Between Contact and Connection

BETWEEN CONTACT AND CONNECTION

A monk was being interviewed by a journalist from New York.

Journalist: “Sir, in your last lecture, you told us about ‘Contact’ and ‘Connection’. It’s really confusing. Can you explain?”

The monk smiled and, apparently deviating from the question, asked the journalist: “Are you from New York?”

Journalist: “Yeah…”

Monk: “Who are there at home?”

The journalist felt that the monk was trying to avoid answering his question since this was a very personal and unwarranted question. Yet he said: “Mother has expired. Father is there. Three brothers and one sister. All married…”

The monk, with a smile on his face, asked again: “Do you talk to your father?”

The journalist looked visibly annoyed…

The Monk: “When did you talk to him last?”

The journalist, suppressing his annoyance, said: “Maybe a month ago.”

The monk: “Do you and your brothers and sisters meet often? When did you meet last as a family?”

At this point, sweat appeared on the forehead of the journalist. It seemed that the monk was interviewing him.

With a sigh, the journalist said: “We met last at Christmas two years ago.”

The monk: “How many days did you all stay together?”

The journalist, wiping the sweat on his brow, said: “Three days…”

Monk: “How much time did you spend with your father, sitting right beside him?”

The journalist, looking perplexed and embarrassed, started scribbling something on a paper…

Monk: “Did you have breakfast, lunch or dinner together? Did you ask how he was? Did you ask how his days are passing after your mother’s death?”

Drops of tears started to flow from the eyes of the journalist.

The monk held the hand of the journalist and said: “Don’t be embarrassed, upset or sad. I am sorry if I have hurt you unknowingly… But this is basically the answer to your question about “Contact and Connection.” You have ‘Contact’ with your father but you don’t have ‘Connection’ with him. You are not connected to him. Connection is between heart and heart – sitting together, sharing meals and caring for each other, touching, shaking hands, having eye contact, spending some time together… All your brothers and sisters have ‘Contact’ but no ‘Connection’ with one another.”

The journalist wiped his eyes and said: “Thanks for teaching me a fine and unforgettable lesson.”

This is the reality today. Whether at home or in the society everybody has lots of contacts but there is no connection. Everybody is busy in his or her own world. … Let us not just maintain ‘Contact’ but let us remain ‘Connected’ – CARING (FOR), SHARING (WITH) AND SPENDING TIME WITH ALL OUR DEAR ONES, especially our parents, spouses and children, even including siblings.

How to Deal with Secret Sexual Struggles

HOW TO DEAL WITH SECRET SEXUAL STRUGGLES

Kristen Clark

My heart was pounding. My hands were sweaty. I knew I needed to be honest about my struggle but it was the last thing in the world I wanted to talk about. Especially to my parents. As scared as I was of being honest, I couldn’t bear the weight of my secret any longer.

As a teen, I had been really struggling with my thought life for a while, and lust seemed to be my constant companion. These sinful thoughts and imaginations also lead me down the path of masturbation. I tried to stop many times, but couldn’t seem to break the pattern in my life. I knew my thoughts and actions weren’t holy, pure, or honoring to God, but nothing I did seemed to work.

That’s when I heard something that turned my world upside down.

My Turning Point

I was at a conference and heard the speaker talking about the powerful act of bringing secret sins into the light. Exposing them had a way of breaking the bondage they had over us. I wanted that! I knew what I needed to do.

Choosing to bring my secret sexual struggle into the light was the turning point for me. God gave me the courage to be open and honest with my parents and ask for their help.

From that point on, everything changed. My struggle was no longer mine alone to bear. I had support, prayer, encouragement, and accountability. The next few months and years looked very different. I didn’t walk perfectly, but I walked in victory much more consistently.

If you’re currently wrestling with a secret sexual struggle, I understand the weight and burden it can be. Whether it’s pornography, masturbation, erotica, sexting, lustful thoughts, or something else, you don’t have to fight this battle alone.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” God’s good plan for His church is that we would bear one another’s burdens by walking with each other through the hard stuff.

