Steps of Healing: Avoid Pornography

Are there negative steps to take to heal? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters to find out.

I have been blessed all my life to be someone who has not had a pornography problem. When researchers want to study the effects of porn, they have a hard time finding guys nowadays who are young and do not have a porn problem at all or do not use it. I would be one of those rare guys.

One definite hard part about going through divorce is the missing of physical interaction. I am a subscriber to the DivorceCare newsletter and now, it’s going through issues relating to sex. I have seen that many people who get divorced due bend the rules in this area, such as people my own parents grew up with who when they get divorced, before their next marriage, decide to live together first.

When a divorce comes, a man comes from being able to be in an intimate relationship with a woman to not being able to be in one. He used to have a woman he could kiss and now he doesn’t. He used to have a woman whose body he could see and now he doesn’t. He used to have a woman he could be intimate with and now he doesn’t.

This is extremely frustrating for a man. Note with all of this I am saying for a man. I am not going to attempt to guess what it’s like for a woman, though I can imagine that it is difficult for them as well and yes, women have desires in this area as well.

When I talk with men going through divorce, this topic tends to come up. Men struggle. It’s one reason many of them can easily jump into a physical relationship with someone else. Of course, sometimes, encountering the opposite sex can be difficult, but today, there is an easy way many men deal with this.

Just turn on your computer and go to a link.

In all of this, I am not at all saying that the desire for physical intimacy is wrong. Men are wired to want to see and be with women. If a man is doing something thoroughly thoroughly stupid, quite likely, it’s because there’s a woman involved in the picture somehow and he’s not thinking straight.

However, i contend pornography is not the way to meet that need nor are sexual relationships outside of marriage. Some people have asked me if my views have changed on sex and marriage. Would it be tempting to say that an exception could be made for sex outside of marriage for people who have been divorced? Yes. It would be, but I cannot. I have to remain faithful to what I think Jesus commands us to do.

Pornography is a quick fix for a real desire, but it’s an illicit one. It is one that only cheapens. If a man wants to see a woman, that’s a natural desire that I contend God gave Him. There are two different things the man can do. He can go out and actually be a real man for a woman, love her for who she is, and earn her trust and marry her. That’s one option.

The other option is he can turn on his computer or phone and click a link.

One path requires that you work hard and sacrifice of yourself and go out and take risks. The other doesn’t. The other is in many ways, the coward’s way out. Not only that, it is a way that is dehumanizing to women.

The woman on the screen does not care about you. She does not desire you. She doesn’t want you. She doesn’t even know your name. She is an actress and while acting is a skill indeed, it is also fake.

I also contend that going this route is keeping you away from a real woman. It is a way of saying, “I cannot get a real woman, so I will go out and get a fake one instead.” Now I realize that many men do have a real woman in their lives and watch porn, but why bother? Is that woman you have inadequate? Wouldn’t that time be better spent romancing her instead? After all, one woman you have a relationship with. One woman you never will.

Not only this, many people in pornography are there because of sex trafficking. By watching, you can be unknowingly supporting sex trafficking. I have read a number of accounts of women who have escaped the industry. It’s never a good experience for them when they’re in it.

This is not to say that for many men, this is a real struggle. There have been some very rare times when I have felt a strong temptation to give in to this one since the divorce. By God’s grace, I have resisted every time. Generally, what seems inevitable after awhile can become “What was I even worried about?”

What are some things to do? For one thing, just go and do something else. If I have to turn on a game instead, that’s all the better. As my therapist told me, “I would rather you were playing a game than watching pornography.” I also try to not panic. It’s a real temptation and that’s okay. No one goes through life without being tempted.

If you need to, get a program like Covenant Eyes that can help you and a male accountability partner. (Women struggling get a female one.) Go also and get involved in a group like Celebrate Recovery. This should not be faced alone.

I have also told my friends that I have plans for when I do find someone wanting to date. Assuming I have my own place by then, I have made a personal vow that I don’t want to have a girl with me alone in my place or have me be alone with her in that place. That kind of situation could be way too tempting and a sure way to increase the likelihood that you will fall into a temptation is to think that you cannot fall into it or that you can handle it.

Again, no exceptions can be made. Too many ministries have been ruined by sexual sin. Do I need to remind us all of Ravi Zacharias? Who is to say any one of us could not be him as well?

So men, the desire is real. I have it. Odds are, you have it. We want love and we want to be special to a woman. That’s fine and it’s the way made it, but go and meet that desire the honorable way. Be someone special to a woman. Be someone loving to her. Treat her like a treasure. Treat one like a treasure and you treat all of them like one. Try to desire every woman and you truly desire none.

