The necessary sacrifice of time to achieve success in recovery
At Foundations, we offer an intensive mentorship program to any sex addict willing to commit himself to the work. It is a long term, difficult process that requires intensive accountability, discipline, and commitment. Unfortunately, ours is a culture of popcorn fixes: Quick, convenient, and often enjoyable. Many a man has balked as I shared with him the requirements expected should he pursue the Mentorship Program. In general, I can summarize the responses in a single word: “time”. Over and over again, the greatest fret is that of how much time he would be expected to devote to the program, both weekly and over its entirety. Though common, this response is quite illogical.
Let us suppose a man, having experienced severe, increasing pain over the course of many years, decides to finally visit the doctor. The doctor orders a barrage of tests and scans, which this man begrudgingly participates in. A few days later, he is once again in the doctor’s office, where the doctor approaches him with a most somber attitude. He is told in serious tones that he has a deadly disease which, if left untreated, will eventually destroy him. The man is not terribly surprised to learn this, as he suspected it was serious all along. The doctor then clearly describes a proven but difficult treatment that will take time and effort weekly for a length of almost two years. Though exhaustive, the treatment, if followed, will establish in him the necessary health to not only be unhindered by his illness but to achieve even greater heights of health than he can imagine.
What do you suppose the healthy response of such a man would be? Clearly, he should set his life in order and begin the treatments as soon as possible. For what good will his time be to him, should he die an early death, preceded by misery? Perhaps this example is farfetched, but the reality is actually quite a bit worse because addiction not only destroys the man but also that which he holds sacred: his wife, his children, and his faith. With such invaluable things at stake, what shouldn’t a man do to find health?
This is not a topic unfamiliar to Scripture. Jesus spoke about the level of effort expected when dealing with sin in His Sermon on the Mount:
“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”
Jesus treated habitual sin with a seriousness that is unheard of in today’s culture. By commanding such an extreme response to sin, He left no room for excuse when looking at lesser approaches. In comparison, the sacrifice of time is much less than the sacrifice of a limb. As a ministry, this is the same attitude we take towards addictive and unhealthy behavior; and this is why we often say: “You moved mountains for your addiction. We expect you to move mountains for your recovery.”
There is a cost to living a life of pleasure that cannot be undone. As is written in Hebrews: “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked me” (Hebrews 3:15) And, later: “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1). So, let us also be careful to live daily in obedience, obtaining the promise given by and through Christ Jesus, as He says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b).
As the old plumber says: “You can pay me now; or, you can pay me later.”
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.