Being Comforted in Our Affliction ~ blog
When the 180 Recovery Ministry was started at Vineyard Columbus in February 2009, we had no idea what God had in mind. Gus and I were just two men who had been walking together in our recovery, helping one another and wanting to help others. We met in September 2005 and had been helping one another for 3½ years with weekly accountability and daily support when needed.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4;
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
The two key words in this passage are “affliction” and “comfort.” An affliction was something that was a really big problem. It is not a scraped knee but a severed limb. It literally means to something being crushed under a great weight. Under the ancient laws of England, if one was found guilty but would not confess, they were forced to lay on the ground and great weights were placed on their chest until they were crushed to death.
The word comfort, in the Greek, is “para-kaleo.” Para means alongside and kaléo means to call. So, comfort is someone coming alongside you with the intention of offering help. A paraclete comes alongside a person who is struggling with the purpose of helping them deal with whatever is afflicting them.
Years of sexual addiction is a crushing affliction. The weight of this secret sin eventually becomes almost unbearable, yet we do not call out for help because there is such great shame involved. This is true especially within the church, the body of Christ.
The Bible is clear that sexual purity is to be highly guarded. Yet walk into any church on any given Sunday, after the social distancing ends, and almost half of all the people in the service have a secret life of sexual sin going on. 50-60% of the men and 20-30% of the women with the numbers being higher if you visit the youth ministry.
All those people being crushed by the affliction of sexual sin yet refusing to call out for help because they are ashamed and fear rejection by their family members within the body of Christ.
Somewhere along the line, we have started to believe the church is where the good people gather to be entertained by quality music and a speaker who can make us laugh, feel good, and gets us out for lunch in time to beat the crowd. Instead of being what it is supposed to be…an emergency room where broken people can find comfort from one another and someone just might help lift the crushing weight of guilt off of your chest before it crushes you and damages your entire family.
God comforts us in our affliction with a purpose. He does not help us through the process of recovering from our sexual brokenness so that we can silently slip back into church as if there was nothing wrong with us in the first place. He comforts us. He comes alongside us through the Holy Spirit, also called the Paraclete, so that we can comfort others.
Comfort is something we are supposed to share with others instead of hoarding it for ourselves. In fact, I believe that comfort is one of those things that if we comfort others with the comfort we have received then our comfort continues and even increases as we are comforting others. Keep it to ourselves and it diminishes.
It is like God is saying He will pour comfort into us so that we can share it with others. However, if we do not pass comfort on and hoard the comfort He is giving us, our being comforted dries up because we are not helping others which is God’s intention in the first place.
This is a basic principle of the Christian life. Jesus uses it in the Sermon on the Mount;
“…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Listen carefully because I believe this is really important. If you really want God to comfort you and bring healing in your life for your sexual addiction would you be willing to share that comfort on to others who need it as desperately as you do?
Why do you think I have sent out thousands of messages since January 1, 2012, to encourage you so that you are not led astray by the deceitfulness of sin? Because I am seeking to comfort others with the comfort God has been giving to me. 2635 emails and podcasts have been posted on our website alone.
And if I have been comforting you with the comfort I have received from God, what are you doing with it? There are only 2 options. You can damn it all up to create a lake of comfort in your life…in which case the comfort will become a trickle and eventually stop. Or you can be a conduit passing it on to others who are being crushed by the weight of their sexual sin.
How would I suggest you do that? First and foremost, you have to get over not letting anyone know that you have struggled with sexual sin. You do not need to wear a white shirt with a big red “A” on it…Scarlet Letter style. But you could begin to quietly share with a few not-so-good men that you have struggled but have found comfort from God through 180 and suggest it to them.
And I promise you this…when you begin to share the comfort with others with which you yourself have been comforted from God, your recovery will continue and grow stronger.
However, if you receive comfort for a while, finding relief from crushing affliction of secret sexual sin, and dam it up to keep for yourself you will probably drift back into it and finding you need to begin receiving comfort all over again.
Why do you think I am doing what I am doing? God and others were used to comfort me in my crushing affliction from my addiction to porn and sex. And I have been passing it on to others…like about 2500 people 6 days a week. This is me doing my recovery. This is me comforting others with the comfort I have received and if you want your comfort to keep coming and increasing then I pray you will begin to share our 180 Ministry emails of encouragement and our Online Support Teams with those God brings to you who desperately need help.
It is time for 180 to take it up a notch and I ask for your help. I want to have 20 Online Support Teams by the end of the year. Perhaps you can take that next step in your own recovery and help someone else take their first step into recovery. Lone sheep are hard to find but are in desperate need of finding a flock before they become a dead sheep.