If you are struggling with porn, please get help. My friends at Proven Men would be glad to help you out as well. It will help you also with future relationships as I am convinced the reason many young men, including younger men, men younger than I, struggle with ED is because of watching pornography. Don’t go for fake women so much you won’t be able to please a real one.

If you struggle, it’s a real one and you have my sympathy for it. I hope my words can help you overcome it. I remain convinced pornography is one of the greatest evils of our day and hopefully, we can eliminate it one day.

Stay strong, fellow travelers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Stigma Of Divorce

Does Divorce carry a scarlet letter? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There is a stigma our society sometimes has with divorce, and this is abundantly so in the church. Thankfully, my church has a heart for the divorced so I haven’t seen this yet, but I have been told about this from others. Someone in my DivorceCare group the first time was a former Baptist minister who could no longer preach. Why? He’s divorced.

Yes, but what are the circumstances? Doesn’t matter. He’s divorced. End of story.

Someone else messaged me on Facebook to say that when their wife divorced them, they were not allowed to hold a position in the church. Why? Because an elder must be above reproach according to 1 Tim. 3. Never mind the person the letter is attributed to was a murderer of Christians in the past and called himself the chief of sinners in the first chapter. All of these are minor details.

You see, I can imagine trying to speak to a church one day about doing apologetics work for them and being asked if I’m married and my replying that I’m divorced. Now I could just say I am single, but if they look me up at all, which is likely, they will see I am divorced so no need to hide it. Then the obvious question will arise of why. I can give my side, but it is only my side. What reason do they have to believe me? I can tell them they can even contact my former in-laws, but color me skeptical that that will be considered a worthwhile use of time.

I wonder if the same will happen when I take a girl out on a date. Let’s suppose things get serious and she wants me to meet her parents. I go to do so and immediately, they want to ask me about the divorce. What if they say they hear that I was an abusive husband, for example?

This happens and it’s a real concern. It’s one of the reasons divorce is so destructive. There is a real split and it affects both parties and often people they interact with. There’s even a reality that if you have a large group of couples that are friends and one gets a divorce, the others are more likely to get a divorce.

I have a friend who has gone through a divorce because her husband was abusive. What if the same thing happened if she was wanting to work for a church. Never mind that her husband was a danger to her and could have been one to the kids. Nope. She’s divorced. Move along there.

End result of this overall? Christians who are already suffering rejection because of a divorce, and I am talking, in this case, about those who are wrongfully divorced, are further rejected by the people who are supposed to show love and grace to them the most and meet them in their suffering. Is it any wonder some people don’t want to go to church?

The church already tends to look at single Christians who are of age as if they are lesser Christians. Now picture those who are divorced. Some of us who are divorced, like myself, want to remarry. Others are just fine with staying single and have no interest. For those who are like me, it is often thought that until we get married again, we are second-class citizens. In the case of a pastor who is divorced prior, they suddenly become redeemed and useful for ministry again sometimes if they remarry.

There are ways the church can show love to the divorced regardless of if they want to remarry or not. I will get to that eventually. Before that, I do plan to do a series on what not to do and that includes statements that should never be made to a person going through or who has gone through divorce.

For all readers also, I want to let you know that these writings are coming from me after months of going through this and for the most part, carrying it privately. I have enough friends who knew what was going on, but on social media, I did not make it known publicly. I have had some of you get in touch with me making sure I am okay. For the most part, I am. Sometimes, I do have anxiety and depression hit for an acute moment. It’s one more reason I want to get health insurance. Overall, I have enough in my life to keep me going and I do plan to write eventually on what divorce is like today.

I am thankful the stigma hasn’t hit me so hard yet. I hope it never does. Most people who have only just met me seem utterly stunned when I say I have been accused of being abusive. They can tell I’m not that type. I try to remember that whatever is going on, God will use it for my good if I remain faithful to Him. I don’t know the future and how this will work out, but I never have before either. Why should now be any different?

However, my sincere thanks to all of you who are reading these posts and reaching out and contributing. Some of you have become donors on Patreon and that leaves me thankful. Some of you have subscribed to my YouTube channel. I hope also some of you have been blessed when reaching out to me as I want to help you if you’re going through divorce as well.

But to the church as a whole, please keep in mind this stigma. Not all marriages are equal, and neither are all divorces. No one is a perfect spouse, but in many cases, one spouse can be wronged greatly and be the party that is unjustly divorced. Do not treat them like they have committed the unpardonable sin. All of us have sins. Some of your sins are not mine and some of mine are not yours. All of us need grace. That includes those who have been divorced. Even those who have wrongly divorced someone need to be shown love and grace to work them to a place of forgiveness and repentance.

