What a powerful interview Bethany finished up with Ben! In listening to this I find great hope in the promises of Christ! Thank you Ben for the great courage in sharing your story with us at R.L.M.
Could you imagine what it would be like to go through such a trial? Many have with the statistics for men having an affair at 21% and women around 15%. We live in a world that has been strongly influenced by the Christian virtue of chastity. Not only that but the Christian doctrine of marriage has spread it’s wings over the entire globe seen in monogamous marriages. Even in our culture today an affiar is heartbreaking and potentially un-restorable.
Can you recover from an affair? How?
The Bible gives us a great birds eye view of a world that has gone astray after other lovers only to find that they don’t satisfy.
“When she runs after her lovers, she won’t be able to catch them. She will search for them but not find them. Then she will think, ‘I might as well return to my husband, for I was better off with him than I am now.” Hosea 2:7
Jesus was the rescue mission to make reconciliation possible between God and his creation.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29
It’s a story that all stories come out of. That’s why it is called “The Greatest Story of All Time.”
Be encouraged as you listen and may the Lord give you great hope!
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
In the Hopes of teaching up and coming Pastors a Biblical approach to sharing sexual topics from the pulpit, we are putting together a presentation that we will make available after we finish it up!
You might ask why this is important. And that’s a good question! The Bible tells us that nothing is new under the sun. And sex is a part of that ‘nothing.’ For many in the ministry sexuality, sex and sensuality is avoided! This is quite odd to us as our Bibles are filled with intimate topics. There are many reasons why teaching Pastors will stray away from such a sensitive subject. And we hope to help!
But why is there such a disconnect with Pastors on topics of sex, sexuality and sensuality? And how can leaders in ministry share these topics with grace and honesty and still be a leader? How do ministers deal with the topic of pornography or homosexuality? Is there a place for ministers who battle sexual thoughts in the ministry? Is there a correct way to teach these topics from the pulpit? What examples of teaching do we have from the Bible that can help us? What kind of leaders do we see in the Bible?
All these questions and many more will be a part of this presentation. We believe it will be important for any minister that is engaged in the teaching ministries within the body of Christ!
Many people worry about pornography and it’s affects on the family. When I wrote my first book in 2007 my introduction painted a picture of a undetected killer that lurks within all of our homes. This killer was in the form of erotic material on your Cable and internet. The Church world is full of these kinds of descriptions of the dangers of pornography. I am just another pawn that has described visually sexual images in such a way.
I am known to meander through my blogs and talks. It is my style I guess. So I will do my best not to let anyone down in this blog as well. Though the kinds of pornography that ‘lurks’ in your homes potentially could be harmful if watched it for 10 hours a day, most do not watch it that much. With the many facets and genres of sexual images ranging from the normal to the brazen, one would think, if given enough time, a person would get sick of it after such exposure. Give a person who likes sweets sugar on end, and enough is enough. There is a moment of simply being done.
But there is a new porn to which I am amazed by how people continue to take in repeatedly, hour upon hour. Every day, every month, every year. This new porn has such a pull and lure on the human that they cannot give it up so easily. If they turn off the TV, they watch it on their phone. If they throw away the phone, the TV comes back on. The impact this new porn has on the viewer or listener is gripping without release. It is all the time; constant! Twenty-Four, seven. The sea of depression is where it leads. Your body will grow old with sorrow, your life zapped, but you still go to it. It is a trap, a trap it is…there is no stopping our appetites towards it!
A continual dripping from a leaky faucet this is! This ‘new porn’ wakes us up at night in panic! It says, “Update! Tune in now!” (Did I mention the fear that this kind of giving in does to us as a society?)
We look at one another different, objectifying one another as we can no longer see the straight…we are tainted, stained, manipulated…we become disillusioned, no longer able to see properly anymore. There is too much in our heads our hearts. And did I mention the fear? Oh, of course I did…the fear! Fear of them… afraid of what it might mean for us!
But what if someone finds out what I am watching daily? What if they knew the inner secrets of my heart, my mind. I’m afraid of that too! What does it say about a civil society (or me!) that claims to be civil yet at the same time watches more and more?
If they only knew my dreams that have been daily squashed due to my inability to turn it off! I desire so much to be a joyful person, but oh how can I with this giving over to the new porn I so love. You are my rose of Sharon!
I do not see the error of my ways. Everyone else does it, and they are fine… aren’t they? What a common issue I have, what could possibly be the danger? It is certain I am locked in place, unable to move where I would wish. Too much fear, too much fear! Who do I look to? Where to turn? I know! I will once again turn on the Faithful One for 10 hours a day. I can watch it with others in the home without shame now, for it is good! Yes, it is good!