Jesus wants victory and freedom for you! And through Him, this is possible.

Romans 6:13-14 says, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

I want to share with you four specific ways you can deal with your secret sexual struggles right now. These four things are pulled directly from chapter 11 of my new book which is titled, “Real Talk: Porn, Erotica and Masturbation.” To get the full version, I hope you will grab a copy of Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart and dig into this entire chapter on your own. I truly believe it could be life-changing for you.

1. Pursue Genuine Repentance

For each of us, the first step toward victory from lustful sin is to recognize that we have sinned against God and are in need of His forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Our God is full of grace and forgiveness, willing to receive and forgive any who seek Him.

2. Bring Secret Sins into the Light

Sin thrives in darkness. There is something powerfully freeing about bringing secret sins into the light. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” God promises to give us mercy if we expose our sin. Whether it’s porn, masturbation, erotica, or something else—if you truly desire freedom, you must expose it.

3. Seek Ongoing Discipleship from a Godly Woman

After bringing your struggle into the light, don’t revert back into your own private world again. Breaking sinful habits is hard. Don’t fight your battles alone.

Find a godly woman in your life and ask her to disciple you in God’s truth. Depending on what your specific struggle is (i.e. porn, masturbation, erotica, etc.), consider reading a biblically grounded book together on the topic. You could also pray together regularly. She could provide an “open door” of accountability where you text or call her any time you’re tempted toward your struggle.

4. Make Radical Changes

Depending on the frequency and severity of your struggle, you may need to employ some radical changes in your life to avoid sexual compromise. For example, if you struggle with pornography, consider only using your computer or phone in public places, installing a strong accountability filter on your devices, and/or taking a break from technology for a while.

If you struggle with erotica, be intentional to throw away any tempting books/movies, delete erotic content from your media devices, and avoid getting on technology when you’re alone. If you struggle with masturbation, evaluate where your temptation strikes the hardest. Maybe it’s in your bedroom, shower, or when you’re tired. Come up with a plan of action on how you’re going to handle this temptation.

Being honest about your secret sexual struggle may be the hardest to do, but it is the first step toward breaking its grip on you. I pray you will take these four steps seriously and begin your journey toward freedom today.

The Importance of Accountability

THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

Chris McKenna

Is accountability powerful enough to help change a heart? Sixteen years ago, Covenant Eyes was founded by two individuals on the simple premise that it is, and today the company has a team of over 150 people who base their work and livelihood on this very idea. We believe in the importance of accountability and the power of honest conversation.

Some people still haven’t been convinced their “private” porn problem merits the “not-so-private” solution of accountability. Inaccurate ideas of what accountability really is, bad past experiences, or just plain old fear stop those struggling with porn from bringing their battle to the attention of a friend. They may think accountability has some value, but they don’t understand the deep importance of accountability in bringing about lasting life change.

“I have talked to hundreds of addicts, spouses of addicts and parents, and the majority of them would have told you accountability is a good idea, but they saw accountability in their life as a last resort, not a lifestyle,” said author and speaker Luke Gilkerson at the Set Free Summit.  “We cannot tell people to do accountability until we have a firm idea of what it is and how to do it.”

The Importance of Accountability

In this short video from the Set Free Summit, Luke conveys a compelling description of what accountability is and why it’s important. Take a look.

As Luke said, “We are created for community. We were redeemed in community. We will be glorified in community. Therefore, we are going to be sanctified in community.” Accountability matters.

Let’s build out the importance of accountability a little further.

God Knows Us Fully, Isn’t This Accountability Enough?

In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul says, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (Emphasis mine)

Ready for a wake-up call? Fully known is the only perspective God has. In their book, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart say, “God’s knowledge of us is immediate–full and direct, face to face…”

God sees us through and through. Every thought. Every inclination. Every bent of our heart.

Can I venture to say most Christians often forget this truth? Instead, many believe the fallacy of secrecy, even though various Scriptures clearly point to an all seeing, all knowing Father (Proverbs 5:21, Psalm 33:13-14, Hebrews 4:13, among others).

