Chapter 1: Beginning Essentials For The Journey
Life is Difficult.
I've always loved those famous words that open M. Scott Peck's classic, The Road Less Traveled He writes that once we truly accept the fact that life is difficult, it no longer matters that life is difficult. For now we can buckle down and begin solving our problems.
Because life is difficult, many people have tried to find escape from the complexities and sorrows of life through the temporary fixes we call addictions. The choices are numerous—from eating to working, spending to drinking, gambling to smoking.
Today, though, we deal with those who, to different degrees, find their fixes through sex.
For example, one morning on the news they showed a man who sexually abused a little girl. He had just been caught.
Though in no way would I ever attempt to mellow the despicable thing this man did, I wondered if down inside he hated the thing that drove him to be a sexual monster—something over which he seemed to have no control.
Many years ago, I saw a very high-profile, dignified man being led away to jail by police because of child pornography. His words pierced me. He said, "Thank God, the nightmare is over!" Here was a man who was slave to a horrible addiction that deep in his heart he hated with a passion. Many of you know what I am talking about—maybe most of you. Why do I do this? I can't stop! Never Cured?
Also, on this same morning news cast, a sex counselor discussed the Tiger Woods adultery scandal. The host asked the counselor if Tiger had been in rehab long enough to be cured of his admitted sexual addiction. The counselor sharply corrected the host, "Cure is a word we never use. He is recovering and will be recovering the rest of his life." I assure you that Jesus Christ delivers more hope than this high- profile counselor. I've experienced His victory. I've met multitudes who have moved well beyond recovery. If you fail to address the roots of your addiction, then, yes, "always recovering" is as far as you will get, but if you let Truth heal you, you can someday kiss your addiction goodbye for the last time. Listen to what Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ... Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:32, 36).
Hallelujah! He gave us hope beyond perpetual recovery. I didn't write this book to tell you how to merely cope with your addiction, but how, through Christ Jesus, to overcome it.
Are You Willing to be Stretched?
Many years ago, something radical happened to me in my counseling office that began an incredible journey to sexual freedom. At first my wife, Ruthie, knew nothing of it. So much happened in the first week of my journey! I found a radical new perspective that rocked me to the core—one that I didn't think Ruthie could handle. I thought it would be at least three years until Ruthie would be able to handle it--perhaps when I got totally free—though, there was still a good chance I would never tell her. One week later, I told her everything. A big part of my initial healing was to admit to Ruthie that there was something out of alignment in my sexual compartment. Inside, though, I sensed that my journey wasn't just for me—it was for Ruthie also. But, before I told Ruthie the initial details of my journey, I asked her the question, "Are you willing to be stretched?" I ask YOU the same question as we begin.
If you are willing, proceed. If not, read no further. I don't want you angry with me! I guarantee, for most of you, you will hear things you never heard in church and read things you never read in the ABC's of Sexual Victory.
Where We're Headed
The goal of this book is to uncover truth for men that will enable them to defeat the torment of sexual
dependency, and freely choose healthy sexual behaviors. Though I address this report to men who may be struggling, it is also for counselors and people who are actively engaged in helping men get free. Ranking at the top of all things that destroy lives is sexual abuse. Perhaps nothing defeats a person's heart, destroys a person's identity, and strips away a person's hopes more than sexual abuse. I'm not talking just about sexual abuse in terms of fondling or engaging in sexual activity, I'm also including passive forms of abuse such as what comes from pornography. A wife is uncovered emotionally and spiritually; a child is defiled just by knowing the man designed to protect his or her heart has given himself to forces without values or virtue. A man says, "I love my wife," yet violates his covenant with her, demoralizing who she is. Not exactly love!
A father says, "I love my children," yet opens door for Satan to come in to kill, steal and destroy his family—setting himself up as an example of what NOT to be. Please don't call that love!
Unbridled sex has created an international slave trade far more massive than the vile enslavement of black people which lies at the roots of our America. I recently heard of a place in another country where men can rent a child for a week of sexual pleasure for a few hundred dollars. Selling children into sex slavery is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Fresh on my heart is a young girl I know well who attempted suicide trying to escape the inner villain of sexual abuse. Attending a youth conference where I spoke was a girl who masochistically cut herself, as many wounded girls do. This girl had been sexually abused just by knowing her father abused women on the screen.
Another girl asked this girl, "Why do you cut yourself?"
She answered, "Cutting gets my mind off the pain inside my heart and puts it on a pain far less than the hurt in my heart."
