It was a beautiful, powerful and redemptive weekend of pursuing the continual healing of our hearts as men who need release from sexual addiction. It was a blessing and privilege to help lead these men even as God continued the deep work He is doing as He restores my own heart.
On Sunday some men testified that prior to the weekend they had given up the fight, but they had regained hope as God worked with them in the sessions and small group times. Others were just starting the journey and hungered for freedom in a raw and desperate way they never had before.
We talked about shame, fear, guilt and our tendency as men to hide. We were brutally honest about the way we have run to porn, some even to adultery, and a life of lust — as opposed to authentic love — in an attempt to medicate our pain.
Our attempts to soothe our insecurities; to deal with our inadequacies; and to protect ourselves from pain have led us to places we never thought we would go.
And yet God’s mercy and grace reach us even there. Perhaps, especially there.
My brief message to the men Sunday was about the way we see Jesus’ heart in the Gospels, particularly John 11, when he raises Lazarus from the dead. He is the great example of living with an alive heart. He was healthy. He didn’t turn to shame and self-condemnation when Mary complained that if Jesus had arrived more quickly Lazarus would not have died. When others accused him of not doing enough, Jesus was unfazed.
At the same time He was not operating with a calloused or hardened heart. Instead, Jesus, was deeply moved and troubled in spirit; He cried at the death of Lazarus.
An alive heart connected to the pain of others while at the same time having the strength to move with conviction toward its purpose and calling.
I want that. In order to have that, my heart must be healed, and that process is painful. But it is worth it.
Another amazing thing about Jesus was His ability to be in the presence of women, even those who were showing intimacy (washing His feet with tears and drying it with her hair) and not lust. He rescued the woman caught in adultery and set her free without asking for “a little something in return” for His generosity.
Genuine love without the taint of lust. Amazing.
He could be that way because His heart was whole and healthy. God longs to give that to us also by making us alive with Christ, as Paul describes in Colossians 2.
When Life breaks in it’s brilliant, invigorating, inspiring and liberating.