When we’ve been used or abused with sex, it damages our view of sex, ourselves, others and God. Part of the healing process will be seeing ourselves and sex from God’s perspective. God made sex. And He made it good, pure and pleasurable. But when sex has been a source of pain and wounding, it’s impossible for us to view it from God’s perspective; to see it as something good.
That’s essential if we want complete healing, and have the kind of emotional and physical intimacy God desires for us to have in marriage. Also, because of the bonds we’ve created with other partners, we need to trust God to sever those bonds so that we can have our bonding hormone restored, allowing us to bond fully in a present or future marriage. Healing restores all our relationships, because we’ll finally be able to reconcile ourselves to us. Being at peace with ourselves, frees us to be at peace with others.
Let the healing begin
For the past several years I’ve had the privilege of watching God heal hundreds of people from their sexual pasts. God led me to write a bible study for sexual healing, and through twelve chapters we lead people through a grieving process for their sexual pasts. I want to encourage you if God is bringing to mind things you’ve yet to heal from, that you’ll have the courage to join me and countless others in the following steps to healing:
Healing the wounds we’ve accumulated from our past. Some wounds we’re aware of, but many we’re not, until we let God show us how our past is still hurting us today. When we let God show us how our past has hurt us, He’s able to heal our brokenness. But the first step and often the hardest is acknowledging what’s happened to us. And with abuse or trauma, often we can’t remember clearly what’s happened. But God knows our whole story, every detail. And when we give Him permission, He’ll show us our story. Here’s an exercise that can help you see your own story.
Grieving the losses we’ve experienced. Whether our sexuality was stolen from us or we gave it away, we experience a loss. But unfortunately many of us don’t allow ourselves to grieve those losses. John Townsend and Henry Cloud in their book, How People Grow, say that “Grief is the one pain that heals all others. It is the most important pain there is.”
Because many of us feel responsible for the loss, we often don’t feel we deserve to grieve. But the truth is, we do deserve to grieve, even more, we need to grieve. In fact God grieves right along with us. He feels our pain, bears our burdens. He even collects our tears, King David tells us in Psalm 56:8, “Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record?” And as we grieve, God is able to comfort and heal us. Here’s an exercise to help you walk through the grief process.
Exposing the lies we’ve ingrained because of our past. For many years I believed that God was the one who was heaping shame on me. I was certain He was disappointed with me, and no matter how many times I asked for forgiveness, I still had shame. But as I allowed God to heal me, I discovered that He did not see me the way I saw myself, the way the enemy tried to make me feel.
He did not see me as sinful, dirty and unrighteous. Instead because of what Jesus did on the cross, and my acceptance of His forgiveness, God saw who I was in Christ–holy, righteous, blameless, forgiven. Yet I’d been living out of the lie of the enemy. Once I saw the truth, the enemy could no longer deceive me with this lie. Here’s an exercise to help you see how God views sex.
Breaking ungodly sexual bonds. The bonding of sex is not only physical, but also spiritual, emotional and mental which includes the chemical and hormonal bonding that happens. Although we’d like to believe that breaking up and moving on severs that bond, in truth, only God can sever the ‘one flesh’ bond He’s created through sex.
The bible says that this bonding is a mystery. In other words, it’s unexplainable, supernatural, something only God can do. So it makes sense that only God can completely sever this bond. In this step we ask God to show us everyone we’ve created a sexual bond with, and write out a sexual history list. Then we pray through each name (or memory if we don’t have a name) asking God to sever the bond we’ve created—at every level, spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally. Here is the prayer to pray.
Really Good News…
Oxytocin is God’s super-human glue that is released in a man and woman during sexual arousal and release. When we’ve created bonds with others through sex, we can damage our bonding hormone, causing us to release less and less with each subsequent partner. But I have amazing news! Preliminary research is showing that as we heal, our brain heals, allowing us to release oxytocin again. Isn’t God so kind? Regardless of how our bonding hormone was damaged or depleted, when we let God heal us, He even restores our ability to bond. That’s what God told us in Joel 2:25, ‘I will repay for the years the locusts have eaten…” God promises to pay us back all that the enemy has robbed from us—even oxytocin. Here’s an excerise to walk through the process of breaking sexual bonds.
I want to leave you with one final word of encouragement. Its true…healing isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact it can be quite painful, and take longer than expected. But this I can promise: it’s worth the journey. I would never want to go back to where I was, broken, clothed in shame, stuck spiritually, emotionally and physically.
For 25 years shame was my constant companion. But when God restored me 8 years ago, that’s when I really began to live…that’s when I became free. What a feeling! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And it’s not just me. Everyone who’s had the courage to trust God with their pasts, regardless of how hard the journey, not one has ever said they wished they could go back to the way things were.
I’m praying that this is the day you’ll say yes to God, and begin your journey to a life of freedom. You’ll never regret it…I promise.
When you’re ready to talk, we’re here to help:
Go back to the beginning and read Part 1 Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, How People Grow, 2001, Zondervan Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pg. 206.
These books can help you on your journey:
The Invisible Bond
Kiss Me Again: Restoring Lost Intimacy in Marriage
Break Free From Your Sexual Past; A Study of Freedom, Forgiveness, Healing and Hope (Middle English Edition)
Wounded Heart Hope for Adult Victims of childhood sexual abuse
The Wounded Heart Workbook: A Companion Workbook for Personal or Group Use