I didn’t know where to start to right this story. I still don’t. So I will trust in the Holy Spirit as I write to say what He desires to say. I will be transparent as I always try to do with my life. After all Jesus knows my heart and intent.
When I was very young I was drawn towards things of a sexual nature. Somewhere around the age of eight or so there was an older woman who enticed and abused several of the more curious boys in my neighborhood. I being one of them. Well this lead into many other sexual adventures in my life. None that were healthy or helped me. I spiraled downward as a young man and later as a man. I had way to many secretes in my life. If you can think it up I experienced it. I became rebellious and had very low self-esteem being naturally curious I tried anything to take me away from what I was feeling. I fell deeper into my lies and depression for the sins I could not reveal and the temptation that pulled me in. I fooled most folks all the time. My life became a lie.
Now I will stop there for now about me. I wanted you to have an image of a very young boy broken and ashamed.
I was raised in a christian home by two wonderful parents who quite frankly did not know what to do with me. I think they knew more than they let on. This was the fifties and sixties and doctors still made house calls. Most of this stuff you didn’t mention.
Fast forward forty years later. I am sixty-one years old. I am older and grayer. I am tired and weary. A lot of the time my heart is either broken or healing from the last wound. This story so far should paint you a mental image of my secrete life from society and family, some of which will read it here for the first time. I didn’t tell it all. No need to Jesus has washed it white as snow. It has been forgotten and the price has been paid for all my sins.,heartaches and failures. Past ,present and future.
Here is the real story I wanted you to hear and search your hearts about.
I have endeavored to help families who have brokeness in their life’s specifically sexual addiction for some time now. This is not a very popular topic except in a back room or somewhere that nobody knows we are talking about it.m Yet it exist in our life’s. Many of us have family and loved ones who are caught up in sexual addiction and the draw of the spirit of Jezebel has a hold on them. We think poor soul I will pray for them. That is good that we do. However what we miss is their addiction and failure is not only destroying them and setting them up to be doomed eternally. It is destroying their loved ones and families also.
Secretes cannot and should not be kept. Especially amongst loved ones and brothers and sisters in Christ. There should be trust,love and forgiveness whenever possible with all folks. Forgiveness causes restoration and relationships to be built and become whole and healthy again. It is what God has commanded all of us to do.
Trust is key in forgiveness, it takes time to develop trust again and we have to rely solely on Jesus to help us begin that process. Whenever someone has betrayed our trust or harmed us to forgive them and begin the journey to wholeness again is all and what we have to do. As I said earlier without forgiveness we will be doomed never to enter into the kingdom of heaven and life on earth will be destroyed as well as our own lack of forgiveness will destroy others around us.
Does this sound like the work of someone you might know. Yes satan he is determined to take as many of us with him as possible. In fact he really does not care about us at all. Its God he wants to harm more than anything and he uses us as pawns to do this. This is why God commands us to forgive. For love conquers all. Only through Jesus does restoration take place.
Well I could go on indefinitely about forgiveness. For your sake I want. I fell my work is done there. Lets get to the point of this story. As I said earlier in my story I have for many years had a burden for families with sexual addiction. Partly because of my own past. About a week ago I sat down to read the newspaper. Which is unusual for me because I don’t read the newspaper. To much garbage and inaccurate reporting. That is for another day.
I was drawn to an article about men who here in Oklahoma had been released from prison and with our laws here and because of their crime have been labeled sex offenders. This laws apply’s to women and legal age children also and will follow them the rest of their life’s. Well I read that article and shared with my wife that to continue to address this issue in this fashion was going nowhere for no one. I shared with her that my heart went out to these men. I had after all lived my own addiction and sin. I knew the torment it brings.
Well about a week went by and we were doing some replacing of appliances and had a couple we had set at the curb for anyone that wanted them. They still worked. Anything you set at our curb is gone quick. Later that afternoon a man knocks on the door and I hear him and Carolyn talking about something. I am never interested in what is at the door. I don’t want to get involved and Carolyn usually hollers Tom would you get that. After a bit as they lingered in their conversation I got up. There was a friendly looking fellow standing at the door visiting with Carolyn about our appliances. Quick as a wink I invited him as it was a hot day. Not like me. I don’t want to get involved but my kindness always wins out. So in he came and we set in the living room and began to talk. about the oven and stove top. It wasn’t long and he began to talk about himself. He was from the church across the road from me and had just came from a funeral service there. I knew the pastor and his family well so we visited about them and such for a while. Then out of the blue he tells me he is on the board of directors for a ministry dealing with men who are sex offenders. Now how many folks are going to come to your house and set down and talk to you about sex offenders even more show up at the door of an man who ministers to families with addictions. He shared with me for quite a while and then Carolyn and I prayed for him and we exchanged numbers and promised to stay in touch. A few days later I get a text to invitation to a water baptism of some of the fellows that have been released from prison and are dedicating their lives to Christ. Excited would not describe how I felt. He also wanted me to meet the man who started this ministry. Men coming to Jesus excites men like crazy. Here is where the rest of the story begins.
