Blazing Grace Radio Episode

How to Help the Sexually Broken

Recorded: Apr 06, 2021

Listen to the live broadcasts in Arizona on Faithtalk 1360AM, Fridays at 3:00PM, in Las Vegas, NV on KKVV 1060AM, Mondays at 3:30PM and in the United Kingdom on 90.1 Hope FM, Sunday and Monday nights at 9:00PM. Also listen to the all of the show episodes now on our Podcast Page, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or iHeartRadio.

  • Listen on Apple Podcasts
  • Listen on Spotify
  • Listen on iHeart Radio

Listen to the Podcast:


Blazing Grace Radio
Blazing Grace Radio
How to Help the Sexually Broken







/

Unfortunately many Christians are told “Stop it!” is the answer when they go for help for freedom from sin. Telling someone “Stop it!” ignores the battles with the flesh and the enemy, fails to equip the sexually broken on how to be an overcomer, and can drive them further into isolation. It also reveals the arrogance and lack of love of the person who dispenses such advice so quickly. In this episode Mike shows how we can help the sexually broken.


Episode Transcript:


ANNOUNCER:

This radio program is PG-13. Parents strongly cautioned – some material may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13.

Jesus’s mission was to comfort those who mourn, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to captives, and open prison doors for those who are bound. For those who want more than status quo Christianity has to offer blazing Grace Radio begins now. And here is your host, Mike Genung.

MIKE GENUNG, HOST, BLAZING GRACE RADIO:

Hey, Mike Genung here, and welcome back to Blazing Grace Radio. Good to have you along. Coming to you from Phoenix, Arizona, Valley of the Sun. And I want to start out today with some announcements of some events we have coming up.

On April 24 – so coming up just in a few weeks – we’re holding a From Porn to Grace Conference in Porterville, California – that’s a little north of Bakersfield. It’s going to be held at the Porterville Adventist Church on Saturday, April 24. It’ll go from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., and these conferences that we do are for men and women, and for anyone from youth all the way into their seventies, and anyone who wants to dig into what the whole recovery and healing process is about for those who struggle with porn addiction, or do want to heal from it. It’s not just 3 hours of me speaking, because you’ll forget 95% of what I say ten minutes after you walk out the door. But there’s also times we break up, I’ll break you up into small groups of two or three and have people sharing with each other and praying for each other. So it’s really a powerful time. We’ve done these conferences – we’ve been doing these conferences for several years in the US and in Europe. It’s always a blessing to those who show up, so I really hope you can make it. We’re also talking to other people about conferences in other areas, and we’re always open to doing a conference outside the US. So this is not just American thing only.

Then in May, around May 20, we have our Wives’ Retreat, and that will be held in Bula, Colorado. It’s in a beautiful place, about an hour and a half southwest of Colorado Springs. And it’s a small retreat, meaning we don’t do more than seven or eight women, but it’s very powerful. Ladies, we equip you on what it looks like to deal with triggers, it’s a time of healing, a time of rest, a time of sharing with other women, other wives who are going through what you’ve been going through with the pain and trauma of your husband’s porn and sex addiction. So I want to encourage you to… if you’re a wife listening to this, consider coming to that and you can go to the website for more details at blazinggrace.org.

Every Wednesday now we’ve begun a Zoom prayer meeting, because right now where we are, prayer is so powerful and so much needed. So we built an online prayer community, I’m calling it the Rogue Church. So every Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. US Central Time, it goes for 1 hour. People show up and we pray for each other and pray for our countries. We’ve been having people from all over participate, not just the US, but we’ve got people from Canada, in the UK, and Germany, and other countries show up, and also in Africa, too. So it’s really what I hoped, is it would be an international prayer community. So if you’re hungry for being around a group of believers or community believers who have a heart for prayer, then that’s for you, too.

So today I’m going to get into how we can help the sexually broken. So if somebody comes to you and they’re torn up – either a man or a wife – and they want help, what do we do and how do we approach them? So I’m going to preface this by sharing a six minute audio clip that gives you an example of what NOT to do. In this clip, it’s around 15 years ago, Bob Newhart is a counselor, and so I’m going to go ahead and roll that clip now.


[BEGIN AUDIO CLIP]

CATHERINE BIGMAN:

Dr. Switzer?

Dr. SWITZER:

Yes. Come in. I’m just washing my hands.

CATHERINE:

I’m Catherine Bigman. Janet Carlyle referred me.

DR. SWITZER:

Oh yes, fear of being buried alive in a box.

CATHERINE:

Yes, that’s me. Should I lay down?

