Jared Fogle and Sexual Brokenness
Like you, I’ve been stunned the past few days hearing details of the Jared Fogle case. Our family just moved to Zionsivlle, Indiana, where Jared Fogle lives so the intensity of the story has been very noticeable in this community.
I was sexually abused as a child. My heart breaks for the 14 victims and their families as they try to put the pieces of their lives back together. My heart breaks even more for the thousands of victims of sex abuse, sex trafficking and sexual assault that go unidentified and undiscovered.
This story has been a reminder to me of how sexually broken we are. The world is sexually broken…but so is the Church.
According to this study by the Barna Research group, 64% of Christian men regularly view pornography. Broken down by age, eight out of ten 18-30 year olds view porn monthly. Women aren’t exempt either, with about 30% of women consuming pornography monthly.
It’s not like Christians don’t know that pornography is wrong. We preach against it at least once a year. By in large the Church has avoided talking about God’s view of sex, left people to figure it out on their own then condemned them for getting it wrong. Telling people what not to do creates cultures of shame, hiddenness and inauthenticity.
We pretend we aren’t broken and think that will heal us.
The secret is out…we aren’t fooling anyone anymore. The Church is as sexually broken as our world. Trying harder. Attending church more. Being a better person isn’t working.
We don’t need more behavior modification, we need heart transformation.
Here are three truths that the Jared Fogle case has reminded me of that apply to all of us:
1. God can’t heal the parts of our heart we refuse to give to him.
Maybe you don’t struggle with pornography. But you were abused when you were a kid. You were taken advantage of by a guy in college. You had sex with multiple partners before you got married. Now you struggle in the area of sexual intimacy and you don’t know why. God wants you to experience sexual freedom and healing but that comes through surrender. Is it easy? No…it isn’t easy. But it is worth it. Maybe the healing you need in this area can be found by finally giving this part of your life to God.
2. Sin is never slow, it is always in a hurry.
My guess is that five years ago, Jared Fogle never thought he would be a pedophile. I’m certain he didn’t want to ruin the lives of innocent kids, bring destruction to the hearts of his wife and kids and publicly ruin his own reputation. That wasn’t in his five year plan.
Sin always builds on itself.
I carried sexual brokenness in my life for years because of the abuse I experienced. It wasn’t even my sin that initially wounded me sexually, but the sinful choice of someone else. That brokenness made me vulnerable to an addiction to pornography. That sin, unconfessed, allowed me to justify an affair.
It is a snowball effect. That is why this passage of Scripture in James 5:16 is so powerful: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The thing I love about this is that confession to others isn’t for the forgiveness of the sin. Jesus does that. Our confession of sin to others is for the healing from the sin that we desperately need.
You might think that keeping your struggles to yourself will help you contain it; slow it down or undo it…but it is only picking up speed.
3. If you say you’ll stop and you don’t, you aren’t in control any more.
If you’ve had any struggle with sexual sin before, my guess is you’ve said, “That is the last time I’m doing that.”
- That’s the last time I’m looking at that
- That’s the last time I’m texting her
- That’s the last time we’re sleeping together before we get married
- That’s the last one night stand I’m having
- That’s the last time…until the next time.
Self-deception is the most dangerous of all deception. If you can deceive yourself, you can deceive anyone. If you have promised to “never do that again” and you still do “it”, you aren’t in control.
Being honest with yourself about your brokenness is the first step to healing.
God longs to use the Church to bring healing to our hurting world. But before sexual healing can happen by the Church it needs to happen in the Church.