The current message trending is, “Do what you need to do in order to avoid pain.” The world we live in is confused about the meaning of feelings, the role of feelings, and who gets to feel what feelings.
Since our capacity for sexual purity is so closely connected to our emotional health, this conversation matters.
Culturally, there have been different expectations for men and women when it comes to feelings. For some men, revealing their “emotional side” has been interpreted as showing weakness. Meanwhile, the expectation is that women are supposed to be in touch with their feelings. Even religion has played a role in pushing down how we feel. Many Christians believe emotions indicate a lack of faith, a degree of immaturity, or even the presence of sin.
In pursuit of purity, we have to address our hearts, not just our behavior. If you’re struggling with habitual sexual sins, you may be feeling confused about the role of feelings in your life.
Do you let feelings rule your life or do you cut off your emotions? Or both?
The sexual addiction cycle is about stifling pain. It begins with a trigger of discomfort, then peaks in the euphoria of orgasm to numb the pain, and results in grief over the repeated failure. That grief resets the trigger to start the whole cycle over again.
Your pain and discomfort are not only normal, but they are clues to inform us something is wrong, something needs attention. One reason the sexual addiction cycle is so destructive is because it refuses this God-given red flag.
Part of breaking free from sexual sin is learning how to stop the cycle before it begins. You can do this. Facing your feelings takes courage, determination, and awareness. One way to stop the cycle is through a practical exercise called Grounding. When a negative or hurtful feeling arises, plant your feet on the ground, inhale slowly, invite God into the moment, and ask Him for courage to face the feelings. Rejecting the presence of your emotions is a way of rejecting who God made you to be.
God’s own son, Jesus Himself, is called, “Man of Sorrows, well acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Scripture reveals Him as “moved with compassion” (Matthew 20:34), “disappointed” (Matthew 26:40), “deeply grieved” (Mark 13:34), “rejoicing” (Luke 10:21), “weeping in anguish” ( Luke 19:41), “visibly outraged” (John 2:13-16), and “crying loudly with tears” (Hebrews 5:7).
If Jesus felt these kinds of emotions, wouldn’t it make sense that you would too?
Theologian John Stott states, “From all this evidence it is plain that our emotions are not to be suppressed since they have an essential place in our humanness and therefore in our Christian discipleship.”
Let’s sit with that for a moment.
Yes, feelings can be hard because sometimes they reveal places within us that are weak, needy, vulnerable. To feel our emotions can mean opening ourselves up to the possibility of being hurt, disappointed, or out of control.
Christ is willing to change you, heal past wounds, increase your freedom to be fully alive, and help you become the whole person walking in purity.
Are you willing?