Why should anyone trust me, having broken the trust that others had placed in me, due to my public sin and offense? In one, ultimate sense, you should only trust Jesus and no one else. The LORD Himself knows full well: "The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse -- who can understand it? I the LORD test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings." (Jer. 17:9, 10 NRSV) "Deceit is in the mind of those who plan evil" (Prov. 12:20 NRSV). Each one of us has a devious, deceitful heart, and often we are unaware of the depth or degree of our own depravity. We have the ability to deceive not only others but also our own selves. Our God, however, cannot lie or be deceptive (Titus 1:2 NASB; cf. Isa. 45:19; 53:9; John 14:6); He alone can be objectively trusted (Ps. 4:5; 9:10; 25:2; 31:6, 14; 32:10; 37:3; Isa. 26:4; 1 Pet. 1:21). But let us not over-react, either. Many people can be trusted, generally, without the potential of psychological, emotional, or physical harm.
In another sense, though, if someone who committed a horrible sin, offense or crime grieves over that sin and by the grace of God repents and makes perpetual and successful efforts at changing one's mind, which will affect one's emotions, which in turn will affect one's behavior, that person may regain his or her integrity and earn back and continue to gain the trust of others. Even so, however, I think that people ought to hold such a person to more stringent standards in demonstrating his or her integrity -- especially if the offense committed was sexual in nature.
First, the apostle Paul informs us that every sin a person commits is "outside the body; but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body." (1 Cor. 6:18 NIV) Note the distinction the apostle renders sexual sin: it is set apart for its own category; it is a sin of the mind, the heart, and the body. Second, once a sexual offense has been committed, there will always -- always -- remain, even in a small measure, a potential for some sort of future offense, even if the potential offense does not mirror-image any prior offense committed. This reminds us to always perform good deeds, because whatever deeds we perform, whether good or bad, the likelihood of repeating those deeds becomes exponential once performed. Potential victims are to be protected and considered a priority over and above the feelings of a former offender. Third, what must be understood about those who have committed a sexual offense is that the offender is well trained at being deceptive. Think about this seriously: prior to my offense, no one knew that I was struggling with sexual desire for my seminary roommate, nor did anyone imagine that I was capable of behaving in any sexual or ungodly manner toward him. I learned how to hide my true feelings, my inner struggles, while maintaining the trust of others
So, how might one who has offended, whether sexually or otherwise, another human being created in the image of God regain his or her integrity and earn back the trust of others? I will give my amateur opinion, which I have learned from over a year and a half of therapy, and from much reading on the issue of offenses. Trust is always earned and rarely assumed. Once trust has been broken, earning or regaining trust can be very difficult, and in some circumstances can never again be achieved. Offenders of any stripe need to realize that people have a right to question our motives, our words, behaviors, actions, and to ask us difficult and pressing questions regarding our various interactions in any organization, whether societal or in the church. (This is especially true for anyone who has committed an offense against a minor.) What we really want people to see, however, is not that we can be trusted, as in some surface manner, but that we are daily striving toward making healthy choices mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally.
Moreover, our motive in this regard cannot be derived from an interest to maintain or be accepted in a leadership role, to serve on a committee where trust is a major component, or even so that others will think better of us. Certainly, we want others to not view us as monsters. However, what is most important for us is to consistently think, feel, and live a healthy, transparent, godly life. If this is our consistent experience then people will see the results for themselves; we will not incessantly cultivate a need for others to perceive us in a positive light, but will be satisfied within ourselves that we are living as we should, and trust the Lord that the results of godliness will shine through for His glory and for the edification of the Church. Through this long and arduous process we must daily remind ourselves that living a healthy and godly life is a process that will take many years and much striving. Our goal is always "no new victims."
In order to accomplish such a goal we must never fear or neglect the supporting structures in our life (Christ, prayer, Scripture, pastor, family, friends, the church); never fear transparency, since it is a helpful aid in the healing process; and never fear the time that cultivating a healthy mind and godliness takes. Christ is more than willing to see us through on this journey to the end.
