It seems obvious, but I have never suggested it: if a man has been with a prostitute, it is right for him to ask her forgiveness. Consider this story.

Sex dominated this man’s life. He paid to get into nightclubs where he could meet women, and he paid to be with prostitutes. When he wasn’t strategizing how to have sex, he paid for pornography.

How God gets our attention is a mystery, but he got this man’s attention. A relationship with a gentle, local pastor was one of the means.

With his eyes now opened, this man genuinely wanted to grow. He pulled away from his old lifestyle, though he was occasionally pulled back. All the while, he was open with his pastor and continued the battle. Then, two years after he was spiritually rescued, he had sex with a prostitute. When he told his pastor, one part of the pastor’s counsel was to ask the prostitute’s forgiveness. The pastor suggested that he write a letter, take someone with him, and deliver it to the woman.

The man was stunned. He never heard of such a thing. He certainly couldn’t imagine doing such a thing. For the first time, he told the pastor that he couldn’t follow his counsel, and that seemed to be his final word.

His final word lasted only about an hour. By then he began to see that this was the way to live in the kingdom of Christ. He quickly wrote a letter to her and was ready to deliver it.

There was one small complication. The prostitute was from another country and the letter, if it were to make any sense to her, had to be in her language. So he solicited the help of a man in the congregation who knew that language. In other words, he was willing to go more public with what he did. Though his shame was screaming to stay hidden, he had the letter translated. The next day, first thing, he sought her out.

When he greeted her, he offered a very simple explanation of why he was there and gave her the letter. In it, he had written that the Spirit of God had convicted him, Jesus had forgiven him, but his actions had hurt her too so he wanted to ask her forgiveness.

She read the letter carefully. By the time she was done, a tear was already falling from her face.

She looked up and said, “I forgive you.”

He thanked her.

And she responded, “No, thank you.”