Thursday, September 27, 2012
Sexual Addiction and the Church: It's Time to Start Talking about It
Guest Post by S'ambrosia Curtis
While attending Kansas State University, I was involved in leadership with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We were a fairly small group compared to some of the more popular campus ministries, but we were a pretty tight-knit group of peculiar people, which is what kept me around for so many years. I loved the bonds we had developed. One night during our large group meeting, there was a young man that felt led to come forward and share with the group that he had secretly been struggling with pornography and masturbation. As he stood before us, shoulders sagging and eyes cast downward, my first inclination was not to throw stones at him, but to pray for him. As soon as he finished sharing his heart with the group, the consensus among the girls was to not only gather around this brother, but to gather around all of the males in our fellowship and pray for them. In the subsequent weeks following that night, other guys came forward to confess their struggle with pornography, and eventually an accountability group was developed to where the guys could meet on a weekly basis and challenge one another in this area.
That night remains one of the most influential moments in my life, because eventually it led me to the same point of confession.
What about the Women?
Unfortunately, though there was an ongoing support group for men in our chapter, the question of whether or not the women needed an accountability group for sexual addiction never even came up. We fully supported the guys and prayed for their accountability meetings, but none of us girls ever once mentioned our personal struggles with it. When I finally came forward a few years later and confessed, a few girls from the chapter messaged me and told me that they had struggled with it too, but they never mentioned it because they thought they were the only one. Never would they have guessed that the majority of the girls in the room had the exact same problem they were struggling to overcome. All that time, we could have put the enemy to flight entirely on this matter in our chapter, but because of fear, we all remained silent.
Confess and Be Healed
Many women within the church are facing the same issue. Because church has become a place where people feel as though they always have to wear their best face, it is extremely difficult for anyone to let the frailty of their humanity show. In James 5:16 we’re told to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so that we may be healed. If our churches aren’t providing the kind of atmosphere where people feel free to do this, we’re doing something terribly wrong. The entirety of what Jesus preached and what He walked out while He was on the earth was love God and love others. This kind of love goes beyond merely greeting your brother or sister in Christ Sunday morning and asking generic questions about their life. This kind of love knows very well the weaknesses of others, but chooses to delve into the nitty-gritty parts of relationship for the sake of seeing people set free. The greatest love of all had the power to set us free from sin, so you can imagine the power we can walk in as a Body if we allow Christ to love through us. This kind of love can cover a multitude of sins. The Church needs to learn to demonstrate that kind of love.
Just as this particular student knew that he would be safe if he shared a very personal issue with our community group, people need to know that they have a supportive body that they can be vulnerable with. No one likes rejection, so we must do our best as a Body to ensure that people don’t expect rejection when they come into church with a burden weighing heavily on their soul. Confession will not happen unless people are convinced that the problem won’t be compounded in the process of seeking help.
Strength in Numbers
Accountability is one of the most blessed aspects of being a part of a church. It can be maintained through a single partnership or within a group setting. Not every church provides, or is able to provide, a group setting for accountability, so if you find yourself needing some James 5:16 people to surround yourself with, I would encourage you to visit with a trusted woman from your church, a counselor, or your pastor. Share your struggle with them and as you begin to experience freedom, reach out to someone else. Talk to your pastor about starting a group within the women's ministry. Yes, this is a touchy subject, especially for people in the church, and you may not receive a resounding "yes" when you first step out there, but sexual addiction is also a major stronghold in the church that is causing multitudes of people suffer in silence, so someone has to speak up and spearhead a campaign to completely demolish the enemy’s plans for keeping us in bondage!
When I finally came forward and confessed my addiction, so many other women came forward to confess, and it eventually led to connections with young girls and women from all over the States and even overseas for me to support and keep accountable, as well as the opportunity to co-author a book on the topic to help others. Who knows what kinds of opportunities the Lord has in store for you and your church when you take your own leap of faith!
S'ambrosia Curtis is a graduate from Kansas State University, where she served on an InterVarsity leadership team for three years and developed a love for God and a heart for His people. She currently teaches English and sociology to middle and high school students at Salina Christian Academy and leads worship at NorthPoint Church in Salina, KS. Her main objective for whatever she puts her hand to, is to bring glory to the name of Christ, that He may receive the reward of His suffering.
S'ambrosia co-authored the book, "A Christian Woman's Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography: It's Not Just a Guy's Problem" with Shelley Hitz. During their book launch on 9/26/12-9/27/12, you can download a free Kindle copy and also enter to win over $450 worth of resources. Find out more at www.ChristianWomenandPorn.com