Addictions…the scourge of American culture, and the most frequent means by which we escape reality. Most of us have known, or know someone who is either in the depths of addiction, or who have gained some semblance of “sobriety”.
“Sobriety” simply means that the person hasn’t “fallen” recently, whether it is sobriety from alcohol, drugs, or sexual acting-out. While most will settle for “sobriety”, shouldn’t they really want true FREEDOM? What if their addictive behavior no longer had any appeal at all…that they could be truly FREE of it?
Smith and Wilson did a great work when they formulated the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous(AA). Many other groups have sprung up using the twelve steps, including Narcotics Anonymous(NA), Sexaholics Anonymous(SA) and Sex Addicts Anonymous(SAA), as well as other similar programs. While all these groups do good work, are they really leading their members to FREEDOM, or are they really “dry-drunks”?
Note that this essay is NOT intended to bash or denigrate the good work they are doing, but to point out that true FREEDOM IS available in Christ, and that FREEDOM must come from the true Source of FREEDOM…THRUTH, as found in God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Jesus said: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you FREE!” (John 8:32)
Sexual-addiction is the scourge of the church. Sexual addiction derails more Christian leaders than all other causes combined, because it is Satan’s favorite tool for destroying Christian men. The sad thing is that our churches foster an environment where sexual addiction not only can, but does thrive. Maybe that indictment sounds harsh, but please hear me out. I know, because I have been there, done that, got the T-shirt…
The church has an unholy-alliance with the pornography industry, and as long as the church treats our bodies with disdain, and sex as taboo, it will continue to help the pornography industry thrive and create generations of sex and porn addicts. (See “Sex…Holy-pursuit…or Guilty-pleasure?”)
Rev. David Hatton, RN asked this question in one of his essays; “How can American Christians not fall into porn problems, when they’ve sat for years under preaching that paints a pornographic image of the body on the video screens of their minds?”
The wrong approach…
The twelve-step program says: “Attend meetings, work the steps, call your sponsor, and be accountable.” The church says: “Go to church, read your Bible, pray for deliverance, don’t look, think “holy-thoughts”.” Then the church tells women: “Dress “modestly”. Don’t wear short skirts. Make sure you aren’t showing any cleavage. Act like a “lady”. Don’t “tempt” the men.”
What do all of these things have in common? They are all about “doing”, as if “doing” is going to make sexual-addiction go away. They are all “self” centered. If women don’t dress “modestly-enough”, then the church may blame THEM for men falling.
Regardless of how well a person does all these things, they will never know true freedom, because freedom doesn’t come by doing. It never has, and it never will. They may get some “sobriety”, but what they are really doing is trading one form of slavery for another one, the slavery to “doing”.
When we read the story of David and Bathsheba, we may come away with the notion that Bathsheba “tempted” David by bathing where he could see her (1 Samuel 11). However, God didn’t send the prophet Nathan to Bathsheba. God sent Nathan to David…the man who committed that grievous sin of committing adultery with Bathsheba, and then covered it up with murder. The penalty for that sin was that the child they had conceived together died, and David’s household would not know peace as long as he lived. After David confessed his sin, God blessed them with Solomon. David fell…HARD. David had a “heart” problem. He violated God’s laws against committing adultery and coveting his neighbor’s wife. David had LUSTED…
Sexual and pornography addictions are an epidemic…even in the church. Faulty teaching doesn’t produce “right” behavior.
We sexualize those body-parts which we compulsively cover. Yes, you read that statement right. We sexualize those body-parts which we compulsively cover. Is it any wonder that some men describe themselves as “breast–men”, or “butt–men”, or “leg–men”? If the only time a man sees one of those beautiful parts of a woman is for sex, and no other time, they become sexual, even if they aren’t. By compulsively-covering those body-parts, men gain a special attraction to them. Is it any wonder?
How bad is the problem? Several years ago, a dear friend of mine was caught with porn on his computer in his office – in a church. He was the minister of music for a large, conservative Presbyterian church, which also had a Christian school. Since he both worked in the church and taught music in the school, he had an office in the church. I was present during the service when it was announced that he was leaving the church and why. While I do not for a moment condone what he was doing, I was seriously disturbed by what happened after that service. Most of the congregation seemed to be in an even-greater hurry to leave the sanctuary than usual. Very few stuck around to bid him “good-bye”, and that was only those closest to him. I had sung in the choir under him, so I considered him a good friend. I did stick around to bid him “good-bye”, but I didn’t hear anyone expressing any degree of understanding or compassion. It was just “good-bye”… I did understand…and I told him so. We loved each other well. It should have taken several hours for everyone to get through the line to see him, but it didn’t…
How many people leaving that service were shaking their heads in disbelief? How many were saying to themselves…and even others…”How could he DO a thing like that?”, or “How DARE he do a thing like that?”? Where was the love? How many were even saying “I would NEVER do a thing like that”? Where was the compassion? It seems to me that pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness is an even bigger problem. Along with love and compassion, the most appropriate response should have been “There, but for the grace of God go I”. How many other men…and women…were fellow-strugglers?
Is there a “solution”?
Yes, there IS a solution…TRUTH. I am not going to present the solution here, because takes many long articles to present the whole solution, but I am excited to be able to point you in the right direction. A group of four pastors…yes…PASTORS, who have all struggled with sexual and porn addictions, have put together an excellent website, including telling their stories, detailing HOW they have become free from this bondage. It is called “My Chains Are Gone”(MCAG)…and the web address is mychainsaregone.org.
If you are still struggling with this, as I did for close to forty years, PLEASE open your heart to the MCAG message. “You shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall set you FREE!” (John 8:32) It is real, and there IS real freedom, through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Dear Loving and Gracious Heavenly Father,
I beseech You on behalf of Your children who are still struggling with sexual and porn addictions, that they may come to understand the TRUTH of Your Holy Word, and be enabled by the POWER of Your Holy Spirit to become FREE from this bondage. Break the chains of their bondage, and lead them to true freedom.
I beseech you Lord Jesus on behalf of Your church, which has fallen into error, by the wiles of the evil one, that Your church may also discover the TRUTH of Your Holy Word, repent of their error, and be enabled by the power of Your Holy Spirit to begin boldly proclaiming the TRUTH of Your Holy Word, so that many may see that You are turning the tide of this epidemic, and that Your church will once again become salt and light in this world…Your kingdom.