4 minute read
By: Shane James O’Neill
Abused and Lonely
If you’re reading this then it’s likely that you’ve felt the suffocating entrapment of lust, or that you’ve felt the pain of unfaithfulness or even abuse from the lust of another.
Lust is a deep hole that chokes both marriages and relationships alike. Have you experienced that suffocation before? Lust takes fathers and mothers away from their children, it tears men and women away from each other, and it prevents the growth of individuals from becoming the kinds of people they were meant to be.
Here is how the mess of our sexuality happened and here is how Jesus comes into that mess.
Safe Nakedness, Terrifying Shame
Intimacy was designed to be safe and sacred, hence the devastation we feel when sexuality is abused.
The beauty of sexual relationship is communicated in Genesis 2 when talking about Adam and Eve: “Adam and his wife were naked and they knew no shame.”
Love was true and transparent, even sacred. Humans were able to stand wholly exposed before one another and feel no insecurity, no shame. Vulnerability was safe.
A chapter later in Genesis, Adam and Eve are torn apart from each other from sin. The tragedy comes through vividly when Adam says to God, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
No longer were humans naked and safe and deeply connected. Humans became exiled from intimacy. After this severing, sex became exploited and intimacy of trust ceases to be the standard for relationships. Selfish sex and lustful manipulation became the norm, which is still true today.
One of the great powers of sex is its ability for connectedness. Sex offers great pleasure, a pleasure that is strong and vibrant enough to drown out the pain, boredom, stress, depression, and anxiety of life. Sex is so great that even when it is acted out on an individual level through pornography it can produce an artificial satisfaction. Individualized lust is so powerful that people pursue it because it doesn’t require self-less intimacy with another person. We settle for fake fulfillment and isolated self-gratification.
Into this shame-filled exile of intimacy steps Jesus.
The Naked King
John 1 says, “Jesus came to His own, but his own people did not receive him.”
The God-Man intentionally came to love those who would reject Him. He was the one who was shamed for those who lived in shame. And that is how the cross directly invades our broken sexuality.
Jesus, the Blameless One, came to hang naked on a cross for all the world to see. Ultimately, His shame is an image of our shame. He was humiliated in nakedness for those who were hiding in darkness.
That is the counter image to porn: The lust of the flesh is shamed and slain in the naked, broken body of the King of Glory.
He took my shame, my nakedness, to the bowls of hell. He slew it there and rose above the demonic rulers of hopelessness, shame, and lust. And then He resurrected.
His shame bestows honor upon us. His nakedness clothes us in promise. We are no longer slaves to our lust. We are known, and even in our naked shame, we are deeply loved. His nakedness clothes us in His love.
His love for you is greater than the tomb of death. He knows you, He sees you, even as you hide and hurt, and He cherishes you.
No Longer Naked
Today, as we look back, we live with the light of the resurrection as a road for our redemption. We no longer need to hide from the abuse or the shame, we have a faithful King who will never abandon or forsake us. He has become intimate with your loneliness so that He could be intimate with you in your loneliness.
When speaking about what God and Jesus did for us at the cross, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5, “He (the Father) made Jesus who was sinless, to become sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”
He was stripped naked by your sin so that you could be clothed in the rich dignity of His righteousness.
Proven Men lives in the affection of His cross and in the promise of His resurrection. His gospel is the only good news to our hurt, loneliness, and entrapment.
This Easter, seek after His forgiving, affection and discover the freeing salvation of His resurrection.
Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:3 saying: “And this is eternal life, that they (me and you) may know you the only true God and the Messiah (Jesus) whom you have sent.”
Eternal life begins and ends with knowing Jesus, His intimate cross and His liberating resurrection.
Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for Proven Men Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.