Preface: Earlier this year, I battled an ongoing sin in my life and emerged victorious through the strength of Christ. What you are about to read was written in October as I processed through this life-changing time. No doubt, it’s honest – so prepare yourself. This is a part of my story. Welcome.
Go ahead, you can tell her. She will listen. She loves you. She can help.
These words were whispered into my heart time after time as I sat in front of a computer screen, connected to my best friend thousands of miles away via a webcam. A lull would arise in our conversation as we updated each other on the ins and outs of our lives, the struggles and the joys, and I heard gentle encouragement from the Holy Spirit to say it out loud. Confess it.
“I am addicted to sexual temptation.
And every time, I would open my mouth to say it and then press my lips together, saying nothing. Shhhhh, Satan would whisper, drowning out my good intentions. She doesn’t need to know. Once you confess it, you’re going to have to deal with it. It will just be your personal secret that no one knows about. Everyone has a “deepest darkest” secret, right? Keep it in the dark. I made my choice, and I brought up a new subject.
This went on for the better part of a year and a half in countless Skype dates. I knew I needed to get out, and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Yet I kept it quiet. When I did tell someone, he used it against me and pushed me and himself further into the addiction. I was scared of being judged and scared of the consequences of my sin… and scared I might have to give it up.
My heart was transformed by the Gospel, no doubt, and it desired purification and wholeness and Christ-likeness. I longed for a full, whole relationship with the Lord, with no secrets and dark corners that I hoped He wouldn’t expose. But in a little shoebox in the corner of my heart sat that dirty little secret, only brought out in the dark and in secret. I would run to that box and open it to feel the most temporary happiness, and to fill that innate desire God has given each individual with something artificial and incomplete.
But one day, He poured light into that corner of my life, exposing to me the depth of the sin and the filth of my actions. With glaring pain and discomfort, I saw clearly that I had been acting like a put-together little Christian girl who barely even needed grace because she hardly ever sinned. Sometimes I lied a little bit or said something mean, but I went to church and led Bible studies and knew apologetics like the back of my hand.
And then at night, sometimes I couldn’t sleep until I gave into the lust of the flesh.
Finally, in His timing, the Lord brought me to this sin and pointed it out, in His infinitely gentle and loving way. To see the dirty, wretched sinner I was… it was devastating. The guilt and shame wrecked my heart, and I could barely speak to God.
My heart cried out the same prayer as David after he realized his sin with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God. Have mercy. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.
Then, the simple truth of one verse crashed through the walls:
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
While I was a sinner. While I walked right past Jesus, standing there with open arms, to go to my computer and find new websites with better sexual images and words to fill my mind with.
Christ died for me.
He knew that I would still reject Him, and that I would say in public that I knew Him and loved Him while going home and deliberately sinning against Him. And, heart full of love for me, He laid down on that cross silently and allowed them to drive nails into His hands. In doing so, He stepped between the Almighty Judge and me after I received a guilty sentence and said, “Give me her punishment.” And on top of that, He will escort me into His kingdom so that I can be there with Him forever someday.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
He is faithful. But not only is He faithful because I acknowledge it and thank Him for it in my life – He has been faithful all along. He is true to His promise. He has said: “I am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” No matter how dirty our sins are, God has taken them away and removed them “as far as the east is from the west.”
What other response can I have to this amazing grace than to do all that is in my power to abandon my unsatisfying fleshly desires and pursue my Redeemer with reckless abandon? Is there any other response that is appropriate? I have no choice but to fall on my face in humility and follow this kinsman-redeemer to the ends of the earth.
Needless to say, after these truths smashed through the walls I had constructed, I was so overwhelmed with the goodness of my God that I couldn’t help but share it in a couple places with the faceless mass of people I call my followers. And just like that:
The silence was shattered.
My best friend now knows about this sin in my life, and she’s helping me set up accountability software with X3 Church. Half a dozen girls have come to me to say, “Me too.” And we’re working through it together.
Chains be broken. Lives be healed.
For five years, I filled my mind and my heart with images and words and emotions that I cannot erase. I want to burn up that corner of my life and throw away the ashes. I wish there was a file in my mind that I could simply delete. Maybe someday, by the infinite grace of God, those images will leave my mind.
But for now, I am resting in His infinite grace and mercy, and He has freed me from my chains – and He will catch me and forgive me every time I slip and fall.
Satan builds his strongholds in the secrets of our lives and reinforces them by our silence. When we break the silence we break the strongholds.