There is a pastor who has done jail house ministry here for many years. Through this ministry he was asked by these fellows if he could help them find a job and place to live as their sentences were served. He told me that at first he thought are they scamming me. Some are known to do so and are good at it. However though through the leading of the Holy Spirit and much prayer he began an effort to try to give a hand up (hence the title to this story) to some of these fellows.
The problem he faced was the law and lack of trust and forgiveness towards these fellows. Some of them had committed crimes that would not be forgiven. So when they came out and could find a place to live they were forced out of their shelter and into the streets to live and under bridges and in the woods. When they were found there they were run off as vagrants and unlawful because they had no jobs and were not trusted or forgiven. The law says they cannot live within so many feet of a school,church,playground or be anywhere around children. Man in America there is a church on every corner and playground in every neighborhood and school in every neighborhood.
The truth is a lot of these fellows got caught sleeping with an underaged girl in circumstances we do not really know about. We have to trust the courts to make these decisions for us. There is no way I can explain their crimes away or excuse them from the crimes they have committed. You can see now my reason to hesitate at writing this story. It is a difficult thing to be an advocate for a person that has committed a crime no one wants to forgive. Some folks jump on this topic and say let them suffer. I don’t care what happens to them. They come near my family and I will kill them .
You know the words these people use to describe these men and women and children, bothers me as much as the crime some of these folks have committed. Brother Tom I can’t believe you said that. Do you know that slander is murder in Gods eyes. To not forgive dooms us to eternity in hell.
A short story. A fellow committed a crime with an underage girl got out of prison after serving his term. Gave his heart to Jesus realizing he had committed a crime that would follow him the rest of his life christian or not. Married a christian woman who had children and guess what. Child services came and got the kids and put him on the street. Who wins in this inability to restore life and forgive. Folks we have many social dilemmas in our world today. One of the biggest is our willingness to rehabilitate and restore the men and women that can be restored and are willing to be restored in our prison systems today.
Does society really believe prisons are helping everyone in them. Here is a thought. Did you know the largest portion of our prisons in America are privately ran. They are building them at an alarming rate. Locking folks up and throwing away the key and their life. We must and have to forgive others and try to restore. I know some that read this will think is he crazy. Well no I am not. I just have a great faith in God’s ability to change folks when we allow.
So you understand. We need prisons. There are folks in our prisons who should never get out. Forgiven yes! Let out no! We cannot write laws that will not let people live and be rehabilitated.
This pastor acquired some land and with his own money bought old house trailers and let these fellows fix them up and live in them. Well there were more than one living in each one at this time so someone gets wind comes in writes a law that says no more than one can live in the trailers because of risk factors. You guessed it over a hundred men thrown on the streets. These men do not get to live here because they just want to. They have to go to church, Which by the way they cannot go to a public church,so they go to church in the tent because they don’t have money to build a church yet. They use another tent for a garage to repair vehicles so the fellows can get back and forward to work. Yes they also have to work. Now these guys don’t mind using the tent. However the law say’s they cannot have a tent like that. So they have to take it down.
Do you get the picture? No forgiveness, no restoration. Life stopped when they did the crime or sin. Along with their sin many will die and be doomed to eternity in hell. You see some folks cannot forgive them. There is many scriptures to support this thinking I shared with you today. I try not to quote scripture. You either already know the truth or you have not bothered to look. I hope you will go look for yourself. Your life and others life’s depend upon you accepting the truth from the word of God. You see we cannot accept just what part of the bible we want to. It’s all or nothing.
My point in writing this story is to draw attention to these folks plight. That you would pray for them and search your own hearts. This is what Jesus wants for us to take a look inside. What lack of forgiveness for sins committed do you have. Below is an image of a water baptism I attended Saturday with these fellows. They have begun the process of restoration and a holy relationship with God and others. Will we accept them and others who have wronged us or will we choose death?
All my love Tom
The face of those you see are pastors the ones blurred are for the protection of these men. Professing a faith in Jesus. Take a close look at my tags for this story. These are just a few of the topics lack of forgiveness covers.