It’s Not Just You Author Q&A
It’s the book I wish I’d had when I first started out in ministry. I led a small group of college women and worked with young women at church, and as they began sharing about their struggles with sexual sin, I felt my inadequacy in walking alongside them. Many of the resources I found talked about sexual sin as though it’s a man’s issue, not a woman’s struggle too. Also, many of the struggles and questions I was hearing—particularly regarding masturbation—are not typically being talked about in the church. I wanted to provide a resource that answers such questions and provides a roadmap for how to take next steps.
I had two groups of people in mind as I wrote: the woman who is struggling with sexual sin and the woman who is walking alongside her.
Where to start?! Common misconceptions include: (1) That victory over a struggle happens instantaneously—or that it will always be a quick process. (2) That the church or the Bible offers no help or is too outdated or out of touch to help. (3) That there is no hope. That this struggle defines me and owns me. (4) That I can address my sexual sin without addressing any past woundedness or trauma. (5) That only men struggle with sexual sin (such as masturbation) or that the struggle doesn’t occur among women in the church. (6) That Christians know why sexual sin is a sin. (There’s more, but this is just a short list.)
There’s often additional guilt and shame felt by women because they’re women struggling with their genre of sexual sin. This leads them to feel like outliers and often keeps them from confessing their struggle to a fellow believer.
Many women have had abuse, trauma, or early exposure to sexual things in their past, and it’s not uncommon for them to engage in sexual sin as a result or for it to become a coping mechanism. With this, it can be easy for well-intentioned believers to see this person’s sexual sin and treat it as though it’s the root. But it’s not. In such cases, it’s a symptom. There are reasons why a person acts out sexually, and these reasons must be addressed. We can treat symptoms, but those symptoms will remain if we don’t treat their root cause.
The Bible contains explicit commands about sexual sin, which are helpful and instructive. But not every sexual act is mentioned in the Bible (particularly in a culture with sex robots, augmented reality products, and virtual reality products). In addition to explicit commands, the Bible also contains principles, and the book addresses six principles or aspects of God’s design for sex. If we know God’s design for sex, it helps us recognize when a sexual act is sinful.
After reading the stories and illustrations in this book, women will know they’re not the only ones struggling with their genre of sexual sin. They’ll know they’re not alone, and I pray this will encourage them to tell someone about their struggle. Sometimes, we need someone else to go first, to talk about a topic first, and this book does that. It begins the conversation and invites a response. It also offers practical next steps for women to take if they’re struggling with sexual sin or if they’re walking alongside a woman who struggles.
Talk about sexual sin with the people in your church. If you’re not teaching what the Bible says on the subject, you’re leaving them to be sexually discipled by the world. As you talk about sexual sin, do so assuming both men and women struggle with it. Avoid shaming or condemning people for their struggles. How we respond to people either represents Christ or misrepresents him, and he does not shame or condemn people who come to him with their sin and their suffering. Be patient with people who struggle with sexual sin, for sanctification—with sexual sin as well as all other types of sin—is a lifelong process. Have a posture of humility, not assuming that you’re incapable of doing what they’ve done. Don’t feel like you have to be the expert, but don’t let your lack of expertise prevent you from walking alongside someone. It will affect how you walk alongside them, though. For example, your role might consist of prayer, encouragement, acts of service or connecting them to resources such as counselors, recovery groups or other women who can mentor them.
It explains what sex addiction is and offers ten questions to help someone process whether their sexual sin is actually an addiction. It also describes next steps and what to expect as you pursue sobriety.
I pray this book will encourage strugglers to bring their sin to light and to take a next step to become healthy and holy as followers of Jesus. There will likely be many things they have to process, and it can be a daunting task to fight against sin. But as overwhelming or as exhausting as it may be to daily fight sin, we as believers have hope because of Christ. Each person’s next step might look a little different, depending on their struggle and their story, but I hope they will turn to Christ, his Word and his people as they fight sin. And I pray that believers who are walking alongside women will faithfully love them and point them to Christ and his gospel.
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