The other day I was talking with a friend who struggles with a gambling addiction. He said, “I’m doing ok now, but I can’t promise that I won’t ever gamble again. I’d just be lying to myself.”
That really got me thinking. Can we ever really be free of our struggles? At our best, are we just putting off our next relapse? What a troubling thought! For us pedophiles, there’s very little margin for slip-ups. We can’t surrender to temptation just once in a while… that results in kids being hurt. We have to win this war.
My friend decided to illustrate his point. On the linoleum floor were lines going across, and he put his foot on over one of them and said, “I can try to get myself across the line; I can try really hard and get close. But, I can’t seem to get across completely. The truth is I’m not sure I want to.”
And there it is, finally out in the open! The truth is that I’m not sure I want to leave this struggle behind. The reason is that part of me likes those feelings. They’re pleasurable, even if they’re wrong. Sexuality is part of our biology, and my brain’s wiring connects kids with sexual feelings that are… pleasurable. It’s hard want to let go of that completely.
Looking at my friend, I was reminded of the poem by Mary Stevenson…
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”
I think we find here the answer to our dilemma. We can’t ever get across that line ourselves, but if we let Jesus carry us, he can take us where we could never arrive on our own.
In the Bible it says, “I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer. He enables me to walk on my high places.” (Habakkuk 3:19) Pedophilia is definitely a high place in my life – a craggy mountaintop with deadly falls. But, God promises to make us leap and bound like deer over the challenges in our lives.
Jesus invites you and me to come to him: “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29) He has an answer for us!
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 41:10. God says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” What that means is that God will strengthen you to face the challenges, and if that’s not enough, he will actually help you himself. And if help isn’t enough, he will actually carry you.
Jesus says, “Come!” Let him give you a piggyback ride! Just a little further each day. He’s strong enough to carry you and me; God isn’t beat by pedophilia. We can live in victory, even though we have this condition. And when we look backwards, we’ll see that he walked the journey with us.