Last week, Ken and I went out of town for a little getaway. While Ken was running an errand, a man knocked on the door of our hotel room. I looked through the peephole, and saw that he had a red sweater on, which to me, symbolized ’employee’, so I turned the knob.

But the man was not a hotel employee. Through my cracked door, he asked cheerfully, “Are you affordable?”

I looked at him blankly for a moment before the implication of his question registered. Was I affordable?

“NO!”  I spewed the word with all the disgust I could muster. I could see a flicker of surprise on his face as the door slammed shut between us.

Fortified behind my locked hotel room door, I began pacing around the room. Had this just happened? Had a man just asked me if I was affordable? 

Fuming, I ranted aloud to the man, as I paced. “Am I affordable? Well I suppose that depends on a few things. Are you prepared to support me for the rest of my life–both financially, emotionally, and spiritually? And what about my three kids? Can you be available for their games, their bedtime routines, their tears, and their struggles? What about their college tuition? And are you ready to be the one I call every time I’m angry, upset, sad, or depressed? Are you willing to bail me out when I crash the car or overspend on my credit card? Will you be the kind of wise, reliable, godly friend that I can trust without reservation? Are you planning to love me, and only me, for the rest of my life?

“Because the man who shares a hotel room with me better be prepared to handle all of that.”

Am I affordable? My husband thinks I am, but it will take all he’s got. And since I’ve given him all that I’ve got, it works out well. That’s what sharing a bed is supposed to be about–giving all that you are and nothing less!

No, I’m not affordable. No one is–not outside of marriage. To suggest that you can rent someone by the hour drastically cheapens them and diminishes the dignity they deserve.

Even having someone ask me if I was affordable was outrageously offensive. How dare he.

But mixed with my indignation was something else that surprised me. After he left my door, I felt strangely ashamed. I didn’t want to tell anyone. As if I had done something wrong. Obviously, this blog post shows that I’ve come to my senses, but the experience gave me new compassion for people who don’t know to slam the door–women who are conditioned to think of themselves as void of dignity. This tiny glimpse through the peephole into their world gave me a new heaviness about the mountains of shame they live under.

Men and women deserve dignity. They have souls. They are not objects to be rented. How can we help them see this?

I think it begins with slamming the door when necessary, but it doesn’t end there. Jesus reached out to the woman caught in adultery with compassion. He made a way for her to go and sin no more. And this is what we, as his ‘hands and feet’, must do as well.

Have you found ways to do this in your community? What more can you do today?

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