Give Up Lust for Lent
By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CCSAS
Every year the conversation in our home surrounding what to sacrifice for Lent is pretty entertaining. Each individual throws out an idea, while other family members counter argue why they believe it is not a true sacrifice. It's always the usual list including sweets, bread, or electronics. In reality, all are good ideas and serve the purpose of denying oneself over a period of 40 days.
Last year I proposed men make a sacrifice that could have long-term and healthy outcomes for themselves and their relationships.
“Give up Lust for Lent.”
The response was enormous with numerous men informing me they were jumping at the chance to rid themselves of this decaying habit that wears upon their integrity as men and shakes their position as spiritual leaders of their home.
Once again the season of Lent is upon us and it's time again to ask men to exam their hearts and ask God for the strength to turn away from pornography, illicit chat rooms, massage parlors, strip clubs, and other activities that demean women and dishonor their wives.
You may be shocked to know a sexual addiction is not about sex but instead is an intimacy disorder. Men abuse sex to distract themselves from emotional distress that often is not evident. In dealing with a sexual addiction, understanding the root cause of how and why it developed is a major factor in recovery.
As we enter the season of Lent here are several steps you can take to begin the process of removing a sexual addiction from your life:
1. Admit You have a Problem. Denial is a stumbling block for all addicts. The inability to see the potential destruction their actions cause leaves many people struggling needlessly. Ask God to help you examine your heart and make you aware that you need assistance. "Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30: 6.
2. Don’t Walk Alone. Removing sexual sin from our lives is something we can’t do on our own. We need assistance and accountability. Seek out a trusted friend or a trained professional to help you get your journey going. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16
3. Do it Today. There will always be a reason to put it off including the long-term rationale “I will try harder and commit myself to never do it again”. But that approach rarely works. You need insight about yourself and why you use sex to smooth your emotional pain. You need to identify the triggers that lead to your acting out. You must create exit strategies that will help you escape temptation. You need community that will support, encourage and most important provide accountability as you travel along in your journey.
On March 1, join your brothers in a mission to re-build your integrity and strengthen your legacy. Take the steps needed to honor yourself, your spouse and God. Give up lust for Lent!
Eddie Capparucci is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Marietta, GA. He is a certified by the International Association of Certified Sexual Addiction Specialists. He was helped numerous men overcome sexual addiction including NFL and MLB players. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Lust for Lent campaign on social media and spread the word, using the hashtag: #giveuplustforlent!