How could a Christian man become addicted to online pornography? How could a pastor struggle with and act on sexual struggles? How could a preacher’s kid choose the gay lifestyle over what she has always been taught is right? Sexual and relational sin can indeed be a complex, multi-layered issue, especially in a culture where each new generation seems to reach unprecedented heights of emotional brokenness and personal dysfunction.1 We still know beyond any doubt that “Christ receiveth sinful men,” as the old Gospel song says. There is no sin so terrible that it is not covered by the blood of Christ, that God will not forgive it. But after confession and forgiveness, many sexual strugglers and their families face a bewilderingly difficult path of growth through ongoing temptations and setbacks, in the face of which there are no easy answers.
“Jesus is the answer.”
“Just pray about it.”
“You’re a new creation now.”
“You just need more deliverance.”
These are the pat answers and facile responses that are falling so short of the mark in addressing the deep woundedness of so many Christians today. What they fail to take into account is that at the core of sexual struggles like pornography addiction and unwanted same-sex attraction is a deep yearning for authentic connection with others, for true and healthy intimacy. And the way we “do church” all too often reflects where we are as a culture: that is, we are not very good at true and healthy intimacy. People don’t really want to be involved in each other’s lives, they don’t know their neighbors, and even family members live in considerable alienation from one another. The church struggles to meet the deeper-than-average needs of sexual and relational strugglers because we fail to recognize that every member of Christ’s Body stands in deep need of authentic community.
At Restoration Path we want to help men experience safe Christian teachings that are applicable for their needs. Where they can let down the masks they have had to wear in front of the world and even in front of the church; where they can share honestly and openly what is going on inside them without fear of reprisal. In such an environment the trust develops that God uses as the foundation for healing of deep emotional and relational brokenness. It is our privilege to walk alongside these courageous men as they submit their pain and brokenness to the Lord.
What can we do in the face of so much pain? Often, as David Jones says, we must simply “sit beside it.”2 We must be willing to enter into someone’s pain and experience it along with them. If we could only claim human powers, then this exercise would be truly futile. But as Christians we know that God uses us to be “Jesus with skin on” to each other, and Jesus Himself is the ultimate expert in “sitting beside pain.” When He did it 2000 years ago, the results changed the course of history and made salvation possible. When He does it today through his Body on earth, the results continue to transform lives and bring lasting change to hopeless situations.
We invite you to browse our list of programs and learn more about Restoration Path a place where God does indeed “heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 NIV)
1 Janelle Hallman in a lecture 2/6/09 (Restoration Grace conference, Morrison Heights Baptist Church, Clinton, MS.)
2 David Jones, Sitting Beside Pain, 2008.