Tag: Route 1520

There Is Freedom From Addiction

FreedomFor nearly twenty years I struggled with an addiction to pornography. Over those two decades, the addiction became progressively worse and more controlling. I began to feel there was no way out. Last week I shared ways that addiction will control you. You can read that article [HERE].

For a vast majority of those two decades, I was in counseling for unrelated issues. There were many opportunities to share my struggle with a professional. However, the control of addiction kept me silent. My hopelessness grew as my addiction spoke more convincingly to me than the professionals. I was trapped and there was no way out. Or so it seemed.

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THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THEWHOLEMAN.CO ON JANUARY 25, 2016.

Do I Need to Confess My Adultery?

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A few years ago, I was counseling a guy who had been hiding his affair from his wife. He had long since ended contact with the other woman, and even confessed his affair to a chaplain friend. However, he continued to hide the truth from his wife. On the day he confessed the affair to me, he was in the midst of struggling with the need to confess to his wife. I wasn’t surprised that he hadn’t confessed to his wife, or that he was struggling with whether or not to do so. What did surprise me was the advice that he received from his chaplain friend.

The chaplain friend, a Protestant Christian, suggested that confessing his affair to his wife would destroy her sense of security and safety in the marriage. The chaplain told him that because he was repentant and confessed (in this case to the chaplain), there wasn’t necessarily a requirement for him to confess his affair to his wife. I have several concerns regarding the chaplain’s advice.

The idea that you will destroy the security and safety of marriage, for your wife, by confessing to adultery is absurd. By committing adultery you have already destroyed her security and safety. Whether or not your wife is aware of your adultery is irrelevant. Any perception of security and safety a wife holds in the marriage, after her husband commits his body to another woman, is false. It is akin to erecting a fence made of cardboard and then painting the cardboard to look like a wooden fence. The owner may see a wooden fence, but it remains cardboard. The painting does not make for a strong fence. By committing adultery, you’ve already decided for your wife that your marriage is not a safe place. Along with that, if you think she doesn’t know, you’re wrong. She knows. Even while she doesn’t know the details; she knows something has changed.

I made the decision to have an affair during my first marriage. I never confessed. Eight years later, during our divorce, I finally confessed to everything. Her response to me was, “I know. I always knew. I was just waiting for you to tell me.”

Your wife knows.

Additionally, the advice that you don’t need to confess to your wife, because you already confessed to someone, is a hard pill for me to swallow. Aside from the legalism found in that advice, I have difficulty with it because it opposes what Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24. While Jesus was preaching the Sermon on the Mount, and teaching on anger and offenses, He said, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Jesus is saying that if we have committed an offense that causes, or would cause, someone to be angry at us; we need to go to that person, settle the issue and reestablish our close relationship. If he takes that stance with a “brother” (or sister), how much more do His words apply to the one that is intended to be the other half of our one?

Saying that it is not necessary to confess your adultery to your wife, is a cowardly and legalistic way of attempting to fulfill the call to “confess your sins to one another” without having to face the earthly consequences of your sin. Saying this ignores Jesus’s command to “love God and others” and Paul’s prompting for husbands to love their “wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” When you gave your body up to another woman, you ceased giving yourself up for your wife.

“Do I need to confess my adultery to my wife?” No, you do not. There is nothing that requires you to confess to your wife. Arguments could be made that scripture recommends it, but there isn’t anything that specifically states you must confess to her. However, I believe asking that question is weak. By the time you get to that question, you already know that you should confess. But you may still be looking for someone to tell you that it is not required.

“Do I need to confess my adultery to my wife?” That is the wrong question to ask. A better question is, “WHEN do I need to confess my adultery to my wife?” If you desire real intimacy with Jesus and your wife; eventually the weight of your sin will become too heavy to bear. The Holy Spirit will change your heart and give you the desire to confess to your wife.

Route 1520 says it like this on their FAQ page:

“Eventually you will want to tell her. Why live another day without the true intimacy of really being known? Why wonder whether or not she would leave if she found out? You don’t need to tell her every detail of your acting out, but she will need to know the general nature of it. It is important to find a truly humble and willing heart first. You should also be totally committed to your marriage and to sobriety from all sexual sins before you talk to her. You may need the help of a pastor or counselor to get honest with her. Your wife will also need lots of support. Don’t expect her to just forgive and forget. Rebuilding trust and finding true intimacy will be a lifetime journey.”

You do not have to tell her. However, if you desire true intimacy with the other half of your one, you will want your wife to know.