This post was written by William Birch. For the original post with comments, go to: http://classicalarminian.blogspot.com/2013/11/earning-broken-trust.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
CANTERBURY – A prominent atheist has stirred international outage following his comments regarding children who are victims of ‘light pedophilia.’
Richard Dawkins, known for his book The God Delusion, was recently featured in an interview in The Times, during which he spoke of his own sexual abuse as a child, which he said had no long-lasting affect upon his life.
“One day – I must have been about 11 – there was a master in the gallery with me. He pulled me onto his knee and put his hand inside my shorts. He did no more than have a little feel, but it was extremely disagreeable … as well as embarrassing,” he told the publication. “As soon as I could wriggle off his lap, I ran to tell my friends, many of whom had had the same experience with him. I don’t think he did any of us any lasting damage, but some years later he killed himself.”
However, when Dawkins shared his thoughts about degrees of pedophilia, the changing times and not treating all types of inappropriate touching alike, readers expressed shock and disappointment.
“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,”Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”
“[T]he most notorious cases of pedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘pedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all pedophiles into the same bracket,” Dawkins opined.
On Tuesday, Dawkins took to Twitter in an attempt to clarify his remarks.
“‘Mild touching up’ is bad,” he wrote. “Raping [an] 8-year-old wife to death is worse. Worse? That’s putting it mildly. Quantitative judgment vs. black/white.”
“Is anyone seriously denying that raping an 8-year-old to death is worse than putting a hand inside a child’s clothes?” he wrote again later. “Are you that absolute?”
On Thursday, Dawkins also penned an article explaining his words.
“To excuse pedophiliac assaults in general, or to make light of the horrific experiences of others, was a thousand miles from my intention,” he wrote. “I cannot know for certain that my companions’ experiences with the same teacher were are brief as mine, and theirs may have been recurrent where mine was not.”
“If I am wrong about any particular individual; if any of my companions really was traumatized by the abuse long after it happened; if, perhaps it happened many times and amounted to more than the single disagreeable but brief fondling that I endured, I apologize,” Dawkins said.
However, a number of child protection groups remain outraged at Dawkins’ comments. Peter Watt of the National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said that the atheist’s remarks slighted others who have suffered from the memories of their abuse.
“Mr. Dawkins seems to think that because a crime was committed a long time ago we should judge it in a different way,” he told Religion News Service. “But we know that the victims of sexual abuse suffer the same effects whether it was 50 years ago or yesterday.”
This post was written by H. Clark. For the original post, go to: http://christiannews.net/2013/09/15/atheist-richard-dawkins-stirs-outrage-light-pedophilia-didnt-cause-me-lasting-damage/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Every year, federal and state governments pour millions of dollars into combatting sex trafficking through local and federal law enforcement agencies. But the emerging link between the child welfare system and child sex trafficking in the United States underscores the need for a new tactic, one that addresses the social origins of child sex trafficking.
At the end of July, the FBI’s Innocence Lost initiative, the wing of the agency tasked with addressing domestic child sex trafficking, conducted its annual three-day Operation Cross Country. During these 72 hours, federal agents across the country “recover” juvenile victims from sexual exploitation and arrest their exploiters. This year, the agency boasts that it saved 105 children and arrested 152 pimps. According to U.S. law, anyone under 18 and involved in the sex trade is considered sexually trafficked.
However, what happens to those who are “rescued” is unclear. Whether the children are placed in juvenile justice proceedings or the Department of Social Services, the story of the rescue mission as the FBI tells it ends when the handcuffs go on—often both on the exploited young person as well as his or her exploiter. (A video montage of Operation Cross Country VII accompanies the FBI’s press release.)
Julianne Sohn, spokesperson for the San Francisco division of the FBI, explained to AlterNet that the agency couldn’t account for what happens to the youth after they are “recovered” because local law enforcement agencies have varying policies on how to handle teens.
“If you’re 17 years old and sex-trafficked in New York you are literally a victim and a criminal at the same time,” Chrystal DeBoise told AlterNet. DeBoise is the co-director of the New York-based Sex Workers Project, an organization advocates for both sex workers and trafficking victims.
