Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Category: Abstinence (page 1 of 10)

Old Scars and New Hope

Broken_Heart

Look closely at my forehead and you’ll see a diagonal scar. It is about an inch and a half long, and I will never forget the night I acquired it. I still remember falling and bashing my head on the edge of the swimming pool. I remember my dad forcing me to lie down, knowing that blood running down my face would terrify me. I remember the slight stinging sensation as the nurse prepared my wound for stitches. I remember the large bandage that they secured to my forehead. I remember playing in my grandmother’s back yard before returning home. I remember it all vividly, as if it were yesterday.

This memory is now over 30 years old. It will be with me forever, just like the scar on my forehead. I’ll always have this scar, but it is healed now. It doesn’t hurt anymore.

Physical scars are easy to see, but many of us also have emotional scars. Maybe you still have emotional wounds—memories that still hurt and “bleed” just like any skin laceration. There’s something I’ve noticed about sexual sin—it seems to carry more shame and guilt than almost all other forms of sin.

I’m writing this post for those who have made major relationship mistakes. This especially applies sexual immorality, but can also apply to bad decisions in general. There is hope for those who are brave enough to start making better choices.

Consider this passage from the Old Testament:

Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Nathan replied, “Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the LORD by doing this, your child will die.”

After Nathan returned to his home, the LORD sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused.

-2nd Samuel 12:13-17

This passage is part of one of the Old Testament’s most famous scandals—David and Bathsheba. King David first spotted Bathsheba as she bathed on a rooftop. He inquired about her and discovered that she was a married woman. He proceeded to invite her to his home and seduce her, which resulted in a pregnancy. He eventually arranged the murder of her husband to hide his own sin.

There was only one man brave enough to confront the King—the prophet Nathan. Nathan delivered a message of both forgiveness and consequences. I hope to do the same for you.

I wish I could tell you that there are no consequences for our behaviors. This is simply not true. If you’ve given away your virginity, there’s nothing you can do to get it back. Virginity is a one-time gift, and nothing in the world can change that reality. If you’ve watched pornography, some of those images will stay in your mind for years to come. If you’ve become an unwed mother, the course of your life has been permanently altered. None of these things can be undone, just like David’s sin could not be undone.

Fortunately, there’s more to the Bible than a list of consequences. David’s life was forever changed by his sin, but David was forgiven. The Bible tells us that he repented and admitted his sins to God (see Psalm 51). If you are willing to do this, God will forgive you—just as he forgave David (see also 1st John 1:9). God will not change the past, but He certainly can change your future!

Why change? Let me give you the following reasons:

First and foremost, you can live with a clear conscience before God. When you repent of your sins, you can enjoy true intimacy with God. You no longer have to be fake or “plastic” with God. You can freely invite Him to bless every aspect of your life, knowing that nothing is hidden from Him in the first place. You can sleep peacefully at night without having your conscience bother you.

Secondly, you can live without fear of further consequences. You have two choices: 1). keep making the same mistakes and follow a downward spiral, or 2). Live in the freedom that comes with obeying God. If you choose the second, you can stop worry about the physical, emotional, and physical consequences that come with sexual immorality. Leave those fears behind, along with your past life!

Thirdly, you can demonstrate a changed character for your future spouse. As I’ve mentioned before, I believe we have to be honest about our past. It may not be easy to tell a potential spouse that you’ve given away your virginity. The shame is only multiplied if you’ve continued to repeat this same mistake in many relationships. Imagine, for example, telling someone that you made a mistake ten years ago. Now, imagine having to confess multiple sexual partners (some of which are recent). Which is more difficult? Which would you rather say? Which would you rather hear? By making better choices, you can better prepare yourself for a lifetime commitment of marriage.

Sin (especially sexual sin) has a way of wounding our soul. God will heal these wounds if you let Him. Scars will be left behind, but these scars won’t hurt anymore.

David paid a high price for his sin—his life was never the same. David learned the value of God’s forgiveness through a painful process of restoration. The Bible ultimately assessed him as a man who was “completely faithful to the Lord” (1st Kings 11:4). His mistakes, severe as they were, did not define him.

By the way, David and Bathsheba did have another son. Maybe you’ve heard of him—his name was Solomon.

Note: This post is a excerpt from my first book: Basta LoveLife, Making Wise Relationship Decisions.

This article is one of many you’ll find in my book: Basta LoveLife: Making Wise Relationship Decisions. – See more at: http://kevinsanders.org/2007/01/the-male-sex-drive-blessing-or-curse/#sthash.XdynE42t.dpuf
This article is one of many you’ll find in my book: Basta LoveLife: Making Wise Relationship Decisions. – See more at: http://kevinsanders.org/2007/01/the-male-sex-drive-blessing-or-curse/#sthash.XdynE42t.dpuf

Dangers of Premarital Sex

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything about premarital sex.  Maybe part of the reason is I’ve been more interested in reading and writing about married life.  The emphasis of my ministry has also changed since moving here to Angeles City (I don’t spend quite as much time with students as I used to).

But there’s another significant reason for the lack of new posts:  I just haven’t thought of anything new to say about this topic.

Today I decided to remind everyone of some of the consequences of sexual immorality by referring to articles I’ve written before:

There are physical consequences, like unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (herpes, HPV, etc).