Oh, I am tricked again! The music that was once in me, is gone. At one time, so long ago, my life was embellished with graceful chords and scales that filled the page, but now all I can hear is a simple little ditty over and over again. No more beautiful scale runs…no more gorgeous arpeggios, just that simple little ditty… over and over again.
The NEWS. That is the new porn! It ravishes hearts, and steels life, feelings and dreams. It brings out the worst in the human condition, as it feeds confusion and contradiction! So confused you will be! But you will be beyond recognizing this illness! As it births fear, so fearful you will go! And you thought I was talking about pornography!? Ha… gotcha!
If only… Imagine a world without the mainstream news…just image…
There are many prophets of today, but none like you! “You that moves nations!”
Just turn it off I might say. Just stop it, don’t watch it! Don’t you know your eyes are a lamp? Why do you click? Why do you tune in? Don’t you see what it is doing to you? Don’t you feel your fear, your hatred?
Your shrinking away. All your dreams you once had are long gone.
You make lunch and it is in the room with you. At night before bed you watch more…more and more till you are full.
Courage is all gone now. Courage is gone. You sit and stare, aroused by the screen and await death.
“And they will drink and stagger and go out of their minds”
At Running Light Ministries we desire to stay clear of the label of sex addiction. We have blogged and done Podcast on this issue on many occasions and I imagine we will do more in the future, Lord willing. We are not opposed to its general use, but we try our best to not overuse this term which has become quite popular in our media and Christian recovery climate regarding sex & pornography.
Here are reasons why we believe the way we do.
We believe that heroine, cocaine, alcohol and other chemical dependencies are different from unwanted sexual desires. When someone is labeled a sex addict, we are not saying that we never want them to have sex, but we want them to have sex a certain way within a Biblical framework. The equating of sexual desire or visual sexual stimulus with substance abuse is confusing and logically problematic.
The Bible speaks of sexual sin, iniquity and transgression. So we like to use those terms. We are not psychologist.
Addiction models create the same problems which started the problem. To call someone a porn addict or sex addict can create the feeling of shame, guilt, frustration, fear, & stress that lead them into the decisions they have made.
Religious people tend to self diagnose themself a sex/porn addict due to the conflict with actions not fitting there belief.
Society’s use of sex addiction is constant when there is no understanding of a baseline of what constitutes healthy/good/proper sex. This again is confusing.
Your identity is in Christ. You have the ability to say No! And under the right circumstances we all do and will!
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, so we desire to understand the Gospel better in our groups. This is why we lay a heavy emphasis on our time in the Bible.
Calling someone a sex addict oversimplifies the issues in a persons life that cause them to act out. Dissatisfaction with ones life, resentments, anger, fear can lead one to states of depression and unhealthy decisions. Underlying stress too leads to ways of acting out. Others simply enjoy sex & sensuality. There are many reasons why a person does what they do. The Sex Addiction label can bread a fear to talk and work through these complicated issues.
Calling someone a sex addict minimizes the Bible’s teachings on the infectious nature of sin. This creates a separation between other sins and sexual sins, which in turn leads to blame, judgement, shame and feelings of separation from “normal” people.
Sex addiction tends to place blame on the lustful culture or our biological inability to make healthy decisions instead of on our misplaced worship.
We do not subscribe to your brain on porn. It is again confusing due to the differing studies available on the subject, and what is defined as pornography. The teaching that you are incapable of making right decisions due to your VSS (Visual Sexual Stimulation) undermines the teaching that we can make decisions. This is confusing.
Calling a spouse a sex addict can create shame, undermining the Bible’s teachings of how to respond to the sinful actions of another.
When we call someone a porn addict, we are not meaning that looking at sex is wrong. We are saying that looking at the wrong people having sex in the wrong contexts is not glorifying to God and therefore wrong. Using the term porn addict is an oversimplifying term.
The Bible does not call those that sinned repeatedly in sexual matters sex addicts. They are identified as people of faith.
Addiction models and it’s accompanied psychological concepts can change over time within society (i.e. LGBTQ & masturbation were once thought of as addictions and/or a disorder, but is no longer). We would rather focus on the clear instruction from the Bible as our guide in helping others.
Using the term addiction distracts from conversations on sexual desire, wants or wishes which are needed in a relational context.
2nd Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
“The great tragedy is not mainly masturbation or fornication or acting like a peeping Tom (or curious Cathy) on the internet. The tragedy is that Satan uses the guilt of these failures to strip you of every radical dream you ever had, or might have, and in its place give you a happy, safe, secure, American life of superficial pleasures until you die in your lakeside rocking chair, wrinkled and useless, leaving a big fat inheritance to your middle-aged children to confirm them in their worldliness. That’s the main tragedy.”