DR. SWITZER:

Oh, no, we don’t do that anymore. Just have a seat. And let me tell you a bit about our billing. I charge $5 for the first five minutes, and then absolutely nothing after that. How does that sound?

CATHERINE:

That sounds great. Too good to be true, as a matter of fact.

DR. SWITZER:

Well, I can almost guarantee you that our session won’t last the full five minutes. Now, we don’t do any insurance billing, so you would either have to pay in cash or by check.

CATHERINE:

Wow. Okay.

DR. SWITZER:

And I don’t make change.

CATHERINE:

All right.

DR. SWITZER:

And… go!

CATHERINE:

Go… What?

DR. SWITZER:

Tell me about the problem that you wish to address.

CATHERINE:

Oh. Okay. Well, I have this fear of being buried alive in a box. I just, I start thinking about being buried alive, and I begin to panic.

DR. SWITZER:

Has anyone ever tried to bury you alive in a box?

CATHERINE:

No. No, but truly, thinking about it does make my life horrible. I mean, I can’t go through tunnels, or be in an elevator, or in a house, anything boxy.

DR. SWITZER:

So what you’re saying is you’re claustrophobic?

CATHERINE:

Yes. Yes, that’s it.

DR. SWITZER:

All right, well, let’s go, Catherine. I’m going to say two words to you right now. I want you to listen to them very, very carefully. Then I want you to take them out of the office with you and incorporate them into your life.

CATHERINE:

Should I write them down?

DR. SWITZER:

Well, if it makes you comfortable. It’s just two words, we find most people can remember them.

CATHERINE:

Okay.

DR. SWITZER:

You ready?

CATHERINE:

Yes.

DR. SWITZER:

Okay. Here they are. Stop it!

CATHERINE:

I’m sorry?

DR. SWITZER:

Stop it!

CATHERINE:

Stop it?

DR. SWITZER:

Yes, S-T-O-P. New word: I-T.

CATHERINE:

So what are you saying?

DR. SWITZER:

You know, it’s funny. I say two simple words, and I cannot tell you the amount of people who say exactly the same thing you’re saying. You know, this is not Yiddish, Catherine, this is English. Stop it.

CATHERINE:

So I should just stop it?

DR. SWITZER:

There you go. You don’t want to go through life being scared of being buried alive in a box, do you? I mean, that sounds frightening.

CATHERINE:

It is.

DR. SWITZER:

Well then stop it!

CATHERINE:

I can’t. I mean, it’s been with me since childhood…

DR. SWITZER:

No, no, we don’t go there. Just stop it.

CATHERINE:

So I should just stop being afraid of being buried alive in a box?

DR. SWITZER:

You got it. Good girl. Well, it’s only been three minutes, so that will be $3.

CATHERINE:

I only have a five, so…

DR. SWITZER:

Well, I don’t make change.

CATHERINE:

Then I guess I’ll take the full five minutes.

DR. SWITZER:

Fine. All right. Well, what other problems would you like to address?

CATHERINE:

I’m bulimic. I stick my fingers down my throat.

DR. SWITZER:

Stop it! What are you a nut of some kind? Don’t do that.

CATHERINE:

But I’m compelled to. My mom used to call me fattie…

DR. SWITZER:

Oh, no, we don’t go there.

CATHERINE:

But I’ve been having these dreams…

DR. SWITZER:

No, we don’t go there, either.

CATHERINE:

But my horoscope did say…

DR. SWITZER:

We definitely don’t go there. Just stop it. What else?

CATHERINE:

Well, I have self-destructive relationships with men.

DR. SWITZER:

Stop it! You want to be with a man, don’t you?

CATHERINE:

Yes.

DR. SWITZER:

Well, then stop it. Don’t be such a big baby.

CATHERINE:

I wash my hands a lot.

DR. SWITZER:

That’s all right.

CATHERINE:

It is?

DR. SWITZER:

I wash my hands all the time. There’s a lot of germs out there. Yeah, don’t worry about that one.

CATHERINE:

I’m afraid to drive.

DR. SWITZER:

Well, stop it! How are you going to get around? Get in the car and drive, you… you kook! Stop it!

CATHERINE:

You stop it! You stop it!

DR. SWITZER:

What’s the problem,

Catherine?

CATHERINE:

I don’t like this! I don’t like this therapy at all! You’re just telling me to stop it!

DR. SWITZER:

And you don’t like that?

CATHERINE:

No, I don’t!

DR. SWITZER:

So you think we’re moving too fast, is that it?

CATHERINE:

Yes. Yes, I do.

DR. SWITZER:

All right, then let me give you ten words that I think will clear everything up for you. Do you want to get a pad and a pencil for this one?