Please remember the divorced in your midst. It is extremely difficult for a man to have been faithful to a wife and then told he can’t help his church in the way he wants because of what was done to him. That man will be a victim twice over then. Divorce is a great evil and I still hold to that, even when it is sadly necessary due to something like abuse. Don’t compound that by adding rejection to it further.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Divorce and Anger

Does divorce bring anger? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am starting this blog late on Tuesday night and will publish it when I finish it in the morning. How has my evening been spent? Well, I work at a Walmart and am on self check-out and have customers come in after we are supposed to be closed I take it and I am all set to go but nope, some people have to buy clothes at the last minute and even past it. I am to get off at 11. It’s 11:29 when I leave.

Why do I bring this up?

Because many times, I am angry about how my life is. I have a college degree and I was not perfect, but I strived in everything to be an excellent husband. I did everything that I could for Allie and then some. However, after she told me she was filing for divorce, I stopped watching her Facebook. It was too painful for me.

Some of you have told me that there are a lot of negative statements made about me. I do want to set the record straight on some of those. I will tell you that though I didn’t have money, I tried to buy as much as I could for Allie and take her out for a date whenever I could and sought to praise her.

I still remember when she was exploring Orthodoxy that on the other end, her priest said to her about me, “What you are doing to this man is cruel.” I am certain he was talking about the lack of physical affection that I was receiving. When Allie had tried to kill herself again at the end of August, knowing the reason why, and I won’t go into that here though her brother has alluded to it some, when she got out of the hospital I told her she was staying with her parents. Something had to change after all. I could not go on with her doing what she was doing and then trying to kill herself every time.

One night she called me in tears and scared because she said some people had told her that I was abusive to her.

I honestly chuckled some. Allie says I laughed. I just said something like “Okay Allie. Who’s telling you this nonsense and what are they claiming?” Why? Because usually she’s talking to people on the internet who don’t know a thing about anything going on.

Well, the first way I was abusive was she was staying with her parents which was keeping her away from her cat. Her cat is like an emotional support animal and that is emotional abuse then. By the way, want to know where that cat is now? With me. When I told her I was moving back to Tennessee after I filed I said, “I’m taking Shiro with me” and all I heard back was “Okay.” I’m glad I did. I can afford to take care of him.

The other way was that I was sexually abusive in that I had allegedly guilted or manipulated her into having sex.

Folks. That’s so vague that 99% of spouses, husbands and wives both, are sexually abusive by that definition. A husband could want to be altruistic, but if he stops and gets flowers for his wife on the way home, somewhere in the back of his mind, he’s hoping to get some action out of the deal. What happens, on the other hand, if that husband comes home and his wife greets him at the door in lingerie? Could that be considered manipulative? However, I doubt the husband will complain.

Yes. Believe it or not, a husband wants to have sex with his wife. Breaking news. Details at 11.

So who else doesn’t think I was abusive to her? Her priest, her parents, her brother, my parents, the therapist that was seeing both of us together, many of our friends that saw us all together, etc.

You know what? It stings.

Not only that, but when I moved back, she called sometime in February. I don’t remember the scenario, but I think she thought there was demonic activity going on. I could be mistaken. Don’t quote me on it. Anyway, she started with saying on the phone “I know you hate me now.” “Nope.” I meant it. I don’t. If you asked me if I still love Allie to this day I would say, “Absolutely.” Believe it or not, it’s really HARD for me to be angry with her.

I talked to her about being in Christ and what that meant and then told her I wanted her to contact me in the morning. She said she was going shopping with her Mom so she would be up. I told her if I didn’t hear anything from her by Noon, I would call 911. I just wanted to make sure she’d made it through the night.

Folks. I don’t say that to brag. I really don’t. I say it though because some of you who haven’t heard my side of the matter might think I really was an abusive husband when nothing could be further from the truth. There can be a part of me really tempted to want justice, but I can’t do that with Allie for some reason.

And I thought about this tonight. If I was really involved in some abusive con game, what have I gained? I’m back in Tennesse living with my parents at a job that I wish I was doing more with and I have no physical affection of any kind from a woman at all. I have had dreams where I have got to be kissed by a random woman and my mind can’t even seem to remember what it feels like.

That hurts.

I also want to defend her parents here. Just as I wasn’t a perfect husband, the Liconas aren’t perfect parents and my parents aren’t perfect parents. However, the Liconas have given of themselves consistently. Who was majorly paying the rent and everything else for us all those years? They were. They weren’t gaining anything. If anything, they were losing. Still, they gave.

I really wish I could have done more. I honestly don’t like anyone having to pay for me like that. I have a friend who likes to bless me with games and other computer stuff around here, and I’m often hesitant to speak of things that I want around him because I know he is that generous with me. Now when he does want to buy me something, I usually do accept and sometimes he does it when he knows I’ve had a hard time. The last time, he bought me Skyward Sword on the Switch, a Zelda I haven’t finished and before I started it, hadn’t even played.

