What are you doing?
The 5th and final “Talking Point” has to do with the reality that when someone experiences a real breakthrough, there is an authentic desire to help others be free. With new life comes a deep desire to help others dealing with the same struggle, or any struggle. The addiction kept the addict self-centered, and only obsessed with themselves. That really is the nature of addiction. In sexual addiction it’s all about the addicts orgasm. They want the hyper-stimulation, and the pleasure of the release without the emotional investment, or vulnerability that comes with a real relationship. That is why often a guy who is hooked on porn can’t, or won’t be intimate with his spouse, and instead will settle for an online mistress, and masturbation.
But when transformation is really taking place, we become less self-centered, and more concerned for others. So often we hear the addict say that “it’s only hurting me,” again, this is evidence that their world still evolves around them. When the light really comes on, their eyes are opened, and they see the devastation caused to those around them, as the song says, “I once was blind, but now I see”. If you’ve ever toured a neighborhood hit by a powerful tornado the day after the storm came through, that is what it is like. In the midst of the storm no one really knows how bad things are. When the light of day comes, the real nature of the catastrophe can be seen. In the wake of the storm of addiction, when the light has dawned, the addict is horrified at the pain and loss of others around them. Three things emerge from this realization:
#1 Remorse is the emotion of personal regret. It is an acknowledgement of actions that negatively impacted others. It is to say, “I wish this had never happened”.
#2 Restitution comes because after acknowledging the pain one has caused there is awakened a desire to make things right. Though not everything can be corrected, with sobriety comes the burning desire to seek forgiveness, and make amends if at all possible. It often means seeking someone out who was hurt by your actions and asking for forgiveness.
#3 Revival remorse and restitution make way for personal revival. In humility the once self-absorbed addict is given new life from within. It’s as though someone used a defibrillator on their soul. They see things differently. There isn’t the narrow squint that porn causes. Revival means that their spiritual temperature has been turned up!
Revival however is short lived if the addict isn’t moved to action on behalf of others. If you are a christian you may wonder why there is the let down after a great time of being spiritually uplifted. No doubt, part of it simply has to do with the mundane nature of living as a Christ follower. But perhaps a bigger part of it, is that we made it all about us. Much like the addict, we focused only on getting as much out of the spiritual high that we could, with very little thought of how our changed lives could serve others.
It doesn’t have to be that way for any of us. When our lives have been transformed we must respond to that urge to help others. Even if it is only in a small way, it matters. It may be as simple as making your home available for a group to meet in, or perhaps you could volunteer to lead a group. Or it may simply be, that you so live your life, out of the God-given peace that you’ve been given, that others take note, and seek you out to understand how they can have the same.