CATHERINE:

Alright.

DR. SWITZER:

Are you ready? Here are the ten words. Stop it or I’ll bury you alive in a box!

[END AUDIO CLIP]


MIKE GENUNG:

So that is a rather humorous example of, unfortunately, what we see and we hear a lot in churches. What I mean by that is people who come to us for help and they’ve gone to a Church or a counselor, and they pretty much get that same treatment where they’re just told to “Stop it”, and “This is what the Bible says”, and then “If you can’t stop it, then maybe you’re a unbeliever, maybe you’re a back slider, maybe you got a big sin problem”.

I would not be bringing this up if this was not happening often. This is not something we hear maybe once every six months, every year. We hear a constant flow of these words that people have come to us for help. They’ve been wounded and injured when they tried to share their porn addiction – or whatever their problem is – to their Church/pastor/counselor, and they were just told to stop it or shove it under the rug. When that happens in the context of trying to overcome sin, it’s very damaging, because then you force the person into a shell and deeper into isolation and shame.

I’ve experienced this first hand, back in the early ’90s, when I first started trying to break free – or trying to figure out what breaking free from porn was – because nobody was really offering much in the way of help for that. I went to a marriage conference, and then during a break, I approached the guy who was the pastor who was leading it. As I approached him, he’s got this big beaming smile on his face. I’d been binging on porn every day, so I was just soaked in shame and embarrassment and had never told anyone. I walk up to him, and I tell him – and I mumble the words, “I got this problem with pornography”. And all of a sudden the smile vanishes and he yells at me, “Just stop doing it! Just stop!”

So that skit is a perfect fit for exactly what is happening, unfortunately, in a lot of churches, and it’s very damaging. It’s not only to those who are struggling with porn or any type of sin, but it’s also, for example, for wives whose husbands are ensnared and stuff. So one wife told me a story where she went to a Church for help, and they just told her, “All you need to do is forgive your husband and get over it and move on”, which basically what they were telling her is “Your heart does not matter. The wound does not matter. All we want to do is just give you two or three words and a the Bible verse and you need to leave”. And she told me that she even got “yelled at” – was her words – by the woman’s Ministry leader. When this lady is sharing her story with me, I just sat there and listened. That’s all I did, and she just broke down sobbing. I watched her. This happened 20 years ago – that she went to the one Church – and she just broke down sobbing in front of me, and she poured out 20 years worth of pain that she had kept compressed in her heart, because basically the answer she got from a Christian was, “You just need to shove your feelings down your throat, and deal with the fact, and submit to your husband”.

So these things get me passionate and worked up, because there is a very thick vein of spiritual abuse that runs from the Church. The root of this is pride and arrogance, because, “How dare you come to me, in my Church that has the right theology and doctrine, and look at all that we’re doing that’s right. And yet you’ve got this problem, and I don’t want to deal with that. And I don’t really know what I’m talking about or how to help you. So I’m just going to tell you a Bible verse and tell you to shut it down”.

So if “stop it” was the answer, we would not need the Holy Spirit, we would not need the Cross, we would not need prayer. What did Jesus do right before Gethsemane – or not right before, right – during Gethsemane. He told the Apostles, “Get on your knees and pray because the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak so that the battle with the flesh is brutal and miserable”. Plus you’ve got the spiritual battle as well, and then you’ve got the heart wounds and all that goes along with that. Some churches make a big mistake when they say, “Well, we don’t go there with the whole family of origin things”, which I say, “Oh really? Why did God give us a glimpse into Jacob’s family, and to the destructive force it had into Joseph’s brothers when Jacob favored Joseph over them?” So Reuben had sex with his father’s concubine. Judah was having sex with prostitutes. So right there we were just given those two stories of two men who dealt with, at some level, a family father wound by turning to sexual immorality. So you do have to go there if you want to help people, you have to look at the wounds and the lies and all that’s going on with them.

So what I want to give you now is what you can do if somebody comes to you and who is torn up in shame – and this could be a man or a wife, it’s not one side or the other. This applies to everything somebody comes to you with. The first rule is just to listen. In James 1:19 we’re told, “Let everybody be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”. You can make a big difference in people’s life if you would just stop talking and listen, and let them pour their heart out. Even if they’re saying angry words or they’re cussing, let them vent. Don’t interrupt them and try and correct them, or correct their language, or correct their theology. They’re talking from a wounded, shamed, fearful – or wherever they are – heart. Let them vent and give them that safe space.

