My counselor asked me to share my story with a group of pastors recently. The Pastor’s meeting was focusing on ministering to the broken and he thought my story would be helpful. He also asked me to share how ministers helped me through my sexual addiction recovery and how they could have helped me. Most of my thoughts have to do with the Crisis Stage of Sexual Addiction, the immediate few months after my secret sin was revealed.
Here’s some of what I shared:
TWO WAYS MY PASTOR FRIENDS HELPED ME
They loved me enough to confront me – My two pastor friends found out about my computer usage a couple of weeks earlier. They lovingly waited for the right time to confront me and spent a lot of time thinking through their strategy knowing that it would bring my family to a screeching halt and put our new church plant in jeopardy.
They helped us financially – The director I worked for was able to help our family out with a couple of month’s pay while we were leaving our church and preparing to leave the area.
WAYS MINISTERS COULD HAVE HELPED ME
Being safe people to share with – Many ministers we have been around don’t feel safe. Safety is much more than confidentiality. It also means love, grace, compassion, mercy. Instead, we have felt condemnation, anger, and outcast like lepers by some ministers.
Pointing us toward resources – It took us a long time to find resources. We thought we were alone.
Helping us find a support structure – Our ministers didn’t have to be the experts for us. We did need ministers to help us find God in the midst of our crisis. Ministers should point us to experts – counselors, ministries, other individuals or couples who could help us.
Walking in the mud with me and my wife – We were told by our minister friends that they would help us through, but there was little to no follow up. We never felt like they were committed to walk in the mud with us. Instead, we were quietly encouraged to leave and go find help somewhere else.
Special support for my wife – My world blew apart, but my wife had the biggest shock. She felt very alone. She struggled with her own issues related to my addiction. She was forced to take over leadership in our family and make decisions. In the middle of her trauma, she went into survival mode. She thought she was alone.
Most of our help through my sexual sin has come from outside of the churches we’ve been a part of. We’re not angry at our ministers, just sad that they weren’t better equipped to help us, especially in the first few months of our crisis.
I hope my story and these tips are helpful to you as you work with people in your congregations and parishes who come to you with sexual struggles.
Jeff and his wife have been helping so many individuals and couples by sharing ther story and experience. They do this through their ministry Porn To Purity. We are very blessed to have someone like Jeff & Marsha prvoide their insight for everyone here.