The Sex Workers Project has helped to decriminalize individuals who have been sex trafficked and charged with prostitution by successfully lobbying for the Vacating Convictions Law, passed in 2010 in New York, which allows a trafficked individual to have her record cleared.
But DeBoise notes there is still a long way to go: “Over 50 percent of our clients are trafficked and they tell us that the arrests were some of the most traumatizing parts of their trafficking experience.”
“It’s shocking to believe that you could be trafficked and for the rest of your life you have a prostitution record,” DeBoise said. “It is shocking.”
These FBI sweeps also result in the netting of adult sex workers. The data for Operation Cross Country in the Bay Area reveals that while its ostensible focus is to rescue child victims, the program results in a markedly higher arrest rate for adult sex workers: for the 12 children rescued, 65 sex workers were arrested in the Bay Area alone. During Operation Cross Country in 2008, the FBI recovered 47 juveniles while arresting 518 prostitutes.
Prioritizing criminal justice proceedings to combat child sex-trafficking has resulted in a paucity of services devoted to helping children most vulnerable to sexual exploitation: those in foster care. Depending on the city, 50 to 80 percent of child victims are or have been involved in this part of the child welfare system. The correlation has led many advocates to argue that funding needs to be redirected away from law enforcement and toward social services that are designed to work with traumatized children.
“People are beginning to realize that juvenile justice is not appropriate to serve sexually exploited children. People are frustrated that those kids are going to the criminal justice system rather than the foster care system, which is designed to help kids,” Kate Walker, from the National Center for Youth Law, told AlterNet. Earlier this year, Walker authored a publication for the California Child Welfare Council examining the needs of victimized children and how the welfare system should address them.
Southern California Congresswoman Karen Bass has proposed legislation to the House of Representatives that she hopes will address the cyclical relationship between foster care and child sexual exploitation. In April she reintroduced Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act (SCWRHT) that had died in committee last year. (After being elected to Congress in 2010, Bass co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and has since been a strong advocate for extending services to foster youth.)
SCWRHT would establish training programs so child welfare agencies could better detect children at risk of becoming victims and respond to those who have already been traumatized and victimized. The legislation would also extend services to trafficking victims up to the age of 21.
Bass has distinguished herself by focusing on the social roots of sex trafficking, rather than investing in law enforcement and tougher penalties. Explaining why she voted against last November’s Proposition 35, which increases fines and penalties for convicted human traffickers, she said: “I worry that just like with Three Strikes, when there is a horrific crime we come up with an extreme response and the net gets cast too wide.”
“It’s not my focus to increase penalty, because I am also worried about the pimps.” According to one case study, approximately 25 percent of pimps come out of the child welfare system.
In 1990—fourteen years before she would make the transition to electoral politics—Bass founded and directed Community Coalition, a grassroots organization based in South Los Angeles dedicated to strengthening black and latino communities ravaged by economic injustice, the War on Drugs, and poor quality schools.
After being elected to Congress in 2010, Bass co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and has since been a strong advocate for extending services to foster youth.
Like Bass, Kate Walker believes that with reform, the child welfare system has the potential to serve as a support network to child victims. “I think the child welfare system has a ways to go in terms of setting itself up to adequately serve these children, like prevention curriculum that includes teaching about exploitation, healthy relationships and ways to protect yourself.”
But while advocates may agree that improving the child welfare system is essential to addressing child sex trafficking, there is persistent ambivalence among policy advocates on whether locking up sexually exploited children is necessary in order to save them.
“There is a big divide in the field: should we be locking kids up or should we meet them where they’re at and provide them what they need,” says DeBoise.
Bass’ bill would create “specialized, long-term residential facilities or safe havens serving children who are human trafficking victims.”
One such safe house in Florida was forced to shut down within weeks of opening after one girl left the grounds and was raped. This recent tragic incident has led some legislators and social workers in Florida to conclude that it may be necessary to keep the premises of safe houses locked so that inhabitants cannot leave freely.