We do two-day intensives here in Arizona, and the first day what I tell them is “I just want you to tell me your whole story, and take your time. There’s no rush”. And usually they take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours to share their entire story. In many cases they tell me, “This is the first time I’ve ever shared my whole story with anyone, ever”. Sometimes they’re looking at me as they’re sharing all this stuff and some bloody things that they’ve done, that they’re ashamed of, and they’re looking at me and I can tell by the look in their eye what they’re really saying is “Are you going to judge me? Are you a safe person? Is this a safe place?” So I just listen. Maybe I’ll ask a question every once in awhile, but most of it’s just 95% of me listening to them and showing them that I’m tracking and that I care about them and not trying to fix them. That in itself can be so healing. I talked about the Wives’ Retreat earlier, and first thing we do first night – the Wives’ Retreat – all the women share their story. There’s a lot of crying, but there’s also peace afterward. I hear the same thing repeatedly, “This is the first place that I’ve had to share that’s safe where I could share my story”. Just sharing their story is just incredibly healing to them.

Sometimes we get wrapped up with this idea that you’ve got to have all the answers and no, you don’t. Sometimes when you try to force the answers, you just make it worse. Listening to another person can be a gift to them. These people that we’re talking to, often they try to go to a Church or somewhere for help. They got cut off or ostracized or given trite answers or, “Well, you’re in sin”. If you just listen, it would make a big difference.

Remember Job’s three friends after Job had lost everything. He lost family members. He then wiped out, lost his business. He had his health… he was in severe pain from the sores on him. I think it was the first week his three friends sat with him and didn’t say a single word. If they would have just done that, they would have helped him. But instead, they opened their big mouths and they get in a theological debate, and they basically add more sorrow to his pain. At the end of the book, God convicts Job’s three friends for opening their mouths in areas they didn’t know what they were talking about.

So another thing is ask questions. So when somebody’s sharing with you, and you’re listening to them, and they’re done – give them the free space to share it all – ask them questions. Don’t go into preaching mode. “Can you tell me more about why this hurts you so much? Where is your husband today? How long have you been acting out? What did your parents say to you when they discovered this?” When you ask somebody questions, you show them that you’re listening and that you care and that you’re focused and it’s not about you. This is one of the big problems with people who are trying to help others, is there’s too much of them involved. You don’t want us to make this about you. If you’re helping somebody, it’s about the person who’s come to you. So take your focus off of yourself and the way you perceive their life should be, or how it should go, or what their answers might be. Focus on getting to know them, focus on having them share their heart with you, and focus on you being a safe person.

Oftentimes – not often – but some people, what they do is they pull the Bible out and they start shooting verses and they haven’t taken the time to get to know the other person. So before you go there with giving out advice, take the time to earn their trust by having at least some form of a relationship. You can do this quickly just by doing what I said, by listening and showing that you care, and, at some level, empathizing.

Now, if somebody says, “You know what I love pornography. I love doing it every day”, okay, now it’s time for some confrontation. But 95% of the time, people are coming to us, that is not needed. They’re already torn up, ripped apart in shame and fear and doubt and all the other things are going through. So just let them share with you, and then take the time to get to know them, and look for their heart.

So the way this works with helping people is we don’t apply the truth until we’ve taken the time to get to know them, to get them to share their heart, and look for their heart when they’re speaking, look for lies that they might have bought into about themselves. So what I do when I’m working with people is after a while and they share the story, I’ll start moving into “What do you really believe? Not just not what you know, what do you really believe?” Because once I can get to the lies that have hidden themselves in their hearts, then I can move in toward healing. Because that’s where you take them into the truth. That’s when we apply the truth, after we’ve taken time to know them, after we’ve listened to them, after we’ve asked them questions. So the truth comes often later on in the process, once we’ve established some kind of relationship with them.

So if somebody comes to you, you can do a lot of good just by listening. You don’t got to have the answers. In fact, there’s times I’m talking to people when I’m asked at the same time simultaneously, I’m praying and saying, “Okay, God, I need wisdom with this”. I don’t rely on myself necessarily for everything. I rely on Him for wisdom and discernment. So you let Him speak through you, and don’t make this about you, or your agenda, or you “fixing” someone. That’s all about pride. If we go this way, we can be a Church of people who minister to the broken and open doors for healing. So thanks for joining me today, and we’ll see you next week.

ANNOUNCER:

Blazing Grace is a nonprofit international Ministry for the sexually broken and the spouse. Please visit us at blazinggrace.org for information on Mike Genung’s books, groups, counseling or to have Mike speak at your organization. You can email us at email@blazinggrace.org or call our office in Chandler at (719) 888-5144. Again, visit us at blazinggrace.org. Email us at email@blazinggrace.org or call the office at (719) 888-5144.