In January of 1984, I had my crises of truth. I was a Christian who’d backslidden into destructive sexual behaviors, and the conflict between my sexual and spiritual desires reached its peak. That was the beginning of my recovery and, oddly enough, the darkest time of my life.
All my porn had to go, of course. I had my cable service turned off, canceled my subscriptions to erotic publications, then located another place to live in another city.
Only then did it hit me that I’d ruined everything good I’d been given. By indulging in my sins, I‘d abandoned a fruitful ministry, a loving family, great potential ‘ all wasted in a public, shameful way. And the more I thought about it, the more I sank into a bottomless disgust with myself. I began sleeping through the days, then waking up horrified at myself, remembering what I’d done, each time seeing it in a worse light. I’d cry, thrashing around in my bed in fits of weeping and moaning.
On the last night of Jeanne Mayo’s National Youth Conference she encouraged all of us to be contenders–to get in the boxing ring of life and fight off our enemy. She portrayed a beautiful story of a youth leader reaching out to a young man in his youth group who wasn’t really engaging. Soon they developed a spiritual father-spiritual son relationship. A few months passed and the boy got involved sexually with another girl. The youth leader confronted him, and the boy stopped talking to him. Reactively, and feeling like a failure, the youth leader went home and looked at pornography. He became even more hopeless–thinking he could never break the porn habit.
While all this was going on, two guys were in an actual boxing ring on stage, fighting. The “youth leader” was pummeled to the ground by the “enemy” after failing with the student, and then again after looking at porn. Before the referee counted to three, the student from the story got up from the audience and ran up on stage yelling, “Don’t give up! I need you! Please get up. Don’t stop fighting. I need you!” Then a whole horde of other students came up on stage, cheering on the youth leader to not give up. They needed him.
The presentation was powerful. We all have the potential of impacting other people. What we do in private will affect who, and how productive, we are in public. God wants to use us. When you’re caught up in sin or addiction, remember who you’re impacting–because it’s not just you. You’re impacting people you haven’t even met yet. You’re impacting those already in your life. When I saw the presentation on stage, I immediately had a vision of my future kids (God-willing) running up to my boxing ring during the dark times of my struggle saying, “Daddy, don’t give up. We need you!” I wept, knowing that my decisions do impact others, even those little ones that haven’t even been born yet.
Joe finished his post out with this:
Be sorry for your sin, by all means. But don’t wallow in shame. Instead, take the time to prayerfully consider how God can convert your worst failures into useful opportunities. You just might be amazed at the genius lurking behind the wound.
Be a contender in the fight against the enemy. Contend for freedom and fight the enemy of shame. Remember, your actions impact other people. We can contend for our soul, our ministry, and for the people in our lives. Or we can continue to hold on to shame despite Christ bearing it for us on the cross, and hinder the impact and influence He wants to use us for. So when you’re in the boxing ring of life–fighting against an addiction, relational problems, insecurity, or whatever else–don’t give up. Someone needs you! Though you may fall, rise again. Keep fighting!
“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.” – Micah 7:8