For the most part, I prefer to work for what I get. I live with my parents, but I pay for my car insurance, my phone, I pay my tithes, etc. About the only thing they do is get groceries and even then, I try to buy many of my own. I don’t pay for health insurance because I don’t have that yet, but I do have dental and vision. I could get health through my employer soon. I also pay for everything with Shiro. I am working to pay for my upcoming college for my Master’s. I will say that if you want to consider supporting my Patreon, it pays to help me cover that more and more so I can be doing apologetics more freely.

So let’s look at my life now. I have no affection from a woman in a romantic way. I live with my parents. I work a job that I really don’t like, but I have to work something. I have a big cloud of rejection hanging over my head. Things like this.

Again, I gained nothing.

And by the way, for all that alleged abuse, the only time the police were called to our house was when Allie had tried to kill herself. I never once laid a hand on Allie aiming to hurt her that way. Never. I would rather die than do something like that. I still want the very best for her to this day and I pray she seeks out to be a holy woman.

However, I have been told that a time of anger is coming. When it comes, I have been told to let myself feel the anger. Do not try to suppress it. Let it be. I don’t know if I will be able to do this or not. I do know that there are times I have a problem with anger, but so far, anger towards Allie is the exception and not the norm.

Not only that, there were many times I was counseled I should or at least could get a divorce. My therapist and the priest both suggested this to me. Those are just the two that I specifically remember. I am sure other people had done the same. I always refused to do that.

I realize as I write this that you could read this as a rant meant to complain about Allie or me boasting about how great I think I am allegedly. Not at all. It could also be seen as a message encouraging people to pick up pitchforks and go after Allie. Not at all again. Some of you in comments on my wall have talked about your anger towards her, and I get it.

I am not saying that anger is wrong. Anger can be good sometimes. I am saying to make sure you try to avoid acting in it and if anything, pray about it. I often tell people to picture yourself at the foot of the cross with the person you’re angry with telling Jesus how they sinned against you. Does it seem that you should be focusing on your sins to Jesus instead?

I also want to say that I have tried to say very little that is negative about Allie. There is much more that I could speak about here that could do damage to Allie’s reputation, but that would not help. I don’t want to be doing the same thing that Allie is doing to me that I understand she is doing anyway.

Why am I saying this? Because sometimes there is anger and I want to share what is really going on in the experience. I am not saying with any experience that it is or is not justified. It could or could not be. Some of you going through divorce will experience this deeply. I know some who have said they have been tempted with murder in something like this.

If anything, I would just ask you to pray for Allie. I contend that she is seriously trapped in a delusion and I would prefer to say she could really believe these statements she’s making about me allegedly. If you have heard one side, please go and get the other.

Pray for her parents and brother too. This is a hard time for them. I cannot begin to explain what it is like for them. I have no idea as I have no children. Her brother is quite upset about all of this, as you can see on her wall.

And for me? Yes. I know I need it. It’s still hard. I am having to look at dating again now and not sure how to do it honestly. It’s really hard to learn how to interact on the spectrum much less date. If you want to help out in other ways, please subscribe to the Deeper Waters YouTube Channel. Also, please consider donating to my Patreon which is linked below. Even a $1 or $2 donation can help.

Thank you for listening. I really hope this comes across the way that I intend. As I have said, I am not at a place of deep anger yet, but I realize there are seeds of it there and it could happen sometime. I hope I handle it the way that I have encouraged you all to do so.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Divorce and Loneliness

How does divorce affect your social life? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

You can be in a room full of people and feel alone. I am not a social being majorly, but I do need to have a few people around. I have times where I want to talk to a friend deeply. I have times where I want to know that I matter to people. Sometimes I can be at work and honestly feel like no one there cares about me.

Something that really changes when you get married is it’s rarely that you get together with your friends anymore. Instead, you and your spouse get together with another couple. When you get divorced, you lose that. All of a sudden, you’re doing things with friends again and it’s just you. It’s not someone else you share with. You don’t drive home from a meeting with another couple discussing how it went. You don’t drive home from church or Celebrate Recovery or a place like that discussing how the sermon was or what happened in group. Nothing.

I come home at the end of the workday and I go to bed. My parents are waiting for me, but I assure you that’s nowhere near like having a wife waiting for you. I remember how amazing it was when we were married and I would bring Allie here for the holidays and go upstairs to my old bedroom and get to be sleeping next to my wife in my old bed. When I woke up in the morning, she was right there. That was nice. I was really living married life.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the joys of kissing, cuddling, and having sex. That’s definitely there, but marriage and sharing the bed together was so much more. Of course, I am a guy and of course, I wanted that and I still wanted it. It would be a mistake to think that was all that I cared about. That was instead a symbol of the unity we were to share together. There was only one woman I ever trusted myself to so deeply and completely.

