Struggling with Sexual Brokenness (Part 2)

The following blogs titled “Struggling With Sexual Brokenness” are a series of posts on dealing with sexual brokenness as it relates to identity, sexuality, spiritual growth and disciplines and healing. 

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Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

15-year-old Timothy decided to began the fight against his struggles through prayer.

Timothy would often pray and ask the Lord to take away the feelings and desires He had, but, it seemed as though those prayers were never being answered. But, he was persistent in praying for other matters in his life. He also was learning overtime that he would have to trust God even though the prayers he was praying were not being answered in the time or way he was hoping.

Prayer as well as time and connection with God is very key in dealing with brokenness of anytime. But, it is also key in living a Christ-centered lifestyle daily, regardless of issues or circumstances.

One of the things I as I dealt with sexual brokenness of my own is that you have to get to know who God really is and who He says you are, especially who you are to Him!

  1. Know God
  2. Know His Son
  3. Know Who You Are In Christ

Know that the Lord finds you valuable and worth sending His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you. Know that the Lord finds you valuable and worth not leaving you nor forsaking you. Know that the Lord wants you to connect with Him in the times that you’re doing awesome, the times you’re anxious and filled with trouble and that He wants to set you free from anything and everything that tries to separate you from Him.

This will take consistent time of Prayer and Bible Study! It takes praying over, repenting, asking the Lord forgiveness, and letting go of some really heavy stuff that has tried to weigh you down over the years. We’ll deal with this aspect of it all later in the blogs because this is a heavy area for some, especially as it relates to sexual brokenness and the bitterness, anger, frustration and confusion it brings. The deeper we go there, the more likely you’ll feel raw emotions and feelings, of which, you can absolutely trust Christ with it. He already knows!

As you let go of and walk in who God says you are through Christ Jesus, begin replacing the things that you think you are and that has been repeating in your heart and mind for years with the truth of God’s Word and with the positive, healthy and good things that God has given you, shown you and made you.

I once drew a chart and wrote: replace these lies on one side with these truths on the other:

graph - lies vs truth.jpg

Psalm 17:8 (NKJV) says this:

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings

After about two to three years in my journey through dealing with my sexual brokenness, the Lord spoke to me that I was “the apple of His eye.” I thought I had made it up.

“Just look it up!” the Lord spoke to me. And it was as clear as day in His Word! To this day, I am reminded of how much I deeply needed Him, how skeptical and cynical at that time I was and how hurt I was.

I needed His love. I needed His life. I needed to know that He loved me … not for what I could do or ever do or have done or because I loved him … He beat me to it. He loved me first and loved me enough to keep speaking to me, to keep hearing me, to forgive me, to see about me and to grow me in Him and His son, Jesus.

Struggling with Sexual Brokenness (Part 1)

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Photo by Asaf R on Unsplash

The following blogs titled “Struggling With Sexual Brokenness” are a series of posts on dealing with sexual brokenness as it relates to identity, sexuality, spiritual growth and disciplines and healing. 

Timothy is a 15-year-old young man. He’s your average teen whose trying to do his best to make good choices and live a life that is both Christ-centered and God honoring.

But, he’s struggling with a host of sins in his life that many do not know about.

He’s struggling with pornography, masturbation and he’s dealing with same-sex attraction. He feels completely embarrassed, ashamed and shut down. He feels like no one could ever hope to even know or understand him. His life on the inside feels like complete chaos to the point of confusion and depression and anxiety.

Timothy would speak to his dad about it, but feels completely afraid of doing so. Timothy has already imagined in his mind that his father would either look down on him and make him feel worse or embarrass him.

In the culture that we are in now, it is not too difficult to fall into the addictive sin and lifestyle of pornography, fornication, masturbation, homosexuality and so on.

But, there is hope.

One of the things I’m finding out about sexual brokenness is that it is not as simple as just wanting to find sexual release. A lot of our sexual brokenness is an attempt to make ourselves numb to something…to escape the reality of what we feel is a miserable and insignificant life.

But, how did Timothy get there. How did any of us dealing with these issues get there.