However, as DeBoise points out, “We don’t consider locking up any other victim the way we do with this population. It wouldn’t occur to us that we should lock up a victim of, say, domestic violence, if she continued to go back to her abuser.”
“When looking at the population of runaway kids involved in prostitution, there’s a tendency to treat them as criminals and force them into care.”
Casting further doubt on the incarceration model, Walker notes that one method of rehabilitating victims of sexual exploitation in California has been to send them out of state, far away from their exploiters. “Some of these places are on top of a mountain so the kids can’t run. But then they are just exploited upon their return to their communities.”
“I want to look at providing more services in the communities from which they come, because those are the communities that need them. When kids run away [from foster care] they are doing so because we are not providing something that someone else is; we’re not adequately meeting their needs,” explains Walker.
Speaking as a psychotherapist, DeBoise argues it is essential that services enable the youths to opt into therapy and shelter of their own volition: “We need shelters that are open and that have a high level of sophistication in the staff. We need to acknowledge that people can leave and they can also come back. When we work with those principles, we are successful. It’s not a problem to keep our clients, they don’t run away.”
DeBoise urges people to look at the phenomenon of domestic sex trafficking as part of a larger picture: “I think the way to end trafficking is to take seriously poverty and its consequences, racism and its consequences, sexism and its consequences. Trafficking is at the intersection of all these things.”
This post was written by C. Silver. For the original post, go to: http://www.salon.com/2013/08/15/far_too_many_kids_move_from_foster_care_into_the_sex_trade_partner/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
The moral arguments against pornography are well-known. However, even apart from questions of fidelity and objectification, there is an inescapable problem with porn.
The truth is, porn performers might have far more in common with victims of human trafficking than you might think. A growing body of evidence suggests that pornography fuels demand for prostitutes—and therefore, human sex trafficking victims, who often end up ensnared in both trades.
The porn industry is tightly intertwined with the “industry” of sex trafficking, as the Johns Hopkins’ Protection Project has recently investigated. Their research has identified several links:
1) Forced participation in film production
If force, fraud or coercion is used to compel performers to perform for the camera, this can constitute sex trafficking.
Multiple cases document performers promised legitimate jobs, say as models, only to find themselves in front of a camera and told to perform sexual acts. This is known as fraud. And if they are not given the choice to walk away, this becomes sex trafficking. Even if initial consent was given, a performer is within her rights to change her mind. Sadly, in such cases, threats of contract violation—plausible coercion—cause the victim to give in (possible coercion). Many girls have given testimonies of becoming scared once on the film set, but their wishes to stop were ignored and followed with brutal treatment. That is force, and that is sex trafficking.
Too often, victims of human trafficking do not self-identify because they don’t know the law. So, here it is.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) defines sex trafficking as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.”
The term, “human trafficking” can confuse people into thinking movement or crossing borders is necessary, when it’s not. Human trafficking is about exploitation. It can happen next door.
2) Forced participation in prostitution
Traffickers may exploit their victims through prostitution as well as on film. There have been cases where underage girls, under a pimp’s control, were forced to provide commercial sex in addition to performing in pornographic videos filmed by the pimp.
According to Laura Lederer of the Protection Project and Global Centurion, an anti-trafficking organization, over 25 percent of child sex traffickers take pictures or video recordings. Regarding child pornography, there is no gray area: “Any child under the age of 18 is considered a victim of human trafficking if they are induced to commit a commercial sex act. This can include prostitution or pornography. No child can ‘consent’ or choose to be involved in any form of commercial sex.”
Runaways and children kicked out of their homes are some of the most vulnerable to sex trafficking. The U.S. Justice Department's National Incidence Study of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrown-away Children estimates that as many as 1.7 million children run away from home each year. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets, it is estimated that 1/3 of these children are lured or recruited into prostitution and pornography.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the annual number of images and videos of suspected child pornography reached over 17 million in 2011.
