Ensnared by Sex

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One of my favourite TV programs was “To Catch a Predator.” It was a reality show made in conjunction with law enforcement agents to track and arrest paedophiles.

Undercover agents would set up profiles of underage girls or boys on social networking sites and enter chat rooms to chat with unsuspecting adults. These conversations are often sexual in nature and the culprits were usually lured to meet the decoy at a specified location.

When the visitor meets the decoy at the location, she (or he) finds a reason to leave the room, then the anchor of the program, Chris Hansen, enters the room, quizzes the paedophile and reads out some of the sexually graphic portions of the chat to make him aware that his online chats were recorded.

Finally, the camera crew enters the room and the pervert is arrested. At that point, you would see the level of shame and degradation that sexual sins bring into people’s lives.

Most of these perverts are not your average gangsters off the street. Those arrested have included a criminal investigator, successful businessmen, a Jewish rabbi, a male school teacher and even a lawyer (who subsequently committed suicide).

One, a Christian sergeant, went on his knees and apologised for his acts, yet he was later re-arrested for exposing himself to an underage girl at a pool.

There are many respectable Christian men and women who are also caught up in unclean sexual habits. They know it’s wrong, they try to stop it, but they keep falling into it.

A letter to a certain newspaper columnist reads:

I’m 60, a Christian and well respected. I look very innocent but no [one] knows that I can ask about 5 girls to come and have fun with me in bed. I have prayed asking God to deliver me from this ungodly act but I cannot stop. Sometimes, I set a day to stop so that I can make heaven but soon I will see another girl and would talk to her again…

Most of the time when topics like these come up, there are Afro-jingoists who quickly position Africa as a bastion of moral values (which incidentally always begins and ends with sex) as against the “morally eroded West,” but the reality is, sexual perversion is rife everywhere.

The Medical Research Council reports that 500,000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa. 25 per cent of South African men have raped someone; 23.2 per cent men have raped more than 2 women while 7.7 per cent have raped more than 10 women or girls.

The report indicated that these rapists were more likely to have had more than 20 sex partners including sex with a prostitute.

Referring to the booming strip club business in Nigeria, a reporter says “their existence, no doubt, has given rise to another dimension in the sex trade.”

During a visit to one, he “observed that while the majority of the guests were paying attention to the erotic gyrations of a dancer on stage, a few others were busy having sex with some of the girls in an adjoining room.”

Internet porn is another giant. PUNCH news (December 1, 2015) reported that Nigerians visit more pornography websites than education-related ones.

A certain porn site had an 113th position while a popular Nigerian university ranked 133rd on Alexa ratings.

Recent Google trends also show that words like “gay sex pics” and “anal sex pics” were mostly searched from Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Pakistan among others.

In spite of our ultra religious environment, sex is being thrown at us everywhere – whether through the printed page, fashion, movies, adverts and music with sexually debased lyrics.

The Centre for Research on Health and Care, in a study reveals that “a high exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex in popular music was independently associated with higher levels of sexual behaviour”.

Sex, which ought to be pure and spiritually bonding within marriage, has been warped by hell and crudely distorted even by the very words used to refer to sexual intercourse and the sexual organs.

This is why as Christians, instead of joining the ranks of the hypocritical religious crowd who call for the execution of all sinners, or of cultural romantics who dream for a return to an African society where everyone wore a chastity belt, we have an obligation to reach out to people trapped in sexual sins and “proclaim liberty to the captives” (Lk. 4:18).

What is a snare?

A snare is a trap often used for catching birds or mammals.

The Bible speaks about the “snares of death” (Ps. 91:3), “the snare of the devil” (1Tim. 6:9) and a table (or food) being made a snare (Rom. 11:9). Snares can also have prison houses (Is. 24:17).

A person can be sexually ensnared, in which case he is trapped in a sexual sin he can’t seem to escape from in spite of all his effort.

It becomes a yoke that restricts one’s progress spiritually, mentally, financially, or socially in a divine direction. For example, a man wrote:

I am 29 and can’t explain what is happening to me. From 2012 till date. I have slept with over 1,000 prostitutes. This is beyond me … I have fasted and prayed about this but no avail. This affects my finances and relationship with other girls. I need help what do I do?”

Every snare has its “attraction.” In the same vein, sexual sins have a temporary “benefit” they seem to offer – otherwise, no one would be ensnared by them. But the moment the trap closes, the “benefits” loses its zing.

A disgruntled woman wrote this to Daily Post recently:

I work with a private establishment … My boss is a married man and he sleeps with me at will. He [is only] nice to me when he wants to ask me for sex. Sometimes, he doesn’t even ask me, he will just visit me. No matter how much I resist him, all he wants is to have me laid and the moment he is [done], he dresses up and leaves.

That is a sexual snare. Some women succumb to such office romance with the rationale that it will bring promotion, a higher pay or love.

These “rationalizations” are mental snares – false reasoning that blinds people from the consequences of wrong decisions. They are strongholds that lure people into acts they end up regretting.