For some, it was because we stumbled upon it online or in magazines or on TV or movies. Also, for some and others, it was a mixture of that as well as abuse and/or exploration.

Typically, the devil will try and take what you’ve been dealing with and make you feel like you’re the most disgusting, most repulsive and most insignificant human being God ever created. But, that’s hardly the truth of what the Lord thinks of you.

As a boy at about age 13, the enemy enticed me with the use of pornography, using it online to view it off and on throughout my teens and part of my adult years, and it took many years to break free from the addiction.

It was used to promote the thoughts I had about myself…the negative mindset that was not at all Christ-like such as the following:

I’m not like these guys…I could never be loved…I could never have a genuine relationship with someone who loves me as I am…I’ll never get to experience sex in the way that God designed it and intended and so pornography and masturbation is the best I can get…

For men struggling with same sex attraction and/or homosexuality the messaging is about the same. We’ll get more into detail on this.

God loves us…so much so, that he sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross. He took the place that we should’ve taken for our sins. He took the ultimate punishment and paid the debt in full.

But, to live in that reality of freedom and hope and love, we have to do a few things in our walk with Christ. Believe it or not, Jesus DOES want to deal with the deeper issues that are inside of you, even the things that seem small and insignificant.

Trust the Lord with the real you…the you you’ve been hiding…the you you’ve been struggling with….the you that has been drowning under the practices of sin and secrets.

Psalm 34:18 (NKJV) says this:

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit (or are crushed in spirit).

Isaiah 61:7 (NKJV) says this:

Instead of your shame you shall have double honor,
And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion.
Therefore in their land they shall possess double;
Everlasting joy shall be theirs.

There’s a host of things that got Timothy and many of us to the place where sexual brokenness was a reality for our lives. Over the years, I learned that for me some of the stuff that happened to me in my childhood, the things I thought about myself, the bullying, feeling different and everything I experienced, required both counseling, connecting with other brothers in Christ, Bible study and prayer.

The 33-Year-Old Boy

During May 2017 on a late Summer Thursday evening, I returned home to my apartment after celebrating the fact I finally finished my Master’s degree.

The silence of my apartment allowed me the opportunity to let my mind relax and enjoy peace and quiet without the rush of getting homework done.

I was happy. I was relaxed. I was prepared to sit back in my recliner and do some journaling.

Everything was lining up. I just earned my Master’s in Christian Ministry, I was engaged to my fiancé and things were really looking up.

But, something was out of sorts with me late that evening. A familiar feeling began to rise up. I felt a bit embarrassed that I was even feeling the way I was feeling.

I felt young. I felt like a little boy.

To talk about this, I sat down with a friend of mine, Joshua, and had breakfast and coffee as we discussed what was going on. I told him that I felt kind of young…about…age 13.

“What makes you feel so young you think?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I responded. “I’m not sure if its just because I feel like I’m free again after working so hard on my graduate degree. Or maybe I just feel like I can have fun again!”

“Explore what that’s about?” Joshua suggested.

I did.

I spent time in prayer, seeking the Lord and reviewing scripture. Memories began to flood back…memories from the present and memories from boyhood.

I was reminded of the times that I felt young and unfinished especially when I was around other men. I felt like I was “different” and out of place.

I was then reminded of the times that I was in Elementary and Middle School. I was often bullied and hardly ever connected with other boys my age growing up. I felt completely different and completely unlike other boys.

I wasn’t into sports. I wasn’t into a lot of the pop-culture of the time. I struggled with relating.

The memories were painful.

I was in fights I didn’t want to have.

I was often bullied and picked on.

I often tried avoiding confrontation.

I did everything I could to stay out of trouble.

But, I had to walk through them. And as I did, the Lord talked me through them in what sounded like whispers.

“You’ve been avoiding challenges.”

“Stop seeing yourself as ‘other’ or ‘different.'”

“You’re afraid of getting hurt.”

When I imagined and daydreamed, I envisioned the inner boy, the boy that was the younger me, feeling alone and lost and afraid.

God made it loud and clear. That was still me in so many ways. And He was more than willing to come in and bring the healing and deliverance and development necessary to grow me up.