I feel like she saw all that, took all of me, said not good enough, and rejected and even betrayed me.

That stings.

That even gives me some anger.

Anger is for another post.

When I drive anywhere, i normally drive alone. When I sit in the pew at church, even though I am sitting next to people, it is not the same.

Shiro does something cute at the house? It’s not the same. Allie and I were the only people he truly trusted and he will likely never have that with my parents and even when remarriage comes along, will he relate to a new wife of mine the same way? I don’t know. If I find a roommate while I wait, will he be the same way?

We can’t sit on the couch together and watch TV shows. If I want to play a game, she used to be there and even if she wasn’t playing, she was watching and seemed to enjoy it. Will I ever find that again?

I also want to say that sometimes people will toss out such stinging platitudes as “Work on your relationship with God and be happy in Him and God will send you someone when you are ready.” Please do not say such garbage to me. You truly have no idea how much such platitudes sting. I will be writing a blog post on statements like that in the future, but for now, don’t you dare say that to me. I don’t know a single divorced person I have talked to who likes to hear such statements. I am sure you mean well, but you are doing more harm than good.

Then you throw in the Aspergers. It’s not easy for a neurotypical woman to deal with. Most women are that. When I am on dating websites, I always wonder if this woman would understand my traits. Will she accept I am not ready to go to some restaurants because of my dietary struggles? Will she understand when I miss social cues that indicate messages she wants to send me?

Allie even told me there were three times at least when she was really in the mood and was trying to send me messages and I missed them.

I hate to think about those three precious times whatever they were….

What if I date an Aspie girl? Well, Aspergers normally hits men more than women and even then, it’s harder to find one who is a devout Christian. They do exist, but it is difficult. That’s something that made Allie seem like such a Godsend. Now that is gone.

Sometimes I go to bed at night and want to cry some. I can be holding Shiro and petting him and thinking of how lonely I am, and yet I still tell him and truly mean it, that right now he’s one of my best friends.

It’s that in losing Allie, I feel like I have lost a part of me. I have died in some way. Not only that, I have lost someone out of intent on their part. They wanted to get away from me. I was not worth it.

It is a pain you cannot understand unless you have been there.

Please don’t understand. This doesn’t mean doom and gloom for me. In some ways, I don’t mind a certain loneliness. Leave me in my room with my books and my games and I can be fine. I can play an MMORPG like Final Fantasy XIV or I can chat on Facebook or things like that.

Put me though in a social situation, like work, and it is painful at times. This is especially if I have to work in a place where I have to relate to people on a very impersonal level. I hate running a regular cashier or self check-outs where I work because I am forced into those social situations. Put me behind the counter where I am talking about financial needs and it is different. Give me work that doesn’t challenge me though and I dwell on my problems for the most part.

You’re there and you wish someone would come up to you and really mean it when they ask about what’s going on with you. I still remember how someone in my line came through and said as they left, “You should smile. God loves you.”

Another platitude. This is what prompted me to write “Be of Good Cheer”. Did it ever occur to you to maybe ask me why I don’t smile so much? Instead of being willing to care about my pain and interact with it and perhaps listen to me, no. You just gave a platitude. I am sure you meant well, but it doesn’t help.

Imagine going up to someone who just lost a child or got a cancer diagnosis and telling them, “Smile. God loves you.” Such a statement would be hollow and uncaring. There is real pain going on. There is real loneliness.

It doesn’t help that the work that I do always leaves me thinking that I want to be doing something more. I didn’t go to college for this. It can be hard when people tell me so many good things online, but when I get offline, people don’t really seem to care.

To get back to the Aspergers, I’m not just a Christian man going through a divorce. I am one on the spectrum going through it. I have a hard enough time understanding what’s going on with me with regular matters. Add this in and it’s harder.

I will say in all of this I am thankful for the blog. I know there have been concerns about me airing dirty laundry. It is not my intent. It is my intent to share real pain in the hopes of hearing someone else out there really say “Thank you. That’s exactly what I’m going through. That really helped me.”

Or even thinking about if someone said to me, “I was thinking about divorcing my husband, but I hear what you’re going through and I really want to give it one more good try in counseling before I do that. The pain of divorce is a death that keeps going every time you are reminded that you are alone. I know people who have gone through divorce and losing a spouse to death. For the most part, they all say divorce is worse.

Think about that.

Divorce is worse than death.