The girls who take the stage on a computer, or the live stage, are largely wounded, hurting, rejected, violated creations of God. I heard a pole dancer who worked in a Las Vegas strip club remark that most of the girls in her club were suicidal—living lives of desperation trying to survive through counterfeit affection and futile attempts to quench the shame and rejection they have become accustomed to. Then men take advantage of them.
So, I begin this book with this brief discourse on the abominable nature of sex without God. As you read this book, I trust two attitudes are apparent in my writing—my hatred for the sin and my love for the sinner.
Getting to the Core
Many Christian books are available on sexual purity. Some of these books only focus on how to control the problem. Many of these books are good, even great. My specific focus, however, deals more with defeating the problem at the root—going beyond the surface and breaking into the control room. True victory requires that you know more than how to control the problem on the surface; you must know how to bring wholeness and healing to the sexual control room in your heart. Trying to defeat sexual dependency at the surface level without going to the root is akin to living on medication all your life to control a recurring ailment, but never treating the root cause. An advertisement in a magazine I recently read had in large, bold letters: What Really Causes Asthma? The ad went on to say that the real culprit was inflammation. My mind screamed "No!" The real culprit is the thing that's causing the inflammation!
Sexual healing is like asthma: there are different levels of causes, but what really needs treating is the deepest root that is pushing the drive out of control.
Eradicate Your Sexual Nature
I must mention up front, that this book is NOT about eradicating our strong, male sexual drive (God forbid!). It is about walking in harmony with our strong male sexuality and enjoying the freedom of our sexuality as it was designed to operate. Many contemporary approaches recommend the utility knife approach—don't look here, don't go there, try fasting, or take saltpeter tabs.
If this doesn't work— cut! Hey, I'm being facetious—of course we need to stay on guard in the sexual arena. I'm simply saying there's more to victory than behavior modification. I will deal with the legitimate role of self- control later, but self-control without dealing with the root-motivating forces will never set a man free.
Something You Never Know
I write this section following a week's visit by a minister who is very close to me. Sadly, his most trusted assistant was arrested for child pornography and for setting up secret cameras in places where girls undress. The event made the news. The sorrow and stress of the episode crushed my friend and his family. He visited us to recover from the long, hard ordeal. During one of my conversations with my friend, he commented, "You never know who is involved in sexual sins or crimes." Most sexual offenders are masters at covering up their sexual involvements because exposure means social shame or loss of something precious.
Some of you may be covering up your indiscretions. My friend never would have suspected his friend could have produced the kind of behavior that landed him in prison, but unfortunately, this kind of unveiling of secret immorality happens time and time again. Every day, newspapers expose sexual crimes. Just recently, a notable personality was charged with indecent exposure for getting caught openly masturbating in a bathroom.
I could go on writing about daily examples from my local newspaper of people whose sexual antics have been exposed. I assume, though, we all know how serious the sexual epidemic is. Suffice it to say, it is far more prevalent than you and I can imagine. The real issue is that it may be closer to us than we think.
The Ocean and the Bucket
I sat at lunch with a pastor who had attended one of my male- sexuality seminars. I told him that addressing the horrendous problem of male sexual immorality makes me feel as if I'm trying to empty the ocean with a bucket. His reply greatly encouraged me. "For 35 years, I struggled with this problem," he said. "You didn't take me from A to Z, but you did take me from A to D, and that's more than anybody else has done for me," he said.
Perhaps this book will not take you to Z. It will, however, provide a piece to the large puzzle of male sexuality that, together with other pieces from other therapists, may indeed assist you in getting to Z.
Actually, the hardest part of your struggle will be getting to D. Perhaps the same energy it takes you to get from A to D will get you from D to Z. This is because the initial confrontation of the root is the most critical part of this journey. I believe you will see what I mean as you read about my journey and what I learned on it.
The One Who Taught Me Will Teach You
After I gave my life to Christ at 18, I began living significantly free from pornography, immoral thoughts, masturbation, and other forms of sexual immorality. In my late 30s, though, I began a journey into the realm of immorality. No, I didn't fall captive to the sin. My Creator designed this journey to set me free, to teach me, and to give me a message to share with you.
The journey was brutal. The results were glorious. I found out things about sex that, in all my years of counseling and ministry, I never heard or read about.
I can't say that I didn't learn some of what's in this book from a source of teaching, but it was very little. I learned it primarily from experience, from my own research and, of course, from God.
Thus, I share this information with you only to accompany you on your own personal journey. God is the one who will teach you, but I pray He uses what I share to propel you on your journey to freedom.