Your Recovery Begins with Honesty ~ blog
Ok … so you really want to begin to find freedom from your sexual brokenness. You have been here before. You might even be telling yourself the end of the year is coming and you will start afresh on January 1st, 2020. I played that game for years.
However, here is how it actually went. I started on January 1st. Then started again on Valentine’s day. Then started again on my birthday in April. Then started again on my birthday in April. Then started again on our wedding anniversary in June. Then struggled through the rest of the year only to tell myself I would start again in the New Year.
After 14+ years of walking out my own recovery, I learned that to truly begin the road to freedom I needed to be honest with God and myself. I had a serious problem with my addiction to sex. I disclosed everything to my wife on September 9th, 2005. I confessed to my 4 adult kids that I was addicted to porn, had been unfaithful to their mother, and had lost my job as a pastor. Days of deep darkness and shame followed, and I had to learn what to do to just survive the depression and anxiety that was constantly oppressing me and my mind.
However, something was happening. A tremendous weight was lifted off of me. That weight I had been carrying for years was the weight of my secrets. I had told the truth that I thought would blow up my marriage, family, and career. There was a train wreck deeply wounding my loved ones. But telling the truth unlocked the door to all my secret sins and the Lord began to take out my garbage.
Listen, I know how threatened this idea is and it scares you to death. But I am here to tell you it is the only way to begin your journey of freedom. Honesty with yourself. Honesty with God. And honesty with those in your life who need to know what you have done and what you are dealing with.
Imagine you are diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Would you keep that a secret from your loved ones or would you realize that you needed help from others? Sexual addiction is life-threatening. Listen to what Paul says in Romans 6:22-23;
“But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The death Paul mentions here is not eternal death in hell. That issue was solved when we accepted Christ as our Savior. He has paid the penalty for our sins, we are completely forgiven, and we have eternal life.
However, when we continue in sin, we experience a kind of death instead of the life that God wants us to have. Instead of the fruits of the Spirit and experiencing the joy and peace of the Christian life we are locked in fear and shame. We are hiding ourselves and our secrets and this isolates us further from true fellowship with others, especially our wives and family.
It will take honesty and so the very first chapter in my 180 Recovery Program is titled “Being Honest with God and Yourself.” I recommend to all the men who are going through our program that they need to sit down, ask the Holy Spirit to protect and guide them, and begin writing out their Sexual Sin Inventory.
This is just between you and God. Obviously, He already knows all of our sins. However, we have the amazing ability to rationalize, minimize, and forget about the sins we have committed. So, under the direction and protection of the Holy Spirit ask Him to help you remember all of your sexual sins and write them down. Do not go into the details especially if you have sexual abuse in your past. Just note the age and the event but do not go into remembering the details which might be triggering to you.
I also highly recommend that before you begin this exercise you ask for the filling of the Spirit and put on the full armor of God so that you are protected from any demonic influences. Then honestly begin to write down the things you have done starting with the earliest and ending with the latest.
I did this and it took me 9 hours over a weekend. I created a spreadsheet and entered my age and just the basics of what happened. Do not go into details so for example;
At the age of 12 – I found my father’s Playboy magazines.
No need to go into what you saw. Just what happened and that you acted out in sexual sin.
After 9 hours when I was finished, I looked over the 9 pages of my sexual sin history and started to sob. It hit me with full force the honest truth of how sexual sin had ruined every relationship with every female with whom I was involved. I felt horrible and literally said to God …
“Father … I feel like a pile of shit.”
However, I heard my Father say to me; “John, those are the things you have done. It is not WHO YOU ARE!!! You are my son and I love you.”
Waves of forgiveness began to wash over me and it was one of the most powerful experiences of my Christian Life.
So, I know you do not want to do this … but you really need to for your own good. Being honest with God and yourself is the first step to begin to experiencing freedom from your sexual sin. More tomorrow on what to do with this Sexual Sin Inventory.