In May, we received this comment on our blog, 10 Reasons Why Accountability Is Unpopular in the Church

Authentic Christians don’t need an accountability partner because we already have the best dwelling inside us. If you listen to Jesus, through your Holy Spirit, you will never choose the wrong path….If Jesus could do nothing on His own, how can we think we know how to do things better than Him? This is why we turn control of our lives over to Him and that eliminates the ‘need’ for an accountability partner.

Jesus is definitely what we need. But, being “in Christ” does not eliminate the importance of earthly accountability. 

The Importance of Accountability with Another Person

For most Christians, understanding that God is fully knowing just isn’t tangible enough to hold them accountable for what they say and do. On the other hand, that “thing” that you might struggle with is tangible. It’s right in front of you. Sometimes, the empty promises offered by addiction seem far more real and frankly, more satisfying, than a promise from Scripture.

Dr. Kenneth Boa writes, “Our ability to embed ourselves within the impenetrable shell of rationalization, projection and denial is nothing short of amazing….An entire field of social psychology–the study of ‘cognitive dissonance’–is based on our limitless ability to rationalize what we do and say. That being the case, we all need people who will help us protect ourselves from ourselves and the desires of our own hearts.”

It’s impossible to be fully known on this side of heaven, but an accountable relationship can point us towards the light. Consistently. Lovingly. Directly (if necessary).

According to pastor and author Timothy Keller:

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

Accountability is important because “one another” trumps “one.”

This could also be said as “we” trumps “just me.”  In the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” There are 59 “one another” statements in the New Testament. Scripture begs us to “do” things towards and with other people.

  • To be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50)
  • To wash one another’s feet (John 13:14)
  • To love one another (over and over and over)
  • To live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
  • To have equal concern for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  • To bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:12)

Pastor and author Andy Stanley also says, “The primary activity of the [early] church was one-anothering one another.”

Jesus Christ modeled “one-anothering” in his earthly ministry. Not because He needed accountability, but because by doing life with 12 brothers, He showed us how to live openly and in community. He showed us the importance of accountability. The Trinity is founded on the “one another” principle. We are inherently stronger when we are locked together.

In our free e-book, Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability, author Luke Gilkerson says, “[Accountability] means really getting to know one another. It means not just confessing surface-level stuff, but helping one another to see underlying motivations. It means hearing one another’s stories and spending time together. It means helping one another tap into godly motives for Christian living.”

Accountability is important because speaking trumps silence.

There is power in spoken words. When our thoughts become words, or we are listening to words from someone else, our brain kicks into high gear. University College London did extensive analysis of how the brain processes spoken words. The scientists discovered that our brains can magically isolate language from other sounds and usher it to the “primary auditory cortex” where it is assigned meaning.

In Romans 10:9, we read, “Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

I’ve never been a big fan of the “bow your heads and raise your hand to accept Jesus into your hearts” approach to salvation. I just don’t see it modeled anywhere in Scripture. Words matter! All form and matter came into existence because God spoke.

Having genuine and straightforward conversation with an accountability partner is sweet therapy for a dry, empty soul. This type of conversation doesn’t just land in our brain. It lifts heavy burdens from our hearts.

Accountability is important because light trumps darkness.

Speaking openly with an accountability partner keeps our secrets out in the open. It crushes the fallacy of secrecy. In darkness, sin rules us. But, in the light, sin shrivels. Nothing beats the light.

Ephesians 5:6-9 tells us, “Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” (Emphasis mine)

Darkness isn’t a wave or a particle. It isn’t a “thing.” It’s simply the absence of light. Human vision is diminished as light is decreased. We are unable to distinguish color. What a befitting metaphor for what happens to our spiritual discernment while under the cover of sin.

An accountable relationship with another Jesus-loving brother or sister is a warm LED flashlight to the soul. It calls us up to the light and out of the darkness.

Can Accountability Really Change a Heart?

We believe it can, and we’ve seen it happen in so many Covenant Eyes users. This is why we believe so strongly in the importance of accountability. But you’re never going to know for yourself until you give it a try.

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