Amazing Grace Redeems My Thefts

26 05 2007

Scripture:
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 2:1-5 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

Observations:
I often think I am the smartest man on the planet.  If people would just do it my way, the world would be a lot better place.  I have the answers, the insights, and the wisdom to lead others into a better way of living.  Of course I don't really think this way, but I sometimes feel this way – or worse, I act this way.

I've spent the last few decades moving forward and growing.  I've grown intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.  I've grown in so many ways, it is difficult to understand the profound changes I've experienced.  Most of these changes have been a result of God's intervention in my life.  Too often, more than I care to think about, I don't give Him enough credit.

Do I really fear the Lord.  Beyond respect, do I fear Him?  Do I acknowledge His works in my heart and soul?

Application(s)
This morning I awoke early.  Like a couple of weeks ago, I had a persistent thought in my head.  The thought this AM is related to the one from before about dying to myself, but starts to get much more real and authentic.  Almost too real to share here.  But if I can't be transparent here, how will I ever achieve transparency anywhere in my life.

One of my issues from the past revolves around lust and sexual addiction.  Designed as a beautiful gift from God, it is easy to begin to worship the creation and forget about the creator.  God made women beautiful and attractive for a reason, but any good thing, taken to an extreme can be destructive.  I have strayed too far and too long in this secret sin of indulgence.  I have focussed to deeply in the pit of sexuality.  It held me firmly in its grip and held me much too tightly.

I have apologized and asked for forgiveness from God many times.  I've apologized and made amends to the people I've hurt through my behaviors, but this morning I felt true remorse for my transgressions – everything from the simple to the disgusting.  Sometimes a simple glance (a stolen peek at someone else for the purpose of my selfish pleasure) is a theft.  I steal their privacy.  I've stolen a peek of their intimate body parts without permission – or the right to do so.  Even if the individual gives me permission, it doesn't mean I have the right to look at what God has not granted.  Whether it be in a magazine, online, or real-life, unless God has granted me the right – through marriage – to be with that person, or look at them intimately, I have no right to do so.

Suddenly this morning, I awoke thinking about the many women I've viewed inappropriately.  I saw them as daughters of the Lord.  What would I do if their earthly fathers had "caught" me looking at them inappropriately?  How would I have acted if their earthly fathers had been in the room with us?  Or in the car?  Or on the dance floor?  Would I have looked at these women online if their father were seated next to me at the PC?  Would I have behaved the same way if I knew my actions were being monitored by their parents?  Suddenly I realized these are God's daughters and He was present when I behaved the way I did.

Marriage is different.  My wife's father gave her to me.  Her heavenly father blessed our union and gave me permission to be with her.  This is a holy joining of two people and it is appropriate for us to see each other and to experience the pleasures of the sexuality we were created to enjoy.

But this is not true for the thousands (millions?) of women whose photos are displayed in skin magazines and porno websites.  It is not true for the women I've dated or been in significant relationships with.  And it is certainly not true of the women walking through the streets of the city.  I have to right to take anything from them – especially their sexuality and femininity.  Not even casually.

My brother told me how he caught a man stealing a glance at his then 12 year old daughter and how ticked it made him.  Does God get ticked when I steal a glance at a 35 year old woman?  Does God get ticked when I look at a naked woman in a magazine?  Is God hurt when His daughters display themselves for all to view?  Is God wounded, like a human parent would be, when a woman allows herself to be used to sexually pleasure a man who is not her husband?  Is God hurt when a man surrenders to his base instincts and is pulled in by the idolatry of sexual pleasure:  worshiping the creation and not the creator?

I think so.

I spent the morning, before I got out of bed, apologizing to God for not being respectful of His daughters.

When I've heard a man comment disrespectfully of my women friends, I have an instant dislike for that man.  When I see a man look upon one of my friends for the purpose of receiving sexual pleasure – even the smallest twinge of lust – I am appalled.  Even with my daughter at a very young age, I am protective of her sexuality:  I don't know which men out there receive pleasure from viewing her nudity, even at two years old.  I am sure my protective instinct will be loud and clear as long as I am able to proclaim it.  I will teach her to do the same.  I am equally protective of my wife, my nieces, and all significant women in my life.

And yet, I've been a hypocrite.   I have not treated other women the way I want the women in my life to be treated.  I've stolen glances, peeked at exposures, touched women that were not mine to touch, and flirted with possibilities that will never be – can never be.  I have sinned. 

"Woe is me, for I am undone!"

Prayer:
Thank you God for revealing this to me.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to apologize.  But most of all, thank you for Your amazing grace that covers these sins and gives power to overcome the lust and addiction that is to powerful for me to battle on my own.  If I were held accountable for this evil in my heart, I could never do enough penance to overcome the wrongs committed.  If I were told to overcome this vice on my own, I would collapse in despair and surrender to the immediate pleasures of my lust and forgo the delayed gratification and peace that can only come from you.

Thank you for rescuing me Lord!

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!!

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