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:

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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.

4 Things I Learned From Reading “Growth Into Manhood: Resuming The Journey”

 

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading and re-reading the book “Growth Into Manhood: Resuming the Journey,” by Alan Medinger.

The reading has been both informative and challenging as it relates to Biblical Manhood. I’ve spent a lot of time reading the writings of John Eldredge, but Alam Medinger has turned out to be a good and healthy change of pace.

Medinger speaks to men who have become men physically but are still in so many ways behaving like boys. But, he also addresses men who are attempting to leave or who have left homosexuality and same-sex attraction in an attempt to embrace their God-given masculinity.

After reading the book, I’ve been able to pull 4 things from the book that has really challenged me and helped me in my own walk into Biblical Manhood:

1. “STOP Believing ‘I’m Not Like Other Guys.'”

I learned that what I needed to stop believing was that I was “other” or “different.” While yes, I was unique, as the Lord made me. But, that didn’t mean that I was not capable of becoming the man that God called me to be. And, it certainly didn’t mean that I was not like the guys.

…he felt different from other boys, and different always translated as “less than” or “inferior to.” These feelings continued through the teen years and into adulthood. Even today, in the company of other men, he feels that somehow he is not a part of their world.

Medinger, Alan. Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey (p. 14). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In fact, my wife has consistently reminded me and encouraged me in more than one way, both seriously and comedically, that I’m definitely like her Father and her uncles.

I’m unique and so is my Father-In-Law and others on my wife’s side. But, like a lot of guys, I display a certain level of masculinity and even at times a kind of fun-loving and healthy “boyishness” that comes out at proper times.

But, growing up, I thought otherwise.

When I was a boy, I always felt “different.” I didn’t really care for sports and I was more interested in things like books, art and music. My personal interests and obsessions featured Meteorology and Nuclear Science.

I was often bullied and teased for the way I dressed, the way I talked and the way I acted. It also didn’t help that I was attending Special Ed courses for my less than perfect background in math and reading.

Over and over, various experiences in my boyhood kept affirming the LIE that I was “not like other guys.”

So, I isolated myself…my comic books, video games, cartoons, anime and current events and music and books kept me company.

And, I would continue stating what felt like the truth about myself:
“I don’t do what other guys do” or “that’s not my thing.” I found myself avoiding attempts at trying sports and the times I did try it wasn’t too heartfelt due to lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

So, what would’ve and could’ve been healthy, masculine experiences with opportunities to test my manhood and grow were often missed…sometimes due to lack of mentoring and initiation. And other times due to a personal decision to avoid and keep away from the potential of feeling humiliated, embarrassed and shamed.

2. Break Down Barriers Between Yourself and Other Men.

Healthy growth into Biblical Manhood is an effort that does not occur by ones self. It is an effort that involves your daily walk in the Lord, taking in and living out the Word of God and connecting with others. In particular, other men.

Masculinity bestows masculinity, as I’ve heard others say.

 

The Lord convicted me during the reading of Medinger’s book, making me realize that I actually had a wall built up between myself and the men that I “assumed” were not like me and I not like them.

Because they did not have the same, unique, interests, or come from the same situation as I did, I felt as though I could not relate. It didn’t help either that I kept pushing the idea that I was “not like the guys.”

I prayed and broke the walls down in prayer, asking the Lord to forgive me and to help me build healthy and wholesome relationships with other men.

When those walls came falling, those emotional and mental and heart-centered and self-centered walls, I began to realize what I was missing out on in the masculine journey. In fact, I began to realize that I had just as much in common with the men at my church, the men at my job and everywhere else.

3. No Longer Live From the Place Of the Boy. Give The Lord The Boy That’s In You!

When you’re around adult men, you probably as I have before, felt really, really young. Then, the temptation comes to try and be more than who or what you really are.

You pose! You “fake it till you make it.”

This is especially true if you’re around men whom you perceive have it all together and seem to be at the pinnacle of masculinity.

And you, you feel like a little boy. For me, I felt, oh say around, 13 years old…stuck in a place of perpetual adolescence. Which made sense, because the Lord over time was showing me that that period of my life was filled with me realizing some of my gifts but not quite sure in my identity.

For a lot of men, they feel young in some place in their life…totally unprepared…unfinished…not completely mature or grown-up so to speak.

When men live in the place and space of the little boy, they never “put away childish things.” Everything is about them. It is self-preservation and selfishness and self-centeredness.

For men in this scenario, because what was supposed to be affirmed and tested in boyhood was not done so, life’s struggles cause men to fold, shutdown, give up, stay quiet, be passive and surrender.

This is where misinterpretation of life’s challenges and circumstances could take place — and confusion in boyhood comes, perhaps from mental, physical or sexual abuse or even from failures that were without mentoring or affirmation or just fear.

“…he (the boy) will soon be tested, and he will face battles and challenges as a warrior, and those tests and challenges often feel to men like a form of rejection or coldheartedness on the part of God, because he does not first know in his heart of hearts that he is…beloved.”

John Eldredge, Fathered by God, pg. 50

2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us the spirit of fear (or timidity), but of power, love and a sound mind.”