If you’re struggling with adultery, sexual addiction or pornography there is hope; there is help. Route 1520 is a ministry dedicated to helping those struggling with these addictions and their families discover the freedom offered by the Gospel. You can contact them HERE.

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The One Question Jesus May Ask.

used from steveabickford.com

~ image used from steveabickford.com

I recently watched the movie Ragamuffin, about the life of Christian singer/songwriter Rich Mullins. If you don’t know who Rich is, think Awesome God. In general the movie was pretty decent, as Christian media goes. For a lower budget movie they did well. Regardless of some cheesy acting moments, the message is what resonated most with me.

Rich’s early life was marked by a hurt that is most easily identified as “the father wound.” In his book, Strength in WeaknessAndrew Comiskey writes,

“Though the Father intended for us to be roused and sharpened by our fathers, we find more often than not that our fathers were silent and distant, more shadow than substance in our lives. This kind of a “shadow” presence is not what our heavenly Father intended for our relationships with our earthly fathers.

Unfortunately, few fathers follow the injunction of Proverbs 27:17: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’”

This silence and distance causes a deep hurt that most men are not able to identify, and many times men are left unable to explain. Unfortunately, this often creates a roadblock on our way to God, and leaves us feeling dark, empty and longing. “The father wound” is responsible for many men never experiencing freedom.

Eventually Rich heard a priest, Brennan Manning, preach a sermon that changed everything for him. In his sermon, Manning said, “I am convinced that on Judgment day, Jesus is going to ask us one question: ‘Did you believe that I loved you?’” This one question profoundly impacted Rich and he began to consider how he would answer. Sadly, Rich continued to struggle with the demons and hurts of his past, played out mostly by separating himself from others and heavy drinking. Rich and Brennan became friends and eventually Brennan invited him to retreat, both physically and spiritually, into God.

brennan-mannings-quotes-7It was during his retreat that Rich was finally able to receive God’s counsel and healing for childhood wounds. The community and friendship that Brennan offered Rich was a vital part of Rich’s healing. At the end of his time spent in retreat, Rich was able to answer Jesus’ question with a “yes.” It is our hope as Christians that we can say “yes Lord, I believed You loved me and I tried to shape my life as a response to it.” For so many of us, we don’t know how we would answer that question; or worse, our answer would be “no, I never really believed.”

Healing and wholeness begin with believing unequivocally that Jesus really does love us. Believing in His love for you, in a world filled with much hurt and rejection, may seem like a fool’s errand. But this is the beauty of the love of Christ! In a culture that tells us to try harder and be better, Jesus says, “Just believe that I love you.” To help us in our belief, God has given us two things: His Holy Spirit and His Church.

Jesus promised that God would send His Holy Spirit to comfort and counsel. As we press into God, through intentional personal prayer and reading His Word, the Holy Spirit provides for our deepest needs. As God’s words wash over us, they provide for healing – filling the areas that feel empty.

brennan manning 1The Church is also a necessary part of healing. In James 5 we’re told, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” The idea of “suffering” here is better translated as affliction. Likewise, the idea of illness is both physical and emotional and speaks to a deeper hurt than some simple seasonal flu. James is acknowledging and calling attention to the existence and reality of Christians, who, even in their confession of Jesus as their Lord, still suffer from deep hurts and feelings of inadequacy. It is in community we are able to acknowledge these feelings and seek prayer with others whose faith is able to cover any lack in us. Community is also one of the best places to experience God’s love. And not just love as we understand it, but God’s genuine, deep and radical love. His love changes everything and reveals the real you; the beloved of God.

If the reality you are living is a dark one, find community. With that said, I realize “just find” community is no small task. So, if you’re in the Northern Virginia/DC area, get a hold of me; I’d love to meet you. We can also connect at The Whole Man FB Page.

Following are a few other communities I recommend. These guys have all worked through a lot of the same things that challenge us today; and Jesus brought them through and now they’re free in Him.

In Birmingham, AL: True Blue Tribe (this is also a great FB community) or Route 1520 (mainly focused on freedom from porn and sex addiction)

In Cheyenne, WY: Element Church (My friend Jeff Maness is the lead pastor and they have some great, home-based, small groups)

In Seoul, Korea: REDCON One Ministries

There is also Celebrate Recovery. No matter where you live, you will find a group on their Locator page.

My hope is if Jesus asks us this question on Judgement day, as many of us as possible will be able to answer, “Yes Lord, I believed You loved me!”

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