These are evocative words in the realm of pornography and lust.
Put Reveal, Exposed, and Desire in the realm of Jesus’ love and light – and the lens is shattered. Maybe you’re hiding an addiction to the pull of lust. Or maybe your secret is hidden in the imaginary world pornography offers.
Jesus sees you. And, Jesus sees beyond the hiding, beyond the secret and loves you.
We offer this episode as a session of Spiritual Coaching. Listen in as Josh and Kit encourage you to keep working past the fear of rejection to the realization that Jesus sees you and loves you.
Letting Jesus see you as you are is an important step to freedom, to healing. Redemptive Seeing is not an easy thing.
We get that.
It’s also not a one-time thing. The work of reimagining how you are seen and how to see takes just that, work. Learning to see ourselves the way Jesus sees us, despite our sexual sin, is the work of “Becoming Whole.”
Jesus is always seeing something that other people around him aren’t seeing.
He sees the true self, His original design is people. He sees the power of His redemption moving through the person.
when we’re in the midst of sin and shame is the very moment to invite him in
You might only think about your addiction to lust and pornography as a need for forgiveness. What if you were to think about that brokenness as a chance for healing?
One on One Coaching
John 4:1-26 Woman at the Well
Genesis 3:9 “God called out to the man, “Where are you?”
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
So as we start today, I want to just make this premise, I want to suggest to you listening that if you struggle with lust in any form, if you show the pornography, show with less than half of the people, then your problem is not a pornography problem. It’s not a lust problem so much as it’s a seeing problem. So a lot of times people come to regeneration with a loss problem. They’re trying to stop that they’re trying to not do that anymore. And I’d suggest that we actually serve ourselves better by instead of trying to not see the things that we used to last after want to do is really begin to learn to see the real person, the real human beings there. So Kate and I are going to unpack a little bit today. I’m not sure where this conversation
Go exactly, but there’s some good good stuff in here, I hope that will that will help you, either in your own life or in the life of somebody you love. So, so I want to make just a statement to begin with. And we’ll we’ll kind of dive in and unpack this a little bit.
This simple statement that Jesus sees Jesus sees.
Kit when you hear that, like, what, how does that I’m gonna put on the spot here, like, how does that connect to this, this issue of lust for us? What, you know, I do believe that I’ve thought a lot about this. I think I talk with clients a lot about it, that that this idea of
when we see ourselves or when we see others, there’s a lot of brokenness in it. But when Jesus sees us and Jesus sees others, there’s no brokenness. You know, there’s a purity and a realness that Jesus sees
That the rest of us don’t readily see but we can learn. And we there’s there’s something there for us.
I think that that idea like I, when I think about the scriptures, especially the New Testament, the Gospels, like Jesus is always seeing something that other people around him are not seeing. You know, he’s sensing something about the situation. He’s hearing somebody other people aren’t hearing he. He’s just it’s almost like he’s, it’s almost like the matrix is pulled away from his eyes. And he is he’s able to envision things, see things recognize some realities that the rest of us are just like, what what is he here? Yes.
I think about the woman at the well, I mean, he he saw her he knew more about her than, than she was comfortable him with him knowing Yeah. And then even at the end of that story, as she goes out, and he gets the whole town and says, Hey, come meet this guy who told me everything about myself.
The scriptures in there, john four says that he, he saw the crowds coming. And he felt compassion. He was moved with compassion because they were as like a sheep, like sheep without a shepherd. So he saw them differently than, than other others might have. Yeah.
And that and that beautiful story and Luke seven, you know, the immoral woman who watched Jesus’s feet with her tears. And he saw something so completely different than what anybody else was seeing, you know, and he even said, Simon, do you see this woman? And so there is a scene. And also when he chose his disciples, like, why did he choose those men? Those those people? He saw something he could see it beyond who they were in that moment. You know, thinking about like Matthew, you like he the tax collector, he he changed his life and Matthew became so grateful and thankful and full of seeing knew. And Jesus knew that before he ever chose him. So there’s a scene that he that we can learn from from Jesus.
Yeah, one of my favorites is Peter, as you know. And Jesus has some, you know, insight on where the fish are and all that. But that scene, I know, there’s something I’m not even sure I can completely unpack it. this great catch a fish comes in and Peter falls down at Jesus, it falls on the boat, and he says, leave me for I’m sinful man. And Jesus’s response was follow me and I’ll make you a fisherman. So there’s something in that, like Jesus saw something. Yeah, in Peter. And I don’t know. Like, I don’t know what you think about this kit, but I’m not like necessarily. I’ve heard people say stuff like, you know,
God has more faith in us than we have in ourselves. And so then, I think I get with that what people are saying there but there’s something in what Jesus sees. Like he sees that the true self hasHis original design and people, he sees the power of his redemption, working through that person. So it’s not like, you know, it’s not like he sees us and it’s like, you know, oh no, don’t worry about all that stuff that’s wrong in your life. I mean, he’s not ignorant of a woman that wants to well sin or Luke seven or signs, right? Or Matthews. It’s not like he’s, he’s blind to those things. He doesn’t care about them.