So many readers have got in touch with me to share encouragement. That means a lot. Looking at my blog stats, I have seen the numbers have gone up a lot on this topic. That means a lot to me. I also think it means the church needs to do more to reach people who are divorced.

That definitely means not shaming them. Sometimes, people are wrongfully divorced, and yet they are treated like they are the villain. They are not allowed to hold an office in the church or anything like that. There is a scarlet D on their chests.

Don’t think I don’t think about that with redating. I wonder what happens when I meet a girl’s parents someday. “Oh? You’re divorced.” What assumptions will be thought of about me? What if a girl has the same assumptions?

You see, I don’t want to be alone, but there’s a part of me that is also fearful of getting close again. In some ways, I have two great fears with asking a girl out.

One is that she’ll say no.

The other is that she’ll say yes.

But hey, no guts, no glory, and a woman is definitely worth it. They are the most beautiful aspects of creation and definitely worth treasuring. Love is a gift and I want it again.

Yet until then, there is the loneliness. I know I have rambled some in this, but I think the readers appreciate it and understand it. Sometimes when I am at work, I am humming a tune. Someone, I think it was Sunday night, said they recognized it and asked me what it was.

They did recognize it.

It’s from Final Fantasy IX.

It’s the opening theme.

It’s called “A Place To Call Home.”

It’s something I dream of again.

And I resonate with the statement made about Eiko in it who represents solitude.

“I don’t wanna be alone anymore.”

I realize I have to live with my parents for now, but I want a place to be on my own and independent. I want a place I can call my own. I want a place where my cat can roam inside freely. I want a place to call home.

If I get to share that home with a special woman who loves me for me and who I can love in return, that is even better.

I hear you, Eiko.

I agree with you.

I don’t want to be alone anymore either.

Loneliness stings because it is a kind of rejection. It reminds me of that rejection regularly. It feels like a failure. I may be anti-social in many ways, but there are ways I do need other people in my life and as I have said before, having a lady would be oh so special again.

Thanks to all who read this and comment. It’s good for me to do this too. I hope it helps you. I know it helps me. It’s a cathartic moment and I feel like a cross has been lifted from me to some small degree every time I post on this.

I hope it helps you out too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Divorce and the Opposite Sex

How do you interact with the opposite sex? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When you’re married, you tend to get used to someone being around. This is someone of the opposite sex which leads to hugs, kissing, cuddling, and of course, sex. You have someone you can sleep next to every night. Then when you get divorced, that’s gone.

By the way, I want to be clear that I’m saying this as a man. I can better explain this to my fellow men. Women can try to find corresponding advice for their sex here.

It’s a difficult switch. For a Christian man, if you plan on remarrying, it’s awkward to start looking at other women and thinking about them. I happen to think this is much harder if you have been married because you do know what you miss. The same could be said probably for those who are sexually active before marriage.

So what are some rules that I  am working to live by in this?

First off guys, make no concession to pornography in this. I realize sometimes that can be difficult, but I think it is essential. Pornography will reprogram your brain and change the way you view women. For my part, I also know when I remarry, I don’t want her to have to think she has to compete against several women that are having free rent in my head.

It also teaches you that if you can’t get a woman to do anything intimate with you in real life, you can just go get one on demand. That’s really using a woman. Besides that guys, that woman on the screen doesn’t know you. She doesn’t care about you. She’s not going to date you.

With dating, you have to go out and impress a real woman and win her heart and earn her trust. That requires real work and that is difficult. Still, you have to come to realize that whatever woman you’re pursuing, you think is worth the work on some level. You think she’s worth the sacrifice.

Pornography trains you to teach women further as objects. The only goal with a woman is the sex. When it comes to a woman, you don’t just want that. You want the trust and the desire that comes with it, knowing that a woman trusts you with herself and desires you. You cannot get that in porn. That person on the screen cannot trust you and cannot desire you.

Now when it comes to actual dating, I have said whenever I get started, which will be when I get my own place at this point and hopefully soon, I have a rule that I will not be alone at a woman’s place or have her be alone with me at my place. The temptation could be too great. Now some of you will say “I won’t fall to that.” The first sign I think you will fall for temptation is that you think you cannot fall for it.

This also means watching interactions with the opposite sex. Actually, a lot of this advice is good for marrieds. This is especially so on social media where you can hear someone’s words and make them whatever else you want them to be in your mind. Sometimes in answering email questions, if one comes from a woman and gets extensive, I will get another woman involved. That way, I can get accountability.

This also could mean you need to get another man who has been here before to walk this walk with you. I have one. I also got involved in DivorceCare pretty much immediately when I moved back to Knoxville.