It all started to make sense. In some ways, I realized that I sort of avoided dealing with my inner pain and issues.

It felt embarrassing. But I could no longer afford to pose and pretend that I was as solid as I could look. Especially when deep down I craved the kind of solid inner-manhood that I thought other guys had compared to me.

The Lord began the process of walking me through breaking agreements made: the idea that I was “different” from other males or unlike other men…and made me realize that I was setting up walls to keep from connecting with men different from me…and showed me that the “different” I’m seeing is uniqueness and that I can grow from the men who are sports fans as much as the men who are into the same things as I am.

Then, asking the Lord to come in and to bring healing to the boy, made a huge difference. I prayed over everything…the school bus incidents, the bullying, the times of humiliation and embarrassment and emasculation that seemed to come from every direction to shout out the message, “you’re not a man and you’ll never be.” 

I also began praying and asking the Lord to grow me up…to help me become the man that He called me to be.

I’m grateful that God used those moments of discomfort and unsettledness to really get my attention. It has caused me to really consider who I am as a man and to consider the Word of God in my day to day living.

 

The journey continues and my hope is that for those of you reading this you’ll join me as well!

In a culture filled with men who don’t know who they are, men who choose to live like boys, men who choose false reality and virtual reality over real challenges and real life situations, it is imperative to be the men that God has called and created us to be!

The Father I Needed

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I’ve unfortunately seen too many scenarios and situations where Father’s have provoked their children to wrath…where Father’s blindly hurt their sons and daughters but wash it over with excuses that sound like Biblical truths of tough love and discipline.

When Father’s do that, they create children who are filled with a sense of bitterness, anxiety, anger, frustration and failure and self-depreciation.

That in of itself is sad and depressing. And, I figured it was time to actually address it.

See, recent events in my own life and with my own relationship with my earthly Father, or dad, has led me to a place where I have had to get even more real with seeing God as my Father, my Heavenly Father.

I’m reminded over and over through scripture and through tangible mental, spiritual and physical experiences that God is a good Father, and He is unlike my earthly Father who is still bound to imperfections and failures as a mere adult male.

It is through my growing relationship with seeing God as Father I have experienced a kind of healing and wholeness that I has been remarkable. I can be more detailed about this experience at a later blog posting.

It is also through the experience of seeing God as Father I learned about the kind of earthly Father I really, really needed growing up…and…that there was nothing wrong with understanding this about myself:

  • A Father that was not distant emotionally.
  • A Father who embraced and celebrated me without me having to “earn” it through accomplishments and by being a “good boy.”
  • A Father who kept constant communication with me and I with them and shared his wisdom.
  • A Father who loved and did not sow feelings of anxiety and fear.

Something really, really cool happened after I started putting all of this together. God started to show me that He was that and more for me where my earthly Father could not be.

God loves me. He loved me and all of us enough to send His son Jesus to die for us and save and cleanse us of all our sins past, present and future.

And the good news is we have a Father that we can go too through Christ Jesus.

The Church & Homosexuality: A Call To Respond In Love

The Introduction

How should the body of Christian believers, the church, respond to a matter that’s only becoming more forefront in our culture?

I argue that the people of God and those who follow His son Jesus Christ should respond to our changing in culture in a spirit of love and should work towards building healthy relationships that are genuine and Biblical.

We should not, as believers, approach people whether its through video, blogs, interviews or on the pulpit with a kind of visceral, ugly sprit and expect people to come to Jesus.

Who accepts a gift from someone forcing it upon them!?

There’s a better way to approach people and issues regarding sin, brokenness and matters of the heart! It’s love…the love of God and the love of Jesus.

What does that look like? I’ll get into that shortly!

 

The Boy With A Secret Sin!

 

Imagine, for a moment, an 12 or 13 year old boy. He has a sensitive heart. He’s not quite like other boys around him who may prefer sports over stories or baseball over books. He loves music, movies, the arts and things that feeds him intellectually and sparks his heart. He’s not very rough and tumble. The boy has, the Living Hope Ministry Director Ricky Chelette has said before, “It is as though they have a giant magnifying glass attached to the lens of their soul (https://livehope.org/resource/connecting-to-the-sensitive-son/).”

