Two-time Grammy Award-winning band for KING & COUNTRY are gearing up for the release of their upcoming dramatic thriller "Priceless," which delves into the dark world of human trafficking. While promoting the film, one half of the duo, Luke Smallbone, offered spiritual and practical advice for men and women on the importance of chivalry.
Inspired by real life events, "Priceless" is a powerful story about James Stevens (Joel Smallbone) who at one time was a good man with a great life, but has since drastically changed. Following the tragic death of his wife and losing custody of his daughter, James finds himself at the darkest crossroad of his life. Angry, desperate, and unable to hold down a steady job, he agrees to drive a box truck on a one-time trip cross country for cash — no questions asked. But when he discovers what he's delivering, he's faced with a life-changing decision.
This unlikely hero must risk it all, confront the forces that oppose him, and ultimately discover the life he was meant to live.
Since the beginning of their careers, Joel and Luke have been advocates for women and the importance of chivalry.
"The whole idea really started seven or eight years ago, Joel and I really weren't doing much with music. Our older sister was an artist, Rebecca St. James, and she was doing these mother and daughter conferences. She asked us, 'Hey, why don't you come out and do a couple of songs at these conferences," Luke said in an interview with The Christian Post.
During those conferences, Smallbone said he and Joel experienced the most incredible times. He said their mother told them that they really had a responsibility to speak from the heart to women and talk about things from a man's perspective. It was that advice that has stuck with them up until now.
"We started to say to these women, 'Culture says to act and dress like you're cheap. But we say that there's a God who says that you're priceless.' We started playing events that guys were at too and we started saying to guys, 'It's time for us to stand out and step up — in our relationships, in our families, in our workplaces, and be men of Integrity and respect and honor," he said.
"Honestly, I'll be the first to say early on before radio had kicked in or anything, this was much more significant than the music. People would say, 'Hey, that was a great show but that speech that you talked about in the middle there, that really impacted me.
"So as our platform increased we got to tell more people about it. And that is the heartbeat behind why we wrote a book, and why we're working on a movie and all these different things," Luke added.
Both the book and movie "Priceless" highlight stories of people involved in sex trafficking — predators and victims.
In a message to people who've been involved in the human trafficking industry and want to be forgiven but are struggling with guilt and shame, Luke said:
"That's the majesticness of the hope that we find ourselves with. A lot of times people feel like we have to be good to come to Jesus, we have to have everything in order and we need to have a good life before we can feel like we need to come to Jesus. That to me obviously is a lie from the devil, but also that's what makes Jesus so amazing. He says, 'Look, I love you so much I've created you to be just the person that you are — the way that you look, the talents that I've given you. I gave nobody else that, I gave that just to you.' And that, to me, is so comforting. When you know that that's the heart of God, I think it's an unbelievable thing."
He again stressed that although someone might have made some horrible mistakes, once surrendered to Jesus they would realize that God has placed certain desires in their heart for a reason.
"Most of the time, especially with girls, we have a struggle with our identity and who we really truly are, and that's why we go out and try to find that in a person. I know that even in a great marriage with my wife, I can't deliver everything that she's hoping for in Jesus. The same goes for every girl who's looking to be fulfilled by a man, that's something that's a lie, it's not even real. For us to know who we are in God, for one, we become such a powerful individual because it doesn't matter what other people think of us it matters purely in our relationship and what we have in God and that gives me so much confidence," Luke continued.
"I think for the dudes, the dudes I'm going to be a little bit harder on. We are the root of the struggles. I don't ever want to be somebody that says, 'Hey, the girls will shape up and then the guys will follow.' No! It's the other way around, the guys are the ones that have the perverted minds that are creating some of these issues that we have today.
"The breakdown of the family, for the most part, is starting with them. If men were treating women as they deserve to be treated with chivalry and honor we wouldn't have a lot of the social issues that we have here. We wouldn't be watching the films that we're watching, we wouldn't be reading the internet articles that were reading, we wouldn't be looking at things on the internet because we're purifying our hearts."
The Australian native counsel for men who have messed up in the past is that "there's a second chance."
"The second half of somebody's day, the second half of somebody's year, the second half of somebody's life can be so much more rewarding if you just ask for forgiveness and repentance," Luke assured.
Both Smallbone brothers are married men and strive to treat their wives with the utmost respect. When asked what practical advice they can offer to young men to help them stay on the straight and narrow, Smallbone said accountability is a major factor.
"You gotta have people in your life who [keep you] accountable, that's part of the reason I think church is such a wonderful thing. It isn't perfect but it's such a wonderful thing because there's accountability day in and day out if you allow it. There's nothing like willingly going to a church service and hearing a pastor preach and talk about the struggles that you might have. What that does is remind us day in and day out of how we should live," the husband and father noted.
Smallbone went a step further and spoke about how he avoids temptation, which he says is so easily provoked in this day and age.
"You've got to do your best to protect your eyes. One of the things we always talk about is, we can't control everything that is seen out there but you can always control the second look.
"That's the thing, once you see something that obviously is not right you move on by and you don't return because it is everywhere. We can control what we see the second time because we know where it is and we know where not to go. It's when you revisit, I think that's when it's real dangerous," he asserted. "That's when it becomes a real issue and you have to get with a group of people that can call you out and talk to you about these things.
"But also, when you're opening up your heart to what God can do in your life you will be convicted of these things. But if you're not opening up your heart to those things then you're probably not going to be as convicted to these things because you're not allowing Him to do the work in your life. This way when you actually see something that's wrong you won't become numb to it."
The "Fix My Eyes" singer shared that his father instilled these values in him and his four brothers when they were growing up. From as early as 6 or 7 years old he remembers opening up the door for his mother. He accredits simple acts such as the aforementioned to continually reshaping the condition of ones heart.
"It starts at home, it starts at your workplace, it's elementary behavior that actually showcases your respect for people and how you treat a lady. When you're at home the way that you treat your spouse when you're exhausted, the way you treat your mother when you had an awful day, the way that you treat your sister when you don't get your way, those are the things that are indicative of your heart. And honestly, those are the simplest ways to practice chivalry. 'You know what, I'm going to open up that door for my mom, why not?' It's not weird to do that," he said.
For more information about the movie "Priceless," which will be in theaters nationwide on Oct. 14, or where you can purchase the book, which is now available, click here.