Acts 16:16:
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying
Acts 16:19:
And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers
Acts 16:20:
And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city.

I begin this column by asserting that just because something has always existed does not justify its existence, and furthermore it does not justify permitting it to go on unchecked and unchallenged.

In our text, the young girl was being used or prostituted for the gain or good of others.

She was selling her soul in the form of divination. There was an unnatural spirit that spoke to her own spirit, and she relayed that information for a price.

She was obviously good at what she did because she made her masters a lot of money.

Isn’t it something that the gain of money will somehow justify the abuse of young people.

What a shame that adults were more focused on the economics of the situation rather than the soul of that girl.

Someone’s daughter was being used and it was not dealt with by the ‘powers that be’ of the day.

Let me add here, that just because abuse of that girl (and I am sure many others) was taking place, does not mean it should be allowed to continue.

In Bermuda we must begin to look beyond the symptoms of what is going on and deal with the root causes of why.

It cannot be that the hopes and dreams of young people are to be pimped or used by older folks to make them money, while their own bodies and/or psychological wellbeing is placed at monumental risk.

I believe that while there is temporary gain, there is no permanent hope and joy derived from a young person being used to make an older person rich.

The young damsel or girl in our text was doing financially well for someone else. Her talent was for the benefit of others.

Those who had been around for some time were exploiting her youthful ways.

She had a gift, but was naïve, and therefore she fell prey to the predators of her day.

Let’s examine a few interesting points gleaned from this passage.

The money she made was primarily for others. She was a slave to the decisions that older persons had placed upon her. She was not her own. She was property.

She was good at what she did. An unholy spirit gave the damsel insight, which is why it was evil.

When she met up with real men who operated by a holy spirit, she followed them. This young damsel was looking for truth.

Lies, deceit, and being pimped may seem good now, but eventually they will look for truth.

When given the opportunity, even in her messed-up state, she went after the truth. The moment you seek truth, God will supply truth.

Paul did not degrade the damsel. She was already suffering in bondage. Instead, Paul spoke to the spirit that had control over her.

Paul spoke in the name of Jesus. There is only one name that can set the captives free, and that name is Jesus.

The damsel was set free; she was no longer in bondage.

You would think that exposing evil and bringing freedom to the young girl would be a good thing. Well, no. The liberating work of Jesus, through His servant, Paul, disturbed the economy of that city.

They were used to using that girl for financial gain and now she was delivered.

The damsel would no longer operate by evil spirits; she was clean. Again, you would think this would bring joy to the city.

Unfortunately, that day and today are not that different at all.

There were leaders in her day who were vexed that their personal wealth was affected because the girl was free.

Hence, they turned on Paul and Silas. Interesting. By doing a good work and a God work, Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten and thrown in jail.

It will never be an easy thing to speak forth truth in an ever increasingly evil world.

Sadly, those who speak truth will be seen as troublemakers and many will condemn their good work.

This being said and this being true, I will walk alongside of every Paul and Silas of today.

Why? Because there’s a young boy and a young girl who really are not enjoying being used by older men and women. They really do want to go a better way. They really do want to live a life that all can be proud of.

When you see things wrong in Bermuda, you cannot say that it has always been this way and believe that it will make the future better and brighter for our children.

No. You cannot joy in the abuse of another. It is parasitic at the least.

Bermuda, you are better than that. You must step up and speak out. Wrong is wrong. Wrong centuries ago, and it is wrong now. Let’s help our youth become free.

Dr Maria A Seaman is pastor of Shekinah Worship Centre, Hamilton Parish.