The boy feels deeply most things around him.

So, things said to him and things heard or experiences, are deeply felt. For a boy like this, they don’t just “get over it” that easy!

For this young man, it may be difficult to connect and relate to any of the young men around him and depending on the Father or role-models around him, they may or may not quite understand them either. And yet, it’s so key that they do. In fact, the lack of relationship there only helps dig deeper a hole in the heart of that boy.

There’s a deep yearning to be like the other guys: to have the physical features, the strength, the inner resolve of character and somewhere in the midst of loss and disconnect the desires rise.

The boy attends church. He even professes to be a Christian. But he feels like he can tell no one. He may even try to write it off as a phase or as something that will go away. He even wonders if God has already wrote him off and casted judgement on him.

Other men including his Pastor at his church may be speaking Biblical truth about homosexuality. But, he hears very little grace and mercy and a whole lot of hell. He hears more crude jokes and bullying and teasing then he does truth in love!

He hears that He needs Jesus, but, no one has truly spoken of His love for Him so great that it can fill the void in his heart and bring peace where there’s fear.

The boy feels a real reality of hell being his eternity. Rather than faith-filled…he’s fear-filled.

The boy is older and a choice has to be made. He wonders should he follow the world and just give in to his feelings and desires that feel more real than God’s love and the church to him.  Or, maybe, just maybe, the Lord is waiting on the boy to confess and admit his issues and seek the Father whom he so desperately needs.

For a lot of boys who later grew into men with the problem, they choose to follow Jesus in spite of the challenges and the pain and the sweat and the tears. But, they find healing. For so many, they choose to leave the church, feeling that many are fake, hypocritical and unloving.

They are missing out on healthy, wholesome relationships with others and, more importantly, a relationship with Christ.

Firm Preaching with Grace!

Colossians 4:5-6 says “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one (NKJV).

Dr. Warren Wiersbe of the “Wiersbe Bible Commentary” says that our speech should be “controlled by grace, so that it points to Christ and glorifies the Lord.” We should be “speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15)” and our communication must not be corrupt (Eph 4:29).

Followers of Christ should NEVER compromise when it comes to Biblical truth and lifestyle. The Bible is clear with regards to matters like sexual immorality and homosexuality.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NKJV).”

And how might a person present this to someone whose not of the same belief or ideas?

Grace and Christian Living In Real World Scenarios!

Those who are living a lifestyle apart from my own are expecting one of two things, a Christian whose genuine and living for Jesus and that God IS who we say He is to us. Or, they are expecting a Christian whose life is no different than their own.

The gay community at large views many Christians as fake, hateful, hypocritical and worse. Unfortunately, just like most who do not believe in God or Jesus, its to be expected. The world is expected to hate us. But, to make matters worse, many Christians make life choices or approach this population in such a way that it helps to substantiate the claims.

This is sad all around!

After speaking too numerous men and women who have either left the gay lifestyle or been delivered or struggled for years with same-sex attraction, I learned that the common theme to them turning their life over to Christ and changing their lives were people who connected with them on a personal level. In turn, when that grew and Jesus was introduced, big changes took place.

These are people who loved on them AND spoke the truth in love. These were the men and women that they had a healthy, holy relationship with. These were the mentors, the role-models and individuals who challenged them in such a way that it moved them to considering making Jesus their choice.

The people they trusted were the people they talked too about various issues that homosexuality was only symptomatic of…not feeling ‘man enough’ or like one of the guys…feeling alone…depressed…lost…stressed…worthless…the experience with the overbearing mother…experience with the passive or non-existent father…suffering molestation…abuse…and manipulation. Or…just not knowing or feeling loved.

Ever.

The sins in our lives are the result of a need that has not been sufficiently met. How the sin comes up…whether it’s adultery…pornography…drinking…excess eating…the list goes on…varies person to person.

If we are the church that believes that Jesus can fulfill those needs…let’s be the church that speaks that out and lives that out in love…with every person outside of Christ and in our church but secretly struggling.