Having other guys can help hold you accountable. If you have a problem with pornography, make sure you have guys who are holding you accountable, including with programs like Covenant Eyes or XXXChurch. Celebrate Recovery is a great place for this.

This is a difficult transitional period in life that is extremely difficult. You don’t need to walk it alone and you don’t want to make emotional mistakes, including with the opposite sex. Also, I say this as one on the same journey as well. I have used the term “fellow traveler” to describe myself. Let’s make sure we reach our destination the right way.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Sins We Don’t Speak Of

Is the church really taking holiness seriously? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday when I was in Sunday School, I don’t know how it got started, but we started talking about secret sins. These are the sins that you never really hear anything about in church. Right now, our pastor is getting ready to go through the Ten Commandments with us so it’s my hope that we’ll be hearing more about these kinds of sins.

The deal with these sins is that we don’t really like to talk about them because they hit so close to home. They are what we all struggle with. One that came to my mind immediately was gluttony. We all know of pastors who are quite rotund who are getting up telling us how to live our lives, but you can be sure too many of them are not talking about this sin.

We just went through Gay Pride Month. Now many people think the church talks way too much about homosexuality, which is odd because I honestly hardly hear anything about it from the pulpit, but when was the last time you heard something about pride from the pulpit? This is considered the chief sin many times. This is supposed to be the sin that made the devil, the devil. Do you hear about it often?

But speaking of homosexuality, our leader also gave us a statistic. I don’t know the source for it as I didn’t get to ask in class, but he said 15% of Christians in the church struggle with same-sex attraction. Even if that number is too high, some do. There is nothing said from the pulpit to help these Christians who could want to get rid of these attractions even.

Along those lines, what about pornography? It’s been said that 1 in 3 men in the church struggle with this. A large number of pastors even struggle with pornography. It’s not just a man’s problem either. More and more women are struggling with pornography. When do you hear anything about it?

It’s amazing really how many of our sins are sexual in nature. We need to talk about abortion and not just that it’s wrong, but that there is mercy and forgiveness for those who have gone this route. A number of women in the church have had abortions and some people will go to the church seeking solace after having one. We need to be able to say that abortion is wrong, but that yes, there is forgiveness available.

The church has a stigma when it comes to divorce as well. This is even the case when divorce could be justified and the right thing to do, such as in cases of adultery and/or abuse. If someone is divorced, negative thoughts are assumed about them, which is our natural tendency. Imagine going through a parking lot and seeing a car with damage on from an accident. You might assume the person was a bad driver, which is my tendency. Maybe they came in contact with the bad driver. You don’t know until you ask. Again, we need grace and mercy here.

Why don’t we talk about these sins? Are we afraid of offending people? Then we’re not really walking as Jesus did. However, if we don’t talk about them, we don’t get to have people come to the cross if it is something they have done wrong to receive mercy and forgiveness and grace, or we don’t get to give them healing from pain that has been afflicted to them in their lives.

Too many of our sermons really feel good messages to help us feel better about ourselves. Sometimes we should feel miserable about ourselves. We should so that it will drive us to repentance, which will bring us an even greater joy. If we want to be like Jesus, we need that repentance as well. The church does not do anyone any favors by neglecting the topic of sin. It’s easy to talk about the sins everyone else is doing and how bad the world is. We need to remember to clean up our own house first.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Should Kids Be Taught Religion?

If we avoid talk of sex with our children, should we do the same with religion? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Earlier this week, I blogged about the problem of stealing our childhood from our kids. I was asked by a commenter if that would include religion since we don’t want to introduce kids to the world of sex early. Let them be kids before they get involved in a religious debate they don’t understand. Right?

I figured this would come up. Now to be sure, when I say don’t introduce kids to sex, I mean the actual graphic real sex. At the same time, sex is in a sense unavoidable. Girls should be raised to be girls and boys should be raised to be boys. Girls and boys should both be taught basics on how their bodies work and when they have questions and “explore” we should be willing to answer. I have heard it recommended that we don’t come up with nicknames for body parts. Call them what they are.

As for religion, I am not saying we need to get children involved in debates on the age of the Earth or about the rapture or if they should speak in tongues. At the same time, this should be age appropriate. You don’t need to show a teenager a porn video to explain sex to them, but you also aren’t going to talk to them the way you would talk to a five year-old.

Religion is often a family affair so parents will likely bring their children to church and thus to Sunday School. The kids should be allowed to ask questions about any subject matter brought up in class. My Dad and I both share a love of the Fox Trot comic strip and writing this brought to mind this.

Personally, if I was in Jason’s Sunday School class, I would be glad to see that he was thinking this way and not giving any look. This would be a student trying to grasp the idea. Now as someone who is not a Star Wars fan really, I can’t tell how accurate the description is, but if a student is asking, we should celebrate that.

