A few days ago I woke up to my phone exploding with messages from several friends. They had sent me an article from Charisma Magazine telling of Christian comedian John Crist’s admission of sexual addiction and recounting his victims’ stories. As I read I felt my heart breaking for all of the people involved in these situations. It is more complex for me than just choosing a side, I have love and compassion for both the sexually-addicted person and the people who are affected by that person’s addiction.
One victim’s story in particular brought tears to my eyes. Lindsey, who was a friend and later a victim of John Crist, said in regards to why she no longer attends a church, “It’s hard. It’s hard to go into a place where you know that people know things that are going on, and they never do anything about it because they just list it as ‘bad behavior’ something that someone can just be forgiven of and then it’s fine. It’s not fine.” Lindsey and all of you ladies who are beautiful and greatly valued by Jesus, I pray that you can judge your own faith in Jesus by His character and not by those who claim to love Him. Also, thank you for being brave enough to speak out. This is never an easy thing to do. Don’t stop because this may be the most loving thing you can do for the church, the larger Christian community, John Crist, and others who are caught up in the same addiction.
When my friend, Naghmeh Abedini Panahi, revealed the truth about her ex-husband’s physical and sexual abuse of her and other women, she was told by powerful Christian leaders that, “If you let this get out, you will hurt the cause of Christ.” These Christian leaders went even further and told her that her husband was a hero and her job as his wife was to protect his image. Women let me tell you, this is not Biblical!
In the Bible, I don’t see the prophet Nathan ever approaching Bathsheba to tell her to stay silent about King David’s abuse in order to protect the king’s power and image because if she spoke out, “It would make God look bad.” No, in fact it was actually the opposite. The opening line in 2 Samuel chapter 12 is, “The Lord sent Nathan to David,” (not to Bathsheba for a cover-up). Nathan himself called David out publicly. This sin cost David dearly. His son died. Sometimes, it will cost you dearly when your sin gets called out. This might look different for each person, but it could be the loss of your family or your career. This does not mean you can’t be forgiven – David was forgiven. It also doesn’t mean that God stopped loving the sinner – David still retained the title of “a man after God’s own heart.” But David was repentant. He did not continue in that sin nor did he shift the blame to his victims. Instead, he accepted the consequences of his sin.
My husband is the one who led me to know Jesus. He is also the reason I know what it’s like to be married to a sex and porn addict. On two separate occasions my husband was physically unfaithful to me in our marriage. BUT his life was radically transformed when he was forced to face his sin and our God who is the TRUTH. Since 2009, we annually celebrate what we call “Freedom Day” in our house. Since then my husband has been polygraphed three times by a court-recognized examiner. Each time the test has affirmed that he is completely clean of all use of pornography and has been physically faithful to me. To quote the examiner at his last polygraph, “He is as clean as the white driven snow.” So you may be asking, why does he continue to take a polygraph test? Is it my unforgiveness? Nope. Fear? Still, nope.
Every few years this is part of a “sexual check up.” Why? For the same reason I’ve been getting yearly mammograms since my 20’s. My mom had breast cancer when she was 30. The doctors don’t recommend them to all 20-year-olds, just people that have a high-risk family history. We know that early detection helps people beat cancer. We also use regular polygraphs because we passionately love the name of Jesus and want to live according to God’s truth. We believe that what we do and how we behave matters. The thought of possibly being responsible for someone, like Lindsey, wanting to separate from her relationship with Christ or leave the church should light a “Holy fear” in our lives, the kind of fear that Jesus recommends we should have in Luke 17:2, “It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.” In a world full of expensive and elaborate solutions, regular routine polygraphs are a simple form of accountability that are extremely effective in preventing an ugly repeat of the past and building and maintaining trust in the present. Accountability is freedom, not bondage, for everyone involved.
If you are interested in finding a polygrapher in your area, visit www.polytest.org
And please don’t get a polygraph without first establishing a relationship with a good counselor. I recommend visiting Pure Desire ministries for more information on polygraphs and how to recover from sexual addiction.