By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
Pastors have a remarkable opportunity to help Christians who are battling sexual addiction in Mesa Arizona. They can support in ways that no one else can. They have an influence that is distinct. There are some simple life applications rooted in the gospel of Christ, that will foster recovery. Application of these Biblical teachings can sustain those caught in the vice of sexual dependency in Mesa Arizona.
1) Urge Transparency. Those captured in the grips of sexual addiction will normally separate themselves. They could go to Sunday services, participate in study groups, and attend regular prayer service, but still feel emotionally alone. Also, their sense of guilt and embarrassment keep their secrets hidden. They wear a mask so others can simply see the facade they wish to portray. It may be difficult for them to confess, but behind the mask they are suffering. A poisonous message of identity is slowly developed, telling them they're unworthy and bad, that they do not measure up, and that they'll never not be enough. This dangerous shame starts to erode their self-concept as God's child. Openness is an active ingredient for rehabilitation. Those who do not discover how to live openly will be unsuccessful. It may feel unpleasant and require risk to open up, but your motivation as a pastor could make a large difference in their healing.
2) Model transparency. Whether from the pulpit or at Starbucks over coffee, assist your followers by demonstrating your own ability to open up. Show them strength through vulnerability. Show them it's unnecessary to hide your inner life. It becomes contagious within the church when you as the pastor will model openness. You will discover others within the church who start to do the same. It generates a healthy and balanced environment for recovery and change. In addition, plan for a possible outpouring from those who may have been isolating. When the church setting encourages disclosure, people will come out of hiding. Do not be surprised when this happens. It's an essential aspect of God's healing design.
3) Teach the congregation. Weave information regarding this issue into your sermons, your small group discussion, your youth ministry, etc. Furnish believers with appropriate info. The realization that some people are addicted to sex could generate an environment that allows the addict to come forward. They might really feel inadequate as a Christian since their willpower has failed them. When you openly talk about the problem, it urges open discussion within the church membership concerning the topic. Hopefully this generates a community of compassion.
4) Encourage assistance. Advise those who are having a hard time to come out of hiding. Aid them to identify support ministries, friends and mentors that can with patience walk beside them. No one can overcome these compulsions in secret. Shame thrives in an environment of hiding and secrecy. Establishing a support network is essential for every sex addict's development.
5) Reach out in compassion. Sexual addiction triggers a sense of failing and insufficiency. Help members of your congregation (both young and old) to see that you love them despite their sexual sins. Sometimes addicts hold embarrassment that prevents them from admitting their problem. The grace of Jesus Christ can diminish the shame that encourages addiction. A new creation arises when God's child experiences genuine love. Jesus came to save us, not to condemn us. He desires healthy connection for us with those around us. He wants us to commit to sexual behavior within the bounds of devoted marriage. When we stumble into sexual sin, he still loves us! "Come unto me all you who are weary and I will give you rest," (NIV) Matthew 11:28.
As the plague of sexual addiction falls upon Mesa Arizona, pastors can help to encourage healing. With God's guidance, you can help support their recovery. Please call us if you'd like to consult with a counselor who specializes in sexual addiction recovery in Mesa Arizona: 480-668-8301.
 "From the Shadows-- Understanding Sexual Obsession," by Patrick Carnes, 2001.