A little boy is comfortable. A little boy avoids responsibility, because responsibility can be uncomfortable. But God gives us responsibility.

Medinger, Alan. Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey (p. 179). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

But, what if we give the Lord the little boy in us!? What does that even look like!?

For me, it was me giving to Jesus my deepest fears, hopes, dreams, desires and hurts. It was telling him about the abuse, the bullying, the rejection and the pain behind it.

4. Devotional Time!

As much as the antidotes and stories that Medinger shared were incredibly helpful and affirming as I learn to walk out Biblical Manhood, their is one thing that Medinger said that put everything in perspective…devotional time with God in prayer and Bible study.

As much as activities for men that bond help, and, realizing the issues and wounds in your own life held you back from real faith, what helps to bring it all together and move you forward is the time you spend with God the Father and Christ Jesus.

It has been amazing how much prayer time and Bible study has really helped me. The Lord has been bringing up past wounds from my heart to heal me. He’s “restoring my soul” and giving me a “new heart.”

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.

The Prodigal Son: The Son Who Was Lost While At Home

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The Introduction

You remember the story of the Prodigal son, right?

It is the parable in Luke 15:11-32 that Jesus told of the younger son who told his Father to give him his share of the estate. His Father does this and the young man goes off to a strange land. He squanders all he had on what is easily translated as “foolish” living.

Then, a famine hits the strange land and so decides to go get a job working for one of the citizens. It get’s so bad for the guy that he finds himself desiring to eat what the pigs are eating.

The Bible says that he “comes to his senses” (HCSB translation), returns to his Father’s home where he know he can get a real meal and work for him. He even decides that he will ask his Father for forgiveness.

His Father can see his son approaching far off and runs to his son, hugs and hisses him, and welcomes him back full of compassion and love. The young man asks for forgiveness and his Father practically throws a party for him.

Why?!

Because his son was dead but is now alive. He was lost and is now found.

THAT perspective, I have heard preached and taught for a long time, but, what about the other son? What about the oldest brother?

The Older Son

The story keeps going. It doesn’t just stop at the party. The younger brother did have an older brother. The older brother was out in the field. He approaches the house. He hears the party. He summons one of the servants and asked what the partying was about.

When he found out that his younger brother just got home and a party was being thrown for him…he got angry.

He was so angry he didn’t even go in!

Isn’t it interesting…anger can keep you from celebrating the very thing that God loves and celebrates…the return of one of His own…the saving of the lost…the living who was once dead.

His father came out and pleaded with his older son. If you read carefully you’ll catch what’s REALLY going on in the heart of the older son as he lists of the following reasons for his anger.

  • I have been slaving many years for you!
  • I have never disobeyed your orders!
  • You never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends!
  • Your son comes back…he devoured your assets with prostitutes…and then throw a party!?

But, check out His father’s reply in verse 31 and 32:

“‘Son,’ he said to him.’you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

Lost In The House

There’s something profoundly broken in the heart of the older son. It reminds me of what I use to be as a younger Christian.

Something amazing would happen to a person or people who lived so frivously and foolishly while I worked hard to get what I have and do what I do.

Then…they return and suddenly everyone acts like the returning person hasn’t done a single thing wrong.

The older sons’ case sounds kind of like my own from years past:

  • I did all these things for you Lord…but we’re celebrating someone who sinned against you coming back!? Don’t you see me trying to bring my best work for you!? What’s up with that?
  • I’ve been pretty good here about not sinning against you and disobeying? I mean, yes, I’m imperfect but, hey, I’ve made pretty good progress.
  • I NEVER get the benefits like those other guys! I mean, a blessing here or there, but come on. Not like this party we’re doing for this thug.
  • Let’s not forget…that person returning did some pretty messed up stuff.

Do you see the indignant, self-righteous anger? His relationship with his Father was wrong. It wasn’t about how much work he did for him. It wasn’t meant for him to benefit at the end once he “DID” things. Sure, the older son may have been more mature and may have been pretty disciplined and worked for his Father.

But…did he know he was actually loved by his Father? From this perspective, it doesn’t look like love was the reason he served his Father!

In verse 29,  the tone makes it so obvious:

‘I have been slaving many years for you.’

Somewhere, deep in your own heart, you may be feeling like God let you down. Someone got that promotion. Someone got that ministry opportunity. Someone got that girlfriend/boyfriend. Someone got that opportunity and you’ve been “slaving many years” without a “goat” to celebrate with your friends.

But, the Father does something interesting. He goes out and pleads with his older son.

How often does the Lord plead with us to see thing from his perspective? How often does the Lord plead with us in truth, love, grace and mercy, to turn from our sinful ways and to seek after Him? How often does the Lord plead with us as a loving, compassionate Father who desires for us to be a part of the great celebration of the lost who is found!

From my personal experience, I realized I was lost in the house when I saw my relationship with God as a “I’ll do…so He can.”

I later realized that I couldn’t do enough for Him to do or be anything.

He already is…and His existence long pre-dates and over-rules any kind of work I could do.

When my relationship with God and Christ changed…I joined the party. When the relationship went from “doing” to “being,” the doing part followed, but it followed out of a completely different motivation.