When I was in elementary school and someone got into trouble on the playground, we (yes we) would have to stand along a wall until the end of recess and wait till everyone passed us as they went into the building. As the students would pass they would point their fingers at us and say “shame, shame, shame.”
Some time ago a certain group of people discovered my involvement as the leader of Clean Heart for Men via an unintentional recruitment effort by Facebook. From their perception they saw a man who went to a “sex” group, so therefore there was a danger of him molesting children. When this first was brought to my attention, the way I received it caused me to feel certain feelings of shame.
Interestingly enough from the world’s view, I would be considered a “goody two shoes” or whatever other current saying meaning the same thing. I have never been drunk, never been high, never been arrested, and the only person I have had sex with in my life has been my wife, and I have never committed adultery on her. I believe myself to be a man of integrity in all areas of my life (except when I have occasionally cheated with a tastykake). Though Christ raises the standard, so I am not sinless.
Regardless of the reality of my life, I still felt a bit of shame that was brought on me by the reaction I received and was told that “perception is reality.” Well, in certain circles that may be true, but in this case it is not.
So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him (v. 8 )
God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. (v. 11-12)
May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. (v. 16)
Paul was preaching about Christ and he was taken to court for preaching about Jesus Christ. All of his friends deserted him and the people of the court treated him as if he was doing something wrong, and a man not to be trusted, so they put him in prison. I think the initial feelings of shame came upon him, but he knew what God had called him to do and he knew regardless of the popular opinion; there was no shame in what he was doing.
Now my situation is nothing like Paul’s and I will not have the same cost he did; however, there may be a cost to this before it is all done. But I know God has given me a bold personality, he has provided me with the necessary training, and spiritual maturity to lead such a group, and He is the one who created Clean Heart.
The idea for Clean Heart came about when Pastor Don Verdell expressed a desire to our Faith-Based Counseling team of wanting to do something specific to help men who desire sexual integrity. God spoke to my heart and after talking with my wife, and with Pastor Don, I took on the leadership of this group.
And I know he has called me into this work. Perception is not always reality and sometimes God calls people to take a stand to change perception and to help those who are alone in their struggle.
There is nothing shameful about a man wanting to live with sexual integrity. There is nothing shameful about a man wanting to help other men live lives of sexual integrity. And though, as the years go by, some may have a false perception of me and my efforts, I am not ashamed to be, to stand for, and to help other men become “Men of God with Sexual Integrity.”