If you have never been in the grips of something that you didn’t want to be, and tried everything in your power to get free but couldn’t, you can’t understand the pain and frustration that one experiences. Sometimes we can be so insensitive to the things people are experiencing because it is not our “thing”. One thing that I have discovered in my 20 plus years of ministry is that from the pulpit to the door, we all have something! I don’t care how holy or righteous people want you to believe they are, we all have things that we fight. Your thing may not be as addictive to you as the next person’s but in some degree, if someone else had your thing, they would not be as bothered by it as you, and if you had theirs, you may laugh and scratch your head as to why they are “struggling” as much. We have no idea the factors that have caused a lot of the struggles and issues people are facing each day, and unfortunately, especially from my perspective, the church has offered minimal opportunity for those who live embattled daily, little hope. I know it would be impossible for me to speak on behalf of everyone that has had a struggle and still faithful in church attendance. I can only speak from the experiences that I have had, and there was little to no resources provided for someone like me who was searching for a way out, but continually getting sucked back in. I can’t blame the church for the decisions that I made to continue in the addictions, but I can point to the lack of discernment and sensitivity as a whole the church had.
I could not tell you how many times I would go to service full of guilt and condemnation but carried on anyway as though nothing had occurred. I acted as though I hadn’t watched any pornography, hadn’t fulfilled any of my desires, or acted a plumb fool during the week. I would dread going to church for “God to get me”, but I knew that if I was going to get some kind of help, it would be a church….or so I thought. Here is another side note and I hope I don’t offend you too much. I was that guy who I believe put too much confidence in the church building and not in the power of God. I thought there was some magical power in just coming to church, as do so many others. We have made the building itself an idol. The building has become as the golden calf in the book of Exodus. We often put more value and stock in the upkeep of the building that the upkeep of the people. We have the most magnificence buildings with the most broken people. Vast majorities of the people that come to church, actually come for something, but rarely find that something they are looking for. We have learned to mask the pain in praise. Praise is not bad. Praise is actually necessary, but what do you do when you have been praising Him for years and the tears of the struggle still wash your face? We have learn how to “church it out”, but it only lasts as long as the benediction. Oh right now, I know I’m not talking to you. You have it all together! You don’t know what it is like to work yourself up to feeling worthy again to even step foot back in the church, knowing how stained you got during the week. You don’t know what it is like to beg God not to even forgive you anymore if you do it again. You don’t know what it is like to finally believe that God is going to heal and deliver you and you put every ounce of strength you have in the service and leave with every ounce of the same struggle you tried to get rid of. You don’t know what it’s like to fast for days believing that it’s finally gone, only to have it come back even stronger. You don’t know what it is like to position yourself in front of the visiting Evangelists in hopes that he or she would call you out and give you a “word” that would let you know that God is still with you. You don’t know what it’s like to get free Sunday, entangled again Wednesday, crying to get back Sunday to get free, only to resume the vicious cycles. You don’t know what it’s like to look in the mirror hating yourself because…you did it again! I lived this for years! All I wanted was for someone to touch me! Someone to feel me! Someone to get a whiff of the stench of my struggles and addictions, and get beyond the smell of it and help walk me to deliverance. I didn’t have enough courage to scream for help, but enough hope to look for it. I looked for it in Sunday school. I looked for it in Bible Class. I looked for it in praise and worship. I looked for it in the messages, but I didn’t find it. I found inspiration, but not deliverance!
At this point I had but almost given up because the screams I had couldn’t be heard.