3) Forced exposure to porn
Pimps and traffickers sometimes use pornographic films as grooming tools, forcing new victims to watch repeatedly, so they become hardened and learn what is expected of them. This is a corruption of the teaching technique of "translating image to action.”
Additionally, a significant percentage of prostitution survivors say they encountered buyers who used pornography to show them what was wanted. Since sex trafficking victims have no ability to choose, they are particularly susceptible to the more deviant buyers.
Sustained exposure to pornography has long-standing effects, and can create a skewed sense of “normalcy.” Mary Anne Layden of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania, states, "The large body of research on pornography reveals that it functions as ... a permission-giver for, and a trigger of many negative behaviors and attitudes that can severely damage not only the users but many others."
The path to porn addiction described by clinical psychologist Dr. Victor Cline shows how easily viewers can find themselves in a place they never thought possible:
Evidence suggests frequent viewers tend to be more frequent purchasers of prostitutes—an illegal behavior that often involves victims of sex trafficking. Pornography can be a vehicle by which people become objects to view and to use, and a catalyst to fuel demand. And you can bet, traffickers will answer it.
- Addiction: Porn consumers get hooked and often keep coming back for more.
- Escalation: Increased levels of exposure are often needed to stimulate to the same degree.
- Desensitization: Over time and exposure, the witnessing of certain acts can lose its shock factor and becomes more “normal.”
- Acting out: Viewers may have an increased tendency to act out behaviors seen in pornography
What can you do?
- Alter Your Perspective. Don’t automatically assume people in the sex industry are there by choice.
- Learn the signs of human trafficking.
- If you think you have witnessed trafficking, call the National Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or text INFO or HELP to BeFree.
- And finally, don’t support industries that fuel demand in the sex trade.
This post was written by Marney McNall of Relevant Magazine. For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/reject-apathy/loss-innocents/justice-side-porn
BE A MAN.
The young man told me an unbelievable story. He was telling me about an activity that was popular in his college dorm. It was called "hogging."
As he explained what this activity was, it became clear to me that this young man was engaging in a very sinful and demeaning sexual activity. By many standards, his behavior was considered deviant and misogynous.
Clearly, hogging is when a man purposely seeks out an overweight or unattractive woman to satisfy his sexual appetite. Many times, it is a game, a form of competition that men do to see who can have sex with the largest woman. It is not unusual for a group of men at a bar decide to "spice up" the most overweight or unattractive woman or it occurs when it is close to bar closing and a man decided he will "settle" for this woman rather than go home alone. This type of behavior is disgusting, despicable and wrong on so many levels.
This young man was starting to feel a twinge of guilt for his behavior. The night before he was involved in a "rodeo" where his friends hid in his bedroom and took pictures of his sexual activity and then jumped out and surprised the woman, humiliating her and telling her it was all a competition. This last encounter ended with the young woman breaking down in tears, angrily crying hysterically and threatening to call the police for sexual assault.
It's disgusting the path that sin takes in men's lives. The desire to seek sexual thrills coupled with competition makes men stupid. This selfishness leads to treating people like objects, forgetting that other people have needs and feelings as well.
His behavior reminded me of a section of the Bible where Paul is speaking to first generation Christians: "Don't you know that wicked people won't inherit the kingdom of God? Stop deceiving yourselves! People who continue to commit sexual sins..." Then Paul reminds them that even though they have engaged in sexual sins, that they have changed... "That's what some of you were! But you have been washed and made holy, and you have received God's approval..."
This young man didn't have a Christian heritage on which to build, just like these first generation Christians. He thought that what he was doing was "normal, what guys do." Fortunately, the Holy Spirit was speaking to him, letting him know that abusing women and seeking sexual thrills and competition is not "normal." And he was listening...
God takes pleasure in uprightness, in those who seek to please Him before pleasing their own sensual desires and selfishness.
This young man changed for the better. He is now walking in righteousness, seeking God's will for his life. He is forgiven. He is now made holy. He is receiving God's approval.
God changed this young man.
Allow God to change you.
BE A MAN.
CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - Joe Francis, founder of 'Girls Gone Wild,' was found guilty Monday of misdemeanor counts of assault and false imprisonment stemming from a dispute with three women after a night out at a Hollywood club in 2011.
Officials said after a two-week trial, a jury convicted the 40-year-old man of three counts of false imprisonment, one count of assault causing great bodily injury and one count of dissuading a witness. He faces a maximum of five years in prison. A hearing to schedule his sentencing was set for Wednesday.
Francis met the women at a club in 2011 when they were celebrating a college graduation. Francis led one of them out of the club by the hand into his limo. According to prosecutors, the other two women followed him and their friend thinking he was going to give them a ride to their car.
Prosecutors said Francis took the women to his home, when he tried to separate one from the other two a dispute broke out. Francis grabbed one of the women by the hair and throat and slammed her head into the floor.
After an investigation, the district attorney declined to file felony charges in the case and referred it to the city attorney, who filed the misdemeanor charges.
Francis is the founder of GGW Brands LLC, he filed for bankruptcy in February listing more than $16 million in disputed claims.
Neither Francis nor his attorneys could be reached for comment.For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57583219-504083/joe-francis-founder-of-girls-gone-wild-convicted-of-assault-and-false-imprisonment-report-says/
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Unlike an alcoholic who can abstain and maintain sobriety, the sexual addict has to face the fact of his sexuality. Celibacy does not resolve the problem. Hence, the question emerges for addicts as to how they determine when their sexual behavior is addictive.
The following formula is suggested as a guideline. Signs of compulsive sexuality are when the behavior can be described using the SAFE acronym:
1. It is a SECRET. Anything that cannot pass public scrutiny will create the shame of a double life.
2. It is ABUSIVE to self or others. Anything that is exploitive or harmful to others or degrades oneself will activate the addictive system.
3. It is used to avoid or is a source of painful FEELINGS. If sexuality is used to alter moods or results in painful mood shifts, it is clearly part of the addictive process. Also, if sexuality is used to avoid the pleasurable feelings of monogamy , there is trouble.
4. It is EMPTY of a caring, committed relationship. Fundamental to the whole concept of addiction and recovery is the healthy dimension of human relationships. Marriage takes a lot of work. There are ups and downs in marriage, that is part of what makes a long-term marriage satisfying. There is a great shared history. If the addict avoids the work of commitment, he runs a huge risk of being sexual outside of marriage.
If the SAFE acronym applies to you, I urge you to get help.
This material is taken from the book Out of the Shadows (pg 189).
BE A MAN.
Here is an anonymous confession by a reader of this blog. It is edited slightly and names are changed to protect the identity of the individuals. It is posted here with his permission.
"Dale, I have struggled over sending this to you. I don't know why I am. Maybe leading by the Holy Spirit. I'm not looking for anything out of it. If anything, maybe it will help someone else. You're blog posts on pornography have hit closer to home than you may know.
You probably know already that Mary and I are no longer married, but I don't know if you are aware of the circumstances that brought that split about. In 1995, I sexually molested my daughter. I have not voluntarily told this to anyone. In fact when asked if I have children, I have recently started telling people, "no," so I don't have to explain or make up a story about why I can't see them. I was arrested and spent several months in jail and the next four years in psychosexual counseling.
Because of my sin, I destroyed or at the very least damaged several lives. Mary was so hurt she left not only me but her faith. I have kept up a little with the kids (I have a permanent no-contact order) through MySpace and Facebook. John and Sally have graduated high school, but they both appear to be heavily into the occult. They are doing drugs and drinking. Bobby seems to have gotten on a better path (finally). I can read their wall posts, but if I were to contact them, it would be a mandatory six months in jail. So, I have watched my kids grow up online due to my actions.
All three kids have been in and out of foster care. John and Bobby have both been incarcerated. Mary has been through more than I am even aware of. I am devastated to know the damage I have done to these innocent lives. Would things have turned out differently if I was still in the picture? I don't know, but I would like to think they would. I did read on Mary's facebook page that her new boyfriend and Bobby were baptized a couple weeks ago. So, hopefully things are on a better track for her. I continually pray for them.
