The Depth of God’s Love
At the root of most sexual addiction is a pivotal event that instilled an ongoing anger in a person. Almost all sexual acting out is based on this anger. Not only is it a poisoner of sexual purity, it affects every aspect of our lives.
We can operate in one of two ways. As a victim or as a survivor.
Whichever way we choose, it will affect every aspect of our decision-making. As a victim, we rationalize our failures, ignore our opportunities, and dwell on our hardships. As a survivor, we strive for success, grasp our opportunities, and dwell on our blessings.
The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Article of Faith 1). The second is baptism.
I know that for me, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ preceded my baptism. I remember that faith well. It was purer and simpler than ever it has been since. It began for me at a very young age and constitutes my earliest memories.
As I ply my brain for those memories, my first conscious memories of thoughts about Jesus coincided with my first memories of thoughts about my mother. I remember sitting in a small chair in an outer office, feet dangling above the floor, looking up at a painting of Jesus, and hearing my mother’s voice in the adjoining room. For most people, the earliest thing we can remember is our mothers.
Around the same time, I also have memories of my first abuse, a molestation perpetrated by a male extended family member. I truly cannot place one memory chronologically in front of the other. As I got older and left the realm of the influence of the first abuser, I found myself in the clutches of another, more terrifying abuser.
At the same time, I remember preparing for baptism and feeling a childlike faith in Christ. When I think about those years, despite memories of painful and horrific scenes of being molested and beaten, I remember a happy, contented, and spiritual boy who really enjoyed life and felt closeness to God.
As a teenager, I watched the film, “The Hiding Place,” the story of the years Corrie Ten Boom spent in a Nazi prison camp with her sister, Betsie. In the narration, Corrie Ten Boom recalled and paraphrased something her sister said as she lay dying. She said, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
For me, that epitomizes the nature of my childhood. There was nothing that could be done to me that was bad enough to overwhelm the love I felt from God. It didn’t really lessen the pain of things like having a lit cigarette touched to my arm or the shame of being forced to perform sexual acts. Those things were as painful and degrading as they would have been for anyone, but thinking of Jesus could soothe anything for me.
In the great hymn by Charles Wesley, “Ye Simple Souls Who Stray,” he declared, “Riches unsearchable in Jesus’ love we know…”
For me, the riches are the sense of wholeness I feel no matter what happens to me, what unkind words are said to me, and what mistakes I make. The depths of God’s love can penetrate any problem if we will have faith and open ourselves to it.
The path out of sexual addiction and any affliction is to open our hearts to the depth of God’s love and understand ourselves as he sees us and feel about ourselves as he feels about us. It is the path to the wholeness that only God can provided by joining his infinite greatness to our individual worth. Without God, man is nothing (Moses 1:10). With God, man is everything.
I am as persuaded as the apostle Paul, when he said:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38–39).
However unwhole we may be, we are whole when we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The more we understand this, the more we will make decisions as a survivor of abuse and cease to order our lives as victims.