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When Pastor Knute Larson, former Senior Pastor at The Chapel in Akron, recommends a book, I think we all should heed his suggestion. In my personal library is one in particular he recommended, which also happens to be co-authored by two other dear friends of mine.  Pastor Arnold R. Fleagle, the former Lead Pastor at Stow Alliance Fellowship, and Dr. Donald L. Lichi, a licensed Christian Psychologist and current Vice President at EMERGE Counseling Services, teamed up to write The Broken Windows of the Soul: A Pastor and Christian Psychologist Discuss Sexual Sins and the Prescription to Heal Them.  A lot of high profile men who have recently been both accused and exposed for their inappropriate sexual misconduct would have done well to read this book and put its recommendations into practice rather than choosing to ignore early red flags and warning signs leading up to their horrific behavior.

The Broken Windows of the Soul compares broken sexual behavior to “The Broken Window Theory.” This theory suggests that a community can reduce crime and maintain social order when small problems are fixed promptly. Alternatively, minor vandalism (such as broken windows) when left unrepaired, sends a message that no one cares-inviting more serious crimes.  This theory has respected data to support this postulate.  The destructive nature of infidelity, sexual perversion, and pornography and its effects on the culture and Church are significant. Unless the cracks are quickly repaired, more “broken windows of the souls” are to follow.

A Facebook post by my nephew, Pastor Zac McDonald, Lead Pastor of Access Church in State College, Pennsylvania, puts the sordid revelations into perspective.  For my blog this week I’ve borrowed the word he used to introduce his post, EXPOSED.  Here’s what he had to say.

“We are living in an interesting time. One day someone is at the top of what this world would define as success and the next day they are a national disgrace.  Who will it be tomorrow?  It’s the latest celebrity, politician, businessperson, faith leader, and everyday Joe. You have to wonder how many people will go to bed today with the fear of being EXPOSED tomorrow. Take your life so seriously that you refuse to relinquish control of it.”

As we get ready to enter the winter season in the Greater Akron Area, preparations are being made for housing the homeless once severe temperatures hit because exposure to freezing temperatures can lead to death.  For some high profile personalities, the exposure of their misdeeds has led to the death of reputations, careers, and marriages.

What possesses an individual to sexually violate another person?  There’s no one simple answer, but the root reason is that they chose to surrender to temptation which led to sexual sin.  Although all sin is equal in the eyes of God, and sexual sin is not harder for God to forgive, there are some sins that have greater consequences and greater impact on a personal and interpersonal level for both the victim and the perpetrator.

Dr. Jack Hayford in his book Fatal Attractions: Why Sex Sins Are Worse Than Others, gives more than a psychological answer to the question I posed above, but also shares a theological one as well.  Dr. Hayford shares that sexual sins have greater consequence and impact because it stains the root of an individual’s identity, exploits the deepest aspects of their emotionality and pollutes the fountainhead of their highest creativity. The aftermath of the impact of a sexual violation and its relationship to the mental health issues the violated has experienced is dreadful indeed.

Obedience to St. Paul’s admonition in Romans 6:12-13 is not only wise but also makes clear logical sense.

“Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings {and} be subject to its lusts {and} evil passions.  Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer {and} yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.”

One of the keys to resisting temptation is to acknowledge the triggers that are pulled when one is vulnerable and susceptible to sin.  Dr. Lichi and Pastor Fleagle share that many times people are most vulnerable or susceptible to temptation when they are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.  Did you notice that making an acrostic using the first letter of those four words spells HALT? That is exactly what each of us must do every time we feel the pull of temptation.  We need the power of the Holy Spirit to halt when sinful urges, thoughts, fantasies, or desires come knocking on our door.  The Apostle Paul told Timothy, his son in the faith, to run when temptation rears its ugly head. Read slowly those words from 2 Timothy 2:22. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Emerge Counseling Services provides 8 questions all of us should regularly answer to an accountability partner at any time they ask.

  1. Have you been with anyone, anywhere that could appear to be compromising?
  2. Have you entertained any inappropriate fantasies in your thought life?
  3. Have you viewed or read any sexually explicit material?
  4. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity?
  5. Have you spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?
  6. Have you given priority time to your family, and I would add, marriage when it applies.
  7. Have you been faithful in your work for the Lord?

I want to offer one last suggestion.  There are Internet accountability and filtering sites that not only help filter websites you visit but also allow you to list an accountability partner who will receive a report of the sites you’ve visited.  Bondage hides in secret, so perhaps consider this as another safeguard you can put in place, particularly if you struggle with pornography or are prone to spend large amounts of time online.

Let’s not let a crack in our lives become something we allow to grow into a broken soul.  I recently read this prayer, which I think is an appropriate way to end.  “Lord, keep me from any foolish sin for which I will be remembered after I am gone.”

One Coment, RSS

  • Liz Ray

    says on:
    December 7, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Mark, what an excellent prayer for each of us to pray, “Lord, keep me from any foolish sin for which I will be remembered.”