. God has a plan and a purpose for your life that does not require you to lower your self-esteem or prove anything to other people.
Your life is worth more than fifteen minutes of fame or a one-time offer to be in the “in” crowd. God can give you everything you need to be successful without being exploited. When your heart is right before Him, He can orchestrate situations and events that will bring you into the company of people who can lead you down the path to success. He will also give you all you need to carry out His will for your life (Hebrews 13:21).
Isaiah 49:25 states, “The Lord says even the captives of the most mighty and most terrible shall be freed (The Living Bible: Paraphrased [Kenneth Taylor]), I myself will fight with those who fight you…” (Jerusalem Bible). The Lord will come to your rescue if you call on Him and trust in His ability (Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 91). We know that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21). As you speak the Word of God over your life, you will see it come to pass. I encourage you to take time to read Psalm 91 to learn more about God’s great protection plan. Make it a point to memorize and confess it over your life daily.
Don’t ever forget that God is on your side. The Lord will see to it that those who rise up against you will be defeated. They may come at you from one direction, but will flee from you in seven different ways (Deuteronomy 28:7)!