Again, these quotes and the outline for this series of posts come from the book, Every Heart Restored: A Wife’s Guide to Healing in the Wake of a Husband’s Sexual Sin; by Fred & Brenda Stoeker. I hope that this helps in your personal restoration, and leads you into a greater understanding of your husband as well as a deeper relationship with him!
This next section will be dedicated to the wounds that “explain why men can’t always escape as quickly as you’d hope for or expect.” We will look at three places from which this wounds come from; the church, family and men themselves through their own lack of discipline.
The Stoekers explain that “the most common e-mails we receive from wives contain this haunting cry: ‘My heart is shattered and the pain is unbearable… Please, please convince me that this is not about me. If I could only believe that, I know I could make it.’ We believe that the most important part of your healing process is helping you understand that his sin is not about you. It is our hope that (this next post) will finish this job in your heart.”
I hate that the church is included in this section, but it is here for good reason. The church has not called men to be men or Christ-followers to be holy. Instead we shy away from calling people up to the standard that they should be living.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because there are improper for God’s holy people. (Ephesians 5:3)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
“In our quest to remain hip and relevant, our churches have become irrelevant to the greatest issue of our day, playing right into the hands of the Enemy whose clever temptations reveal a deadly understanding of male sexual hard wiring. This type of stuff goes on even in church settings, and we barely notice anymore.”
Fred goes on to outline different circumstances in which the church was trying to be relevant, but instead fell short by allowing images and lack of right teaching to gain a foothold in young men and men’s lives, which Satan can use to exploit them and their wounds. By way of example; how many movie clips have you seen in a church setting which the whole movie would not be appropriate? I am not talking about only R rated movies, because if we are truly concerned about the “pops” and visual nature of men, then we must ask tough questions when it comes to what we show and do in our church services and ministries. Not to be legalistic, but what are people wearing on the stage?
We also need to take a hard look at what we are teaching men in our church.
“You already know that our male hardwiring is prone to addictive lusts of the eyes. Now you can see how our own churches wound us with their desire to be “relevant,” promoting and approving the very things that rev a guy’s sexual engine into the red zone. Once there, however, masturbation eats our spirituality alive.
It would be one thing if we could do nothing about it. The truth is, many guys think we can’t because of the teachings of the church. For instance, one old train of thought still riding the rails today declares that masturbation is a certainty and the virile teenagers and single males cannot stop masturbating, no matter how hard they try. Calling masturbation ‘forbidden fruit’ only makes the practice more attractive, which means we should deemphasize the embarrassment since that only pours needles shame onto young males’ heads.
In defense of those who give masturbation a free pass, they make the assumption that young males’ sex drives are fixed as high as a kite and can never drop nearer to earth. Given that assumption, they feel they must declare masturbation kosher, and in that light, the only humane, reasonable thing to do is to lift the burden of shame and guilt from their helpless young shoulders altogether, leaving them alone to masturbate in peace.
But their assumptions are false. The sex drive isn’t fixed, and masturbation isn’t as physically and emotionally harmless as many think. Masturbation is an addictive practice, and there’s no doubt that the false intimacy of masturbation turns men inward as they struggle with loneliness rather than turning them outward to God and to others for their intimacy. And as for the shame, given that we know so much more about the issue these days, discussions with our young men about masturbation needn’t be shaming anymore.
After all, the ability of the male eyes and mind to draw sexual gratification from the world is simply a fact of life for guys. With all this foreplay of the eyes going on, and with no guidance on what to do with these feelings, the result is understandable. There’s nothing defective in them, so why be ashamed? They’re just normal guys who need to learn to manage their sex drives. That’s just part of becoming a man.”
Today’s overwhelming blitzkrieg of visual stimulation has our engines running at high idle at all times, and if our youth pastors and pastors are longing to be relevant, they might formulate some relevant defense strategies for this fast new world. Granted, cold showers and exercise never worked very well, but to assert that nothing works in this battle is ridiculous and irresponsible, especially considering the era we’re living in.
Husbands and sons simply stumble on in their warped sexual behavior, wondering why they can’t get control of themselves, trapped by the church’s silence. Meanwhile the sheep bray foolishly on, saying ‘I’m glad our pastor is finally talking about movies in his sermons. Now I don’t have to feel guilty about watching them.’
What are we thinking? Oh, we begin innocently enough, hoping to soften things up to make things comfortable for the seekers sitting in the pews. But we’ve forgotten that the primary call of the local church is to equip the saints, and by approving practices that play against our natural wiring as men, we’ve not only failed to equip them, we’ve emasculated them as leaders. No wonder our men are slipping so easily into sin.”