I have been addicted to pornography and sex since I was in my teens. I recall shoplifting pornographic magazines from the store when I was in junior high. When I was working for a city in Montana, I found a stack of porn in one of the trucks. I sat parked in that truck for several hours looking at those magazines. I had a tough time explaining to the boss where I had been with the truck. I made up a lie to cover myself.
I am reluctant to tell you what has happened to me, because I don't want to sound like I'm looking for pity. I want no sympathy from anyone. For what I did there is no pity warranted. I hate this kind of behavior in others. I am repulsed by it.
What has my crime/sin cost me...?"
"Everything! I lost my wife. I never got to see my kids grow up. I lost my ordination in the church. I lost friends and family who can no longer stand to be around me."
In the last several years I have lost jobs when employers found out about my past. I have had difficulty finding jobs, especially in the last couple years where everyone now does a background search.
I have to register as a sex offender for the rest of my life. When I move, my neighbors are informed of my crime and who I am, including a picture. I have been denied residency because of my crime. Every six months a sheriff's deputy shows up at my door to make sure I still live here. I have a felony conviction that denies me entry to other countries.
I have been asked not to attend two different churches including what I considered my home church. I attend church regularly, but now I will not fill out a visitor card for fear of being asked to leave. The church is a mega-church. 4,000+ attendance, and I don't know anyone there.
What I did was over 15 years ago, and I have lived a model life since. I haven't even had a speeding ticket since 1984. I pay all my bills on time. My faith in Christ has never dwindled. I know that without my faith, I would have ended it all years ago.
I knew I had a problem, but fear kept me from finding help. I never considered how much it would cost (myself and others). I told myself it would never happen again, but without counseling the cycle just continued.
I have always been kind of a loner. I never really fit in, so I have kept to myself. As a result, I have taken to living in isolation. I have no close friends, but I have 400+ facebook "friends." If they only knew... This is the beginning of my cycle... then depression...
How have I broken the cycle?
1. Awareness - I was made painfully aware of my problem. I recognize that I have a propensity to porn and I avoid it.
2. Admission of problem - I have admitted that I have a problem, and that it is a problem.
3. Recognize cycle - In my four years of counseling, I learned to recognize that my failings came in cycles. I found that when that cycle was progressing toward sin, there were ways to avoid it, to break the cycle.
4. Avoidance - I have used several things to prevent entering into my destructive cycle over the years. I can't say that it always works, but I have found that these help: 1) Turning off the TV or computer, 2) Prayer or read my Bible, and 3) Negative reinforcement ~ snapping a rubber band on my wrist (when I think about it)
5. Redirection - Find something else to do. Go for a walk, fish, read, exercise. Anything healthy."
Anonymous will be reading your comments. So please let him know what you think...
BE A MAN.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Many of us find it very difficult to feel confident in intimate relationships. If we learned early in life that the people most important to us were unapproachable, then confidently approaching others as adults may be difficult. There are many ways to learn that approaching other people is dangerous. It can come from abuse, or criticism, or disinterest.
One result of experiences of this kind is that we find it difficult to be confident when we approach God. This is particularly true when we are feeling fragile, weak or needy. The last thing we expect is mercy and grace in our time of need. We expect to be criticized. We expect God to say 'why are you still so needy?'. We expect to be abandoned. We expect God to say 'I'm busy now.' We expect to be rejected. We expect God to say 'If only you had more faith or prayed more or read the Bible more or trusted me more.' With expectations like this, it is no surprise that we lack confidence when approaching God.
But God offers us an invitation we long to hear. He invites us to approach. And, God invites us to come with confidence. God will pay attention. God will hear us. God will be interested in our well-being. God will respond with mercy, grace and help.
I don't have much confidence, Lord.
I don't trust other people very much .
I don't trust you very much.
I don't expect mercy and grace
from anybody, especially in times when I'm this needy.
I expect criticism, abandonment, and rejection.
Thank you for inviting me to come to you.
Thank you for providing good reasons to have confidence in you.
