The following is an excerpt from our book True Intimacy.
For the next month we will be posting a chapter a day for your reading (and marital) pleasure. However, if you would like to purchase an electronic or printed copy for yourself or someone else we would greatly appreciate your support! To go to the web page for more information click here.
For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He watches all his paths. His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin. He will die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he will go astray. Proverbs 5:21-23
In this proverb it talks about how our sins capture us, tying us up in cords. Our lack of knowledge will lead us astray and cause us to make mistakes. Our sins have enormous impact on our lives, especially when it’s not immediately evident.
Take Adam and Eve for example. In the Garden of Eden, God had originally commanded Adam: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) Then, later, in Genesis 3: 4 Eve has a conversation with a talking snake where he tells her that she will not “surely die”. And she believed him! She took the fruit… ate it… HEY! No death! Well, huh, no immediately evident death anyway. There was immediate death alright. The death of innocence, and the birth of guilt, shame and sorrow. That is what disobedience (sin) will do; it immediately births guilt and shame and sorrow; all things that God never wants you to live with.
Have you ever spent time just looking at a shadow? I mean really watching it? Everything casts a shadow, even glass. Old sins, those things we did when we were younger, those things cast shadows too. Each sin that goes un-repented is like a brick in the blessing blockade. The bigger the blockade the bigger the shadow it casts. At “high noon” when the sin took place, the shadow was small and barely noticeable (ie. “I was just sowing my wild oats.”) However, the longer the sin stays in your heart the bigger, longer, and farther reaching its shadow becomes. Someday, if you sit and observe the shadows outside, as time passes you’ll notice that the shadows get longer and begin to creep over other objects in their path. They begin to block out the light from the Son to those other things. That is what past sins from your life can and will do. The longer those sins stay locked up in the closet of your mind the bigger and farther reaching their shadows become. Eventually, they start creeping and covering other aspects of your life; blocking God’s light from touching them. I can’t speak for you my friend, however I know that I had old sins, and they were casting very long shadows. Those shadows were covering our marriage and blocking God’s loving grace from shining down on us. They were blocking out the light of my husband’s love for me, and they were blocking my love from truly reaching my children. These old sins, the ones that I’d shoved down into a teeny tiny box in the farthest corner of the back closet of my mind; they were the ones that were causing me so much grief. Sometimes the only way to fix a current situation is to go back to the beginning. Rewind time so to speak and fix the root of the problem and not just the symptom of it. For us, the root of the problem was our pre-marital sexual experiences: pre-marital sex, emotional adultery, and porn/masturbation/self-pleasuring (we’ll go more into depth on each of these later). These activities performed both before our wedding vows and after, could have ruined our marriage if they had continued to grow and “shadow” over other things. However, through the power of Christ, we are not only forgiven of the sins that we committed, against Him, ourselves, and each other, we were also freed from the “cords that ensnared us” and our sexual blessing blockade tumbled down!
One morning, early on in the writing process for this book, God gave me a very sobering and heartbreaking vision, one I’ll not soon forget. We were standing high on a cliff looking down on a large town. As I looked down onto this sleeping town it was like Earth had turned into hell. Almost every house was black, charred as if it had burned somewhat. Between the houses, rivers of lava flowed in the streets. The cries coming from these houses were mournful and desperate. But the cries weren’t from human lips; they were being made by human souls. Every living soul in every charred house was crying, mourning. God turned to me and said, “This is what sexual sin does to you. It brings hell to Earth.” As I’m writing this I just want to sob. My soul cries out, not for myself (at least not anymore) but for every living thing in those houses. Because I remember what it was like inside my house before God came in and remodeled it. My house was burned to a crisp! My sexual sin and my husband’s were burning our house down. It was tearing us apart. The stress in our home was palpable. My husband was never home, I was miserable, my children were unhappy, life was filled with tears.
Is your soul in torment? In the Garden of Eden, after they had eaten the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve hid from God. Are you hiding from God? Out of guilt, or grief, or shame? God knows where you are and He has come to you, in your place of hiding. He is standing next to you with His outstretched hand hoping that you will take it, stand back up, and follow Him. He loves you no matter what your condition and no matter what you’ve done. Really, no matter WHAT you’ve done. There is nothing under the sun that you have done that God hasn’t seen done before and isn’t willing to forgive. There is NOTHING you could ever do to make Him stop loving you, not even for a second. Nothing. Period!
Have you ever gotten a splinter in your finger and not been able to get it out? If left too long, the splinter will irritate you more and more. It will eventually get infected and swollen. It will start to affect your daily life. If left long enough, the infection could get bad enough that your finger would need to be amputated. Or worse, the infection could spread and your whole hand could be lost. Obviously, I’m being dramatic. I’ve never known anyone that left a splinter in their finger long enough for that to happen. I did hear about a guy with one in his foot, but that’s a story for a different time (and book). Anyway…
An old sin is like the splinter. The longer you hold onto that sin, the more it affects you. Everything reminds you of it. People, places, things people say. Eventually, you can’t stop thinking about it and it really starts to affect your life.
As you may have guessed, I’m the one that had pre-marital sex with other people; two girls in college to be exact. We have come to agree that if Tamar and I had not had sex when we did, I don’t think I would have had sex with those two other girls. After Tamar and I had “done it”, I realized what I was missing. I think I may be getting ahead of myself, let’s do a little history.
It all started when I was in jr. high. That’s when I started masturbating. Shortly after I took up masturbation, I started looking at pornography. (I learned later that God considers it adultery to look lustfully, and masturbate to, other women.) After a while, the porn became a tool for masturbation. (I’m using the word “porn” very broadly. I didn’t necessarily look at magazines full of naked people; I would also look at scantily clad people in Cosmo, or catalogs, or on the internet. I would even just read about people having sex. To me, porn is that broad of a subject. To this day, I still have to guard myself against looking at magazines and catalogs. Some of the images in them can bring some of those temptations back to the surface. The enemy will use all the tools at his disposal to get you to slip and fall.)
All of this finally built to a crescendo, the porn and masturbation weren’t enough. I “needed” physical satisfaction from someone else. Tamar was several hours away, so I found someone at school to get that satisfaction. Afterwards, it all started tearing me up inside. I started suffering from depression. I didn’t want to spend time with my family, friends, or anybody. I’d just sit and watch TV and wonder why my life was falling down around me. Because of this fast, I found out why. Keep reading, and you will too.