It’s also not like he he’s like, Well, I know, everybody else thinks that’s bad, but I don’t you know, you’re, you’re good to me. Like, we’re all okay. It’s not that kind of seeing. It’s, it’s, it’s, uh, you know, yes, I see that stuff. And I see something even so in you. It is valuable enough that given all that crap in your life, all the sudden all the bad choices, all things have been done to you.
You you retain such incredible value to me.
And if only you could see what I see and I want to I want to show you in some ways that we dumped
Seeing that’s a, it’s a good way to think about it.
So part of the reason I bring that up this this idea of Jesus seeing is I have this theory that I think it’s well founded, and after 20 years of ministry that, that so often the reason that people lost specifically the reason that people go to port pornographic material is because they, the people viewing pornography, like I used to, are longing to be seen. And there’s something about the the images of the naked body that communicates to the viewer that you you are seeing that kind of value like you’re seeing in your in your worthwhile and I think that’s what I mean by that is simply like, you know, God created sex between husband and wife to be this incredible intimate knowing where one one is saying the other.
You know, I choose you, and I give all that I am to you. And so, pornography is a is a twisting of that, but I think that there’s some
There’s some even, you know, false but you know, echo of that, in pornography that says, even though it’s not real, I see you and I give myself to you, you’re worth so much that I give my body to you let you see me in this way. And I think that so what my point is, I think part of the cure, to that desire to go look at pornography is is to allow the eyes of Jesus to see you and to be with him as he looks at you and see what he says to me and to engage with him there.
Yeah. And you know, that is something that we do as a part of prayer during spiritual coaching sessions is that’s a that’s a regular practice, in, in being able to get at some of these places, of, of wounding and hurt is to allow our imagination the sanctified imagination, to imagine
Jesus seeing us looking at us, and what that would be like, what that would feel like, you know what he would see what he would know about you. I mean, that’s a that’s a very powerful thing to do.
So, so let me impress them a little bit. So you’re, I mean, my impression of entering into that kind of prayer would be that for a lot of people, initially, that would be a scary thing. I mean, even that idea of like, you know, I’m going to stand before Jesus who can see everything I’ve ever done, you can see into the depths of me and knows my motives and all those things, to stand before the eyes of God. That can be a scary thing to do. So how do you would you know, be a little more detailed again, how does that you know what happens when you don’t do it?
The very first time you meet with someone, you know, you’re getting to know them, you’re getting to know how they feel about God, how they feel about Jesus, how they feel about themselves. And then slowly through the practice of prayer you encourage them to just be willing to, you know, to imagine Jesus and then to invite him to, to, you know, to be feel invited to be with him and then imagine so what is it like when he looks at you?
Do you sense that his kindness and his love so it’s a slow kind of exposure to the reality that Jesus does see who they really are and sees them with love and with acceptance and with value and worth.
So let me let me just refer minute on when you use the word imagine Can you imagine Jesus
I imagine that some people listening go Wait, like, you know, what’s that about? And I want to just clarify and you jump in if I if it sounds like I’m taking this in a direction that you didn’t intend, but a couple things first of all, anyone who is who is lusted ever on a compulsive level, anyone who’s looked to pornography has used their imagination has, has kind of, you know, turn the imagination on for the purposes of, of not seeing aspects of who that person really is. And instead seeing aspects of the person that are, in fact a fiction.
And so we’ve we’ve almost like, let her imagination we use our imagination to collude with the fiction of pornography, for our own selfish gain. Well, you’re talking about is really flipping that over and using the imagination. This used the phrase sanctified imagination, for the purposes that God intended, which is to help ourselves to comprehend to grasp in some way, the truth of God. So imagination is not is not a synonym for imaginary. Yeah, but but rather it’s it’s a god given aspect of our our mind and our hearts ability to conceive. The things that we cannot know in a natural way see yeah is that would you agree well said very well said and so yeah so I’m with you hundred percent I would just say like you know yeah use your allow God or maybe another way of saying it the same thing would be to cooperate with the truth of God by allowing him to tap into your your your minds ability your hearts ability to to see the things you can’t see. Yeah and we do find like he you know he we’ve got all these experiences of being seen by others and looked down on evaluated to stained found wanting, somebody looked at us and they loved what they saw. They may even pointed out things they saw they did not like and how painful that can can be. They looked on us with lost. And so to have someone else truly see us specifically God trulyto the depths of who we are, and to see us with eyes of love can be, that can be healing in and of itself Very much so.