But I usually spend most of my time writing about the emotional/spiritual consequences of premarital sex:

Regret:  having to live with things you can never go back and change.

Emotional Baggage:  damage from previous mistakes being brought into your future marriage.

False Intimacy: a false sense that your relationship is actually better than it really is.

The Downward Spiral:  Setting yourself up for future mistakes.

God’s solution to avoiding these consequences is simple: you have to avoid sexual temptation the same way you would a hand grenade.  Think about the consequences before you act and you’ll save yourself from a great deal of suffering.

Note to my readers in the Philippines: please read Basta LoveLife if you’d like to learn more about this topic.

Marital Sex: Intimacy God’s Way

The Only Picture From Our Honeymoon

For years I’ve been writing and speaking about the dangers of premarital sex and other forms of sexual immorality. I was a single campus minister, and I believe this gave me a special empathy for singles struggling to stay pure in our X-rated world.

But now I’d like to share my perspective as a married man. I have experienced sexual intimacy as God intended, and words can hardly express what a blessing it is. Sex is a wonderful gift when it is expressed within the marriage covenant!

Here are three blessings of marital sex:

No Guilt

Many students and singles have contacted me after falling into some form of sexual immorality. All of them have expressed guilt, shame and regret over their choices. Sexual immorality seems to have its own unique brand of crippling emotional consequences.

But sex within marriage has no guilt—zero. Regret simply isn’t part of the equation when a husband and wife enjoy sexual intimacy.

No Danger

The consequences of sexual sin don’t always stop with the emotional (as if that isn’t enough). There are often physical consequences, such as an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease (my second book, Learning the Hard Way, has several testimonies of broken hearts and lives).

My wife and I don’t have to worry about any of these issues. We are planning to wait a while before starting a family. But an unexpected pregnancy would not mean an unwanted pregnancy. Our child (and my wife) will enjoy the security of an intact family.

There’s also no danger of sexually transmitted diseases because we are faithful to each other.

Emotional/Spiritual Fulfillment

The Bible describes sex as a “one flesh” bond. You simply can’t reduce it to an inconsequential physical exchange. God designed sex to be a meaningful and precious component of married life.

My sexual partner is my life partner, and I can’t imagine it any other way. Pleasing each other is part of a much bigger picture—each experience is a joyful step in our lifelong journey together. The profound implications of this “one flesh” union go beyond our personal satisfaction. Sexual intimacy within marriage actually brings glory to God. We can rejoice in knowing God Himself delights in our love!

I’ll conclude with this encouragement:
Don’t settle for cheap counterfeits. Sex as God intended is worth waiting for.

Note:  I’d highly recommend engaged/married couples check out the book entitled Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

Love vs Lust: Differences

It’s been a long time since I’ve promised to write part two of my post on love vs lust. This is something I talked about on our radio show a while back, and I’ve been meaning to write out the points.

Love vs Lust: Part 1 was more of an introduction—I wanted to clarify that not all attraction is evil.

Now I want to go into greater detail on the differences between love and lust.  I think you’ll find love and lust are worlds apart in their essence. Here goes:

Difference #1 Lust is Inherently Selfish, while Love is Selfless in Nature

Lust is all about me: what I want to do and how I can be gratified. The object of lust is nothing more than a means to an end or way to meet my own wants. There is little regard for the impact my behavior will have on anyone else—especially the object of my selfish desires.

The Bible describes sexual immorality as something that wrongs, defrauds, or takes advantage of another (1st Thessalonians 4:6). This is the nature of lust—usually someone gets what he wants at another’s expense.

Love, on the other hand, always puts the other person’s needs first. I’m not saying we enter romantic relationships with no thoughts of our own happiness or fulfillment. Having said that, a loving relationship is about two people who are mutually concerned with each other’s well being.

Difference #2 Lust Can’t Wait, but Love is Patient

Lust says, “I must have, and I must have now.” Immature, short-term thinking drives lust. This is another reason lust is so dangerous—people are fooled into doing something without considering the long-term consequences of their behaviors.

But “patient” is the first adjective used to describe love in the 1st Corinthians 13 (vs. 4). Love inspires us to delay gratification and think about long-term plans.

I like the way Pastor Rick Warren summarized these first two points:
“Love can wait to give, lust can’t wait to get.” 

Difference #3 Lust Deceives and Damages, but Love Brings Life and Truth 

Lust says, “This will make me happy.” Those who believe the empty promise are ultimately let down. It may be as simple as disappointment with the all-too temporary nature of the thrill.

Tragically, the fruits of lust and sexual immorality are usually much worse: loss of self-respect, emotional baggage, unwanted pregnancy, and in some cases, life-threatening diseases. I’ve heard the stories first-hand, which is why I wrote Learning the Hard Way

But love enhances, builds, and creates life. “I love you” are the most important, life-giving words we can hear another speak to us.

Genuine love is also grounded in truth. “I love you” should mean, “I know you, and I love you anyway.” We can give no better example than God’s love for us—He knows us intimately (better than we know ourselves), yet He has chosen to love us anyway.
The ultimate expression of his love, of course, was sending His Son to die for us.

We never regret making choices based on genuine Christ-centered love–it brings life to us and those around us.

Love and lust could not be more different.  I hope this post has helped you understand this. 

Learning the Hard Way

 

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