I Am Stumped

For years I have heard the stories from countless men how they are able to refrain from sexual sin only to repeatedly experience failures.  The time of success with the eventual trip-up becomes a way of life for them.  They truly desire to live a life of continuous integrity, but eventually develop a conclusion that, “this is just how life is for a man.”   Because they do everything in their power, including calling on God’s power, yet experience repeated failures the belief that true freedom is not really possible creeps into their psyche and their efforts are sabotaged.

We try to make peace with the tension among our best effort, what God desires for us, and the cycle of our life.  We make peace by developing a false-belief which is more of a coping mechanism to deal with the tension in our hearts.  I want to suggest that the problem here is that we have not correctly identified the real issue–the root cause.

We identify the behavior as the problem.  We say the adultery, the use of pornography, participation in voyeurism, etc. is the problem.  Yes these behaviors are problems but they are not “the” problem.  They are symptoms to a deeper issue and until the root cause is treated, the symptoms are going to flare-up from time to time.  They may even flare-up in different ways, but the root cause will be the same.

Behaviors under the umbrella of sexual sin are many times treated as the sickness rather than the symptom of a deeper issue.   Because most of us only address the symptoms, true and lasting change rarely occurs.  This is why one may not experience any symptoms for weeks, months, even years but the core issue is lying dormant while we do everything we can to control the symptoms, only to eventually experience a flare up.

Why do we focus only on the symptoms?

Focusing on the symptoms is easier and less threatening than focusing on the root causes.  One sees the symptom of the use of pornography; so he says, “don’t use pornography.”  The work is done quick and easy, until one uses pornography.

Focusing on the root cause takes time; it takes work; and it may even require some help.

I suggest that the root causes of sexual sin originate from one or more of the following three areas:

  • Physical
  • Emotional (Psychological)
  • Spiritual

Join me as we explore the root causes of the behaviors of sexual sin.

I Have No Name!

Adulterer!  Sex addict!  Pornographer!  Abuser!

  • Do you feel like people have forgotten your name?
  •  When others look at you, they don’t see a person; rather, they see an issue?
  • Worse yet, have you forgotten your name?
  • Do you think of yourself only in the terms of your issue?

You’ve tried to overcome your issue with the help of well intentioned friends, self-help books, counseling, support groups, even Church but nothing has helped remove your issue.

You have lived with the issue for so long that in some way you have lost your identity and now identify with your issue.  You can’t even imagine yourself without it.  You and your issue are so intertwined that now you ARE your issue.  

You have no hope of ever being free from it.

In this series we are going to learn from the story of a woman also only known by her issue; she is known as “the woman with the issue of blood.” 

 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. (Mark 5: 25-26)

This woman suffered from a menstrual hemorrhage that had been occurring for twelve years.   In her culture, when a woman menstruated she would have to remove herself from her family and the community, by staying in a house outside of town until her menstruation stopped–Her issue isolated her from everyone.

Every seven days the priest would come to her and if she could, she would show him her clean rag (pad or tampon).  If she could not provide proof that the bleeding had stopped, the priest would announce her as being “unclean.”  The Priests announcement of her issue was declared over 624 times—the embarrassment of her issue was repeatedly made public for 12 years.

At her expense, she had participated with every known and many painful experimental medical procedures to be healed of her issue—her issue cost her all of her money.

Repeatedly she would buy into a new hope only to be let down with greater and greater disappointment, not just with the failure of being healed but by her issue being made worse—her issue gradually became worse.

Can you relate?

  • Has your issue isolated you from your family, friends, or church community?
  • Have you been embarrassed by the public awareness of your issue?
  • Has your issue caused you severe financial cost?
  • Have you lost all hope, afraid to hope in anything else because you just can’t stand another disappointment?

It is my hope that by the end of this series, you will find new hope, you will find the cure for your issue, and you will no longer be known by your issue but by your name and your faith.