You are full of mercy and grace.
This is a time of need for me, Lord.
Give me confidence to approach you today.
I need your mercy and grace.
Copyright Dale and Juanita RyanNational Association for Christian Recovery
Self love is natural and not to be thought of as sinful. One tale-tell sign that we love ourselves is the manner in which treat our bodies. "For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it" (Eph. 5:29
NRSV). When we mistreat our bodies -- for example, drinking too much alcohol, over eating or eating too much junk food, indulging in sexual immorality, neglecting proper exercise -- we are speaking volumes about how we feel about our inner selves.
I once thought that one of the problems with my inner life was that I loved myself too much. But I have concluded that this is not the case whatsoever. If I truly loved myself then I would always do what is best for myself, as I walk daily before God, and do good to others. This has not been a reality for me in the past. One of the major problems with my inner life has been self-blame, and self-rejection, not self-love. I have had difficulty even liking myself, not to mention loving
Henri Nouwen, in his book The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom
, explains that "self-blame is not a form of humility. It is a form of self-rejection." (86) When an event does not pan out as I wished, self-blame sets in, and I imagine such blame as godly humility. Nouwen writes: "When a friendship does not blossom, when a word is not received, when a gesture of love is not appreciated, do not blame it on yourself. This is both untrue and hurtful." (86) I must endeavor to view all forms of rejection objectively.
For example, given that Christ is Lord of my life, I must understand that He is guiding my steps as I seek to live in, through, and for Him (Ps. 37:23
). If I encounter some form of rejection, I must understand that, in an ultimate sense, the Lord has another plan. If I do not, however, view rejection in such a manner, but begin to reject myself, then a dangerous worldview can be adopted. Nouwen writes: Every time you reject yourself, you idealize others. You want to be with those whom you consider better, stronger, more intelligent, more gifted than yourself. Thus you make yourself emotionally dependent, leading others to feel unable to fulfill your expectations and causing them to withdraw from you. This makes you blame yourself even more, and you enter a dangerous spiral of self-rejection and neediness. (86) I have experienced this reality, and I can attest that Nouwen's conclusion is correct. Leaving myself utterly vulnerable to the dependence of others for validity or happiness or fulfillment is desperate. In the end, the only one hurt is myself. At such a point, self-rejection sets in, and a vicious cycle is repeated.
I cannot, nor should anyone else, deny that when rejection is experienced a sense of hurt is also present. Rejection hurts because we perceive ourselves as unworthy of love and respect. But unless we reject self-rejection, then we will continue on an anxious, downward spiral of mental and emotional anguish, torment, and despair.
If someone I imagined as a friend constantly mistreats me, emotionally hurts me, I should not, then, reject myself. But neither should I harbor malcontent for the other person. Harshly blaming others in such instances can be just as harmful as self-blame. I should give no place for a root of bitterness to grow within me (Eph. 4:31
; Heb. 12:15
In such a circumstance, I should merely conclude that the two of us do not make an appropriate, friendly match. Yes, I may still experience a little hurt. But I should not be devastated by and obsessive over the fact that we do not make a perfect, friendly match. Nor should I reject myself, and think less of myself, as someone unworthy of quality relationships. Nouwen writes:Avoid all forms of self-rejection. Acknowledge your limitations, but claim your unique gifts and thereby live as an equal among equals. That will set you free from your obsessive and possessive needs and enable you to give and receive true affection and friendship. (87) If I am to be a healthy friend, or brother in Christ to others, then I must maintain a proper view of myself. If I am constantly rejecting myself then how can I expect others to embrace me?
Moreover, if God the Creator embraces me in and through Christ (Eph. 1:5-6
), and even counts me as His friend (John 15:14-15
), then I actually have no right to self-rejection. If God has not rejected me, then I cannot reject myself. Rejecting myself would implicate God's better judgment. By His grace, I will constantly be rejecting self-rejection.
Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom
(New York: Image Books, 1998).
This post was written by William W Birch. For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.classicalarminian.com/2013/01/rejecting-self-rejection.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.