And the the idea here is that as as we are, allow God to truly see us with his eyes of love, then some of that instinct that desire to then run to pornography, to use that fiction to try to help ourselves feel what we are not feeling. help ourselves to experience ourselves in a way that’s a fiction, that moment, the idea of allowing God to really see us then that desire to go elsewhere to try to have those that need for worth or meaning or connection that begins to diminish. And we begin to define that. No, in fact, I when I’m longing to be seen, I know who I want to go to. I know that the real one I want to go and I want to let him see me and talk to me about what he sees. Yeah.
So can I share a story I’m talking too much, but I did. There’s a clip that I think maybe demonstrates this a little bit. One of the things that we show in our, our group for men there’s a clip into many years ago it’s a an interview between Diane Sawyer and a young woman named Michelle, who was a porn star and she still may be I don’t know, but they, the camera crew on the state line special follow her around for weeks and weeks and get to know her and they learn all about how she got into the porn industry. And she shares about how much she loves it and great experiences she had. But she also sperrit shares about really hard painful things in her life both from before she got involved in porn, like how she was raped as a, I think a middle school or high schooler. Better parents divorce and maybe more shockingly, she also shares about really painful stuff that she’s experienced in the porn industry, like, you know, showing up to one of her first shoots and, you know, ready for one script and they start filming something that’s entirely different and it’s you. You know, the people she’s filming with, they’re just they continue rolling as somebody does something to her that she did not sign up for did not want to have happen. And it was degrading and humiliating. And she even describes how physically It was. It was painful. It was hurting her. And no one stopped. You know, it’s just kind of like, yep, that’s the way and I think after they done, they were done rolling their eyes. Yep, get cleaned up, like, and that’s what she’d been living in. Anyway, the start of this clip is, you hear kind of this voiceover from Diane Sawyer. And she says, you know, the more I talk to Michelle, the more I’m troubled by something and something unsettling that as much as she’s talking about all these things that have been really difficult for her and the suffering that she’s been through. She’s always smiling. Mm hmm. And they go back to the interview and and you hear Diane so you’re asked Michelle, she says specifically, like, you know, she pointed out that you know, you you share these things about suffering, but you’re always smiling. And then diane sawyer just gets quiet. She just waits and Michelle says something to the effect of it first, the smile, you know, just dips a little bit
But then she just kind of pulls it back. She says, Well, it’s because I like to hide.
She sounds almost flirtatious and coy. And then diane sawyer presses a little bit. She says, Why, like, what’s what’s hidden? what’s real? And, and then, long story short, Michelle begins to cry. And what she ends up saying is, I want people to think that I’m happy. Or I want people to see that I’m happy. But the truth is, I’m not happy. I don’t like myself at all. And then she pulls it back together and smiles again. And what struck me about that scene, it’s just such a powerful moment. And I think that Michelle, for that moment, maybe for the first time in a long time, maybe, I don’t know ever felt seen years, there was somebody who was listening to her, who, who was able to name you have suffered. And there was somebody who is willing to say like, and you’re smiling, and I want to know what that’s about, and I
It and that was an example of the power of being really seen. Because in that moment, she was able to let her guard down she was. And if you, if you if you freeze frame the beginning of that clip and the end of that clip, being a clip, she looks like a happy in charge, you know, actress porn star then the clip She looks like a little girl who’s hurting.
it’s a beautiful illustration of all of us. And in some ways, right how we put on a face put on an image, we’re okay, we’re all right. And pretend when deep inside we’re all really, really in pain and looking for someone to you know, kind of lovingly call, call that out in us like, you know, like happened in that clip and, and Jesus is the ultimate one to lovingly do that.
So Kit let’s assume somebody’s listening either. They recognize the way that they’ve been. They’ve been treated objectively, or they have treated others as objects. And so they’re like, Okay, well, you know, so how do I, how do I do this? How, how do I start if we, if really allowing to us to see us as a healing thing?
What do we, what would you say we can do to enter into that? What can a person listening do to begin entering into that?
I think one of the biggest ways is in those moments when we are most unlikely to want Jesus to come and see us when we’re in the midst of shame and sin is the very moment we invite him in. Because if we do, if he sees us in that moment, and we and we would experience His love, that begins to change everything.