And just as we teach a student in elementary school elementary math and we increase it as the kid grows older, so we should do with religion. When they start entering the teenage area, we need more than just Bible drills. We need them to be having an informed worldview about why they believe what they believe.

Also, this same route would go with politics. Let’s face it. When six year-olds write letters to the president and include statements about the economy and foreign policy, those are the overwhelming majority of the time coming from the parents and not the children. We can raise children with our ideas and we inevitably will, but we should not ban them from asking any question that they want.

As children grow older with the topic of sex and especially getting into puberty, we definitely need to be answering more questions and explaining more material. Girls need to learn what it means to be a woman and boys need to learn what it means to be a man. However, that is for that case.

When children are young and in Elementary school, we don’t need to be rushing them to be adults. We are preparing them for that, but they are also still kids and they only get to be kids once. Sex is often considered an adult topic for a reason. We can refer to a child’s innocence being taken from them.

There is no hard and fast rule, but do things in proper moderation and in proportion to the child’s skills. Many children should be taught math on their age level. For me, my parents knew I was advanced in math early on and I was treated accordingly. If a child seems to be a political prodigy or a religious one, then treat that properly too. However, sex is in the issue of morality and thus makes it different. Also, it’s done with other people and we don’t want small children engaging yet.

But please, don’t use children as pawns in political and religious debates. Let them be kids. They have plenty of years in adulthood to argue with the rest of us on Facebook. Let them enjoy being kids for now.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Letting Kids Be Kids

Are we robbing children of their childhood? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Over the weekend, I went to visit a friend for some dinner and gaming together. My friend’s wife was away for her job and one of his daughters was home with him who is ten years old. As we are having dinner, I don’t remember what led to it, but somehow, she started talking about pride month. She excused herself for some reason and I turned to him and said “I wouldn’t have been able to tell you a thing about homosexuality when I was ten years old.” Heck. Most of us were just then starting to learn the facts of life when I was that old. Today, I suspect many kindergarteners already know.

When I was ten, my great thought I had when coming home was what video game am I going to be going through today. Today, if kids need to be making difficult choices at all, it really should be something like “Which Pokemon is going to be my starter Pokemon?” Of course, some of us still ask that question today.

Kids are being raised now to take a side on certain issues when they don’t know enough about the sides to make an informed decision. A child’s youth should be spent on playing games and having fun and getting to enjoy being a kid, something that they can only do once. Why should we steal that from them?

Let’s be fair. It’s also not just pride month that is doing this. Heterosexuals are doing the same thing. What does it do when we see ads with women pretty much in their underwear on TV during shows that kids could be watching with parents? Imagine a kid riding with his parents in the car hearing radio ads and saying “Mom. What’s erectile dysfunction?”

C.S. Lewis once wrote about a book called The Green Book by him in his book The Abolition of Man. His first chapter in it was called Men Without Chests. No. He is not referring to guys like myself who are physically small. He has something different in mind.

Lewis wrote about a boy and his dad walking together and seeing a beautiful waterfall and the boy saying it was sublime. The authors want it to be known that there is no such thing as a sublime waterfall. Instead, the boy feels small compared to the waterfall and says it’s sublime, but he is really making a statement about his personal feelings and not about the waterfall.

Lewis said the boy learned very little English that day, but he learned a lot of philosophy. He was drafted to take a side in a war he didn’t even know was going on. If we extend this further, it will be a world where we all go by feelings alone and those feelings are really just glands secreting juices in us and there’s no ultimate reality out there to them. It would lead to moral relativity eventually. The result then would be a generation of men without chests, no heart.

Now we have gone a different route where we listen to our feelings on everything and children are told to trust their feelings. Hardly good advice. Now instead of a generation of men without chests, we have a generation of women without chests where women are having top surgery to remove their breasts not because there is something unhealthy about them, but because they want to think they’re really men. That is not a decision that can really be reversed. Oh you can make something with plastic surgery, but it’s not the same as the real thing with several intricate nerves.

Kids are being told to try to find their gender identity and being enlisted in the battle the adults are having. None of us need to really be doing this. If we have to teach them ideas, teach them on a child’s level. A child in Sunday School does not need to be learning adult lessons on sexuality. Start off with basic truths that you want to teach them and then proportion it as they get older. The number one thing we need to teach any child though in all of this is how to think. We spend too much time teaching them what to think instead.

While many of us in debates on Facebook and other places will have our sides and debate them vigorously, I hope we can agree that we really should be keeping the children out of it. Let them grow up and make their decisions in the proper time, but let’s not steal their childhood from them to meet our own desires. Children only have one shot at being children. Let them have that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)