The Path of Freedom (part 1)

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God broke the chains of sexual sin that held me prisoner for 25 years.  Not only did He break the chains, He led me out of prison and I haven’t looked back since.  I want to describe what happened that night and summarize what it’s been like to walk the path of freedom with God. 

On November 30th, 2016, I made a series of horrible decisions that resulted in me being unfaithful to my wife.  I was 35 years old, had been married for almost 10 years, Maty was five months pregnant and I’d been in bondage to sexual sin since I was 11 years old.  Looking back now, and reviewing what I wrote in my journal, despair seems to be the best word to describe how I felt.  Any hope I had for the future was lost.  I started to believe that my life was over.  Shame dominated me.  The following is what I wrote in my journal on December 1st:  What am I to say?  What am I to do?  By myself I am a broken sinner.  The only thing I know how to do is follow my flesh and walk in destruction.  Oh, God, I cry out to You and at the same time I hide my face in shame for I have sinned against You, Maty, and myself.  How can I stand? This will take time.  I’m broken. 

While writing those words not only was I thinking about what I’d done, but I was also thinking about 25 years of failure.  It all started when I was 11 years old.  An older boy who I knew sexually abused me numerous times.  All my sexual boundaries were shattered.  Soon I was hooked to pornography.  As I entered high school, I was sexual active with numerous girls.  I never felt fulfilled and always knew something was wrong.  But I continued.  After a while, I was introduced to strip clubs and the dark world of lust that goes along with those types of establishments.  As time went on, I still knew in my gut the struggle was tearing me apart inside, but I didn't stop.  I also didn’t tell anyone. 

In 2003, I gave my life to Jesus.  Once I made this decision, there was a season of purity.  I asked God to forgive me of all my sin and I placed my faith in Jesus.  A few weeks after I was baptized, I was transferred overseas for my job.  My new life was exciting and presented an opportunity to start over.  I poured myself into my work, enjoying the Belgian countryside, studying, and serving in a local English speaking church.  For the first time in my life, I was not caught up in sexual sin.  I was pure and determined to remain so!

But human determination often disappoints.  While in Germany on a work trip, I had dinner and drinks with my coworkers.  Later that evening while socializing, I met a lady and one thing led to another.  I remember going back to my hotel and standing under the shower crying for what I’d done.  I was hoping the water would wash away my sin.  It didn’t.  Sorrow was overwhelmed by shame.  That shame silenced me. 

I tried to move on with my life and was determined to be more careful.  But that didn’t last.  Not long after, I was back into my old habits.  My relationship with God was strained.  I prayed for forgiveness and tried to stay pure, but I couldn’t.  This pattern defined my life all the way until last December. 

There were times over the 25 years when I wanted more than anything to be free, but after so much sin, I believed that I would be in bondage until I died.  But after being unfaithful, I was at the end of myself.  While crying out to God all night and having the chains broken in one moment, I started to see clearly for the first time in my life.  I decided that night to change, but this time I wouldn’t rely on myself, I would rely on Holy Spirit.

That night I confessed everything to my brother and my best friend.  They responded in love and grace and helped me in those initial days.  I started to pray, study the Bible, and journal about what I was experiencing.  The way I describe that experience best is that I met God at the foot of a mountain trail.  He looked at me and I looked at Him.  He placed His hands on my shoulder with a tight grip and said, “I’m proud of you son, are you ready?”  I took a deep breath, looked at the path before us and looked back at Him.  “Yes, I’m ready”, I said.  And then we started to walk.