I was recently blessed to accompany a woman, a new sister I met through the Blessed is She network, to an S-Anon* meeting. My heart was pained as I sat silently listening to women share the objectifying triggers and wounds from their spouses' sex addictions. Fears and feelings of inferiority abounded, mixed with profound strength and vulnerability. It was inspirational to see the women embrace a 12-step recovery program* and rise above all the difficulties in their lives. It was honestly one of the most tender evenings of my life.
Mark’s Gospel today exposes God’s divine design for His beloved daughters (and sons). We were not created for our hearts to be defiled by “evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, and folly.” (Mark 7:21-23) No, we were designed, “to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)
Unfortunately, we live in a stained world where our senses allow depravity to enter our consciousness. Incredible shame surrounds brothers and sisters who struggle with sex and pornography addiction. At our fingertips and behind concealed rooms in our homes, the beauty and dignity God created women and men to be have become twisted and manipulated for pleasure.
I don’t know about you, but I want to “be doers of the word and not hearers only.” (James 1:22) Like the Israelites, I want every soul to enter the Kingdom of Heaven God created for us, and I want every soul that has been wounded and broken by sins and abuses of the flesh to “be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.” (Pope Saint John Paul II, Love and Responsibility)
Christ's words ring true today as they did 2,000 years ago: “Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” (Mark 7: 15) I kept hearing on my heart that grace flows through wounds, so as a sisterhood, we must pray for healing from the scars of sexual addictions and abuse.
Do not fear to reach out to a sister or brother to seek the healing you need. God will be present throughout your recovery.
*S-Anon is a program of recovery from the effects of sexaholism, based on the Twelve Step and Twelve Traditions of S-Anon, for the families and friends of sexaholics. It's a resource if you or anyone you know needs help recovering from sex addiction or from the effects of sexaholism.
Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-sized heart for hospitality. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen, International, and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, she is either in church, spending time with family or friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk. You can find out more about her here.