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(CBS/AP) NUTLEY, N.J. – “Tanning mom” Patricia Krentcil is changing her look, debuting her fairer skin in a popular U.S. magazine after being accused of taking her 6-year-old daughter into a tanning booth, CBS New York reports.
Patricia Krentcil was dramatically introduced to the world back in May through the images of her very darken skin that she obtained through extensive use of a tanning booth. For the past month she has refrained from tanning and her images are stunningly different. You could say she looks 100% different. In May the concern was that she had done severe damage to her skin and that there might be dire consequences in the future. You might look at her external appearance now and say, “Wow, the human body really has a way of repairing itself and recovering from repeated abuse.” Through her changed appearance you might come to the conclusion that she has changed her behavior and her obsession with tanning. The truth is the damage to her skin may be deeper than external appearances reveal and her attitude regarding tanning may not have changed at all. Just as her extremely tanned skin did not reveal her heart or inner self, neither does her fairer skin. The same is true with sin. The external appearance or behavior of an individual does not always reveal the real heart of the person.
In the recovery process for men that struggle with sexual addiction, their external appearance or behavior may take on several transformations. When their sexual sin is exposed and the ugliness of their behavior is brought into the light of reality, it takes on an ugly repulsive appearance. The façade of having it together is stripped away and many people are repulsed by what they see. Many people when they first saw the images of Patricia back in May were repulsed and asked “How could this woman do this to herself and her family?” Such is the case of the exposed sexual addict. Many of his church brethren are repulsed by his sin and turn away from him. “How could this Christian man do this to himself and his family?” Christian sexual addicts that are brave enough to continue in their recovery will begin to change their behavior. They first stop their sinful behavior and begin godly and healthy behavior. Those around him notice this change in behavior and begin to believe he has truly changed. You may look at the tanning mom today and come away with the same conclusion. When dramatic external change occurs then we often assume that internal dramatic change has occurred. This does not mean that God can’t make dramatic changes in a person because he can and still does. It means that for us as humans it is sometimes hard to tell from the outside appearances.
Psalm 38:55 My wounds are foul and festering Because of my foolishness. (NKJV)
My experience with counseling Christian sex addicts is that they can maintain this positive behavior and image for about 3 to 6 months and then they begin a path of relapse. This does not mean that what they were doing for 3 to 6 months was not real or genuine. It means the heart or core of their addiction was not dealt with or healed. Without a heart change then the plant of sexual addiction grows back. For most men the heart of their addiction has nothing to do with sex. Many of these men have deep wounds or unmet needs that the addiction medicated or numbed for many years. When they stop medicating these wounds through their sexual behavior then what they are left with are their wounds.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted. And binds up their wounds. (NKJV)
The only one who can heal our broken hearts is our Savior. He does bind the wounds of the sexually addicted. God has always been about changing the hearts of men and not just their behavior. He so much wanted this deep change and healing that he sent his Son and his Holy Spirit so we can experience His healing touch. Many men that seek help for sexual addiction are doing it to please someone such as a spouse or parent. This does not produce a heart change nor does it address the core issue of the wounded or broken heart.
Patricia Krentcil stopped tanning because someone challenged her to go for an extended period without tanning. I am sure there was no malice in this challenge and only concern for her health. The question still remains, “Has her heart, motives and desires changed?” The first step in sexual addiction recovery is for the addict to stop his behavior. At the appropriate time he needs to deal with his core or heart issues. If he does not then the plant of sexual addiction will grow back. Restoration Path is a ministry that is dedicated to being used by God to deal with the heart of sexual addiction. Our goal is to not only pursue restoration and healing for the addict but also for his entire family. Learn more about our ministry at www.restorationpath.org.