I guess the I guess the thing I’d add to that is that you, If that’s you, you probably need some help. Yeah, I can help that somebody else present who can confirm, affirm, you know, this is true, like how Jesus is looking at you.
And it’s not a one time invitation. I mean, I’ve been working with, I could say this in my own life, and also just the women that I work with, like, it’s hard to do that. It’s hard to have the courage to invite God to invite Jesus into those moments. And it takes a while. And even after we do, it can still be a process. So you know, again, it’s one of those things that is an ongoing invitation, and an ongoing process of being able to do that more and more and more ongoing in our life.
And I love that too, because we’re really battling against what
What humankind has battled against since Adam and Eve I mean you’re saying in the places that you that you that you have that instinct to most not want to be seen like you know, I can’t be found out here I don’t want someone to see this because if I fill out fill in that story there fill in the rest that sentence I’d say you know, because if somebody sees this then it’s all over they won’t love me I’ll be exposed I’ll be humiliated I’ll feel more shame that’s the end of everything.
And Adam and Eve did that in the garden you know, they when they first send us what they did they they put on fig leaves and then ran to hide behind the trees. Yeah. And, and and I just heard somebody recently say that when God came in the cool of the day, and did not allow them to stay hidden. He said, Where are you? It actually his question was, was it was a grace to
Yeah, because he knew the danger of them staying hidden. And this is this is, you know, part of what we’re describing here is this idea of not keeping those parts hidden, but bring those before the eyes of Jesus and allowing them to see
Their automatic reaction naturally is to pretend to cover it up to hide. And so it takes time to say, okay, that’s not working for me.
I’m actually gonna take another, make another choice and, and, like, let myself be honest about this. And that, just that but, but invite God into it too. And, and, you know, we think we’re going to be rejected, and we’re not. And then it’s like, What? Wait, you see this, and you’re loving me right now. And then something happens spiritually that just, you know, you’re on a different you’re in a different road.
And you’ve seen people you know, people have experienced this because something happens to their store.
Things that they kept hidden kept secret. They they all said they’re, they’re talking about and maybe not with everybody but there’s, there’s a different way they talk about it. It’s not any longer kind of a, you know, a chain around their neck, choking them and declaring them you know, different defective dirty, defiled, whatever.
Now it’s just something it’s it’s a it’s a part of their past that has redemption associated with it, it’s a scar, but that but also has resurrection connected to it. And and even for some it can even it’s even a place of victory. You know, like, yeah, I used to do this, but then more and and not just other people’s stories, but my very own.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s that’s the way I feel about so much my story too. Yeah. I mean, it really is. It really is. It can be every it can be each one of our stories. It needs to be each one of our stories.
So the next place take us I mean that we could, we could spend a lot of time talking about that, and maybe we should but I, I think, I do think that there’s healing that takes place for those who have struggled with loss, there’s healing that takes place as we begin to find that God looks on us and loves us even in our sin, even in our brokenness. And it’s not just the things we’ve done. It’s also just, you know, deep feelings we have about ourselves, things that happened to us. Fears we’ve had, we’ve carried I mean, you name it. But in addition to that, I think there’s also can become a practice where we, we begin wanting to learn to see, like Jesus sees and so what we’ve just been describing might be said, you know, this is us learning to see ourselves the way that Jesus sees us and begin trusting the way he sees us.
And then from there, I think then we we can begin to say, God help me to see other people the way you see us. And, and that, that you know, anything from you know, I’m tempted to lust after this person. Who do you see I want to see the real person here, but also people
We would be tempted to look down on or that we you know typically think aren’t worth much. God help me to see who you see here help me to see what you see here.
So I think that it actually is only through this experience of being seen and loved by Jesus that does transform us to be able to see and love others like Jesus It really is. That’s what happens that’s what allows us to do it. Yeah.
So let’s Why don’t we Why don’t we close in and Kitand ask you to disclose for people thinking about specifically people who there’s something they’re carrying inside and struggles wanting to be seen. And then also just praying for those especially who who wrestle with you know, the tendency towards towards lusting and looking at others in a way that doesn’t really see them, wrap up.
Lord, you know that we all longed to be seen and loved in the way that only you can. But we don’t always realize that and so we are tempted and distracted by pornography or any number of other things that trick us into thinking that we’re going to be seen. But it doesn’t work. And so Lord, I pray for each one of us. And anyone who’s listening, just to help us to continue to trust you to allow ourselves to be seen and loved by you so that we can receive that amazing gift.
A blessing that only only you can give us.
So it’s a journey. It’s a process Lord, help us to not give up. Help us to continue on.
In Jesus name, amen.
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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.
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