I saw this comment on a popular Nigerian blog:

I’m a guy. I have slept with countless men. I really want to stop it but don’t know how to. It started when I was in [the] university. I was so broke and men kept disturbing me after I met one. He introduced me to a lot of his friends, that’s how all the rich men want me … I allowed them [to have sex with] me. That’s how I paid my bills. Now I really want to stop it because I’m working and I don’t need their help again.

His snare was: “Just do it and get some money,” whereas he was entangling himself in a horrible sexual bondage.

When people say things like “the Bible’s view of sex is outdated or impractical,” I’m alert to the mental trap they might be labouring under.

The Bible’s view is relevant because it addresses sexual sins which are still prevalent in modern society. It also teaches that sexual sins defile our body and presenting our bodies “as a living sacrifice” to God is our “appropriate way of worship” (Rom. 12:2).

Some mental snares are reinforced by culture. For instance, many males are raised with messages that indirectly damage their spiritual well being.

Many guys are told that women exist only for their pleasure, hence having multiple partners and sexually “conquering” women is a way to win their respect.

The girl child can also be raised to see her body as tools to get whatever she wants instead of using her God-given brain to positively impact the world.

A common mental snare that keeps Christians in sexual sins is: “I can’t stop it; this is my fate.” It’s a lie of the enemy planted in their minds to keep them bound.

Some in the early Church also once indulged in sexual sins, but became “washed and made holy” and “received God’s approval” (1Cor. 6:11).

The God who delivered them from their sins has not changed. Sadly, many Christians are perpetually ensnared by sexual sins because :

1. They have misplaced motives.

Most people don’t make any effort to quit sexual habits unless it’s threatening their lives, families or reputation.

Many are also trying to strive for sexual morality, not because they love God or want to please Him, but because they are in a serious romantic relationship or are financially independent.

So a good question to start with is: Why do I want to quit this habit? Is it because it’s a sin against God that will take me to hell, or because I want to maintain a good public status?

When Joseph was faced with a sexual temptation, his resistance was not because of STDs or a cultural taboo, but to “do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9). If your motive is lacking the God factor, it’s impure and misplaced.

2. Many are looking for a fast and cheap victory.

They endlessly run from one prayer mountain to another or one pastor to the next because they want fast solutions to a deeply rooted problem. It doesn’t always work that way. Christianity ain’t no magic.

Yes, prayer and fasting are good, but they are not the silver bullets to all spiritual problems. After the fasting and prayer, you also need to deal with the flesh and apply personal discipline.

Your personal prayer life also need to be fervent. You need to regularly read and meditate on Scripture. God doesn’t operate a fast food joint or some 20 naira sales. Spiritual victories are not cheap; they come with much sacrifice.

The starting question is: Are you really born again? There are many church goers who fast and pray and have gone through deliverance sessions over sexual sins yet they are not Biblically saved, and they can’t even explain what the term means!

When we become saved, we sell ourselves to Christ and become His property. We no longer belong to ourselves. We are to become “dead to sin but alive to God” (Rom. 6:11).

We become “crucified with Christ” and “make no provision for the flesh to fulfill” its lusts (Gal. 2:20, Rom. 13:14).

This self-crucifixion is more harder (and takes more time) than casting out demons and sincerely, many people don’t want to take this difficult path, so they conclude that they have “tried everything” and it didn’t work.

3. Many haven’t dealt with the spiritual root of the sexual sin.

Until you address the roots of a sexual problem, you can’t overcome it. Some people are under demonic control and they can’t exercise any self-restrain. Until they admit that and deal with it, they can’t be free.

Some are being externally oppressed by a demonic strongman. He brings them porn they can’t resist; a randy boss they can’t reject; a sexual offer they can’t refuse or a sexual dream that pollutes their mind – especially when they try to become serious with their spiritual walk.

These strongmen must be bound and dislodged in the name of Jesus Christ (Luke 11:21-22).

4. Many Christians still love their chains.

They want to eat their cakes and have it. They want to be free from the oppression and crushing guilt but still want to keep visiting places where they will meet more sex partners.

They hate the acts but they still feed their minds with erotic stories and risqué TV shows or view stuff that re-kindles their lusts.

It’s not enough for us to love good, we must also hate evil as well (Heb. 1:9).

David said “I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate: they will not cling to me” (Ps. 101:3).

You can’t hate evil and be entertained or thrilled by it. If it is your right hand that makes you stumble, cut it off (Matt. 5:30).

What that means is that, if a friendship, group, website, or certain entertainment makes you stumble into sexual sin, you need to give it up. When you hate a habit and you strive against it, it will wither. But if you keep feeding it, it will get stronger and pull you down.

I won’t dispute the fact that some people have been helped by psychotherapy, but even if man-made methods can help, the Holy Spirit can help far better.

If you are already saved, you need to mortify the deeds of the flesh by drawing on the power of Christ. Be grounded in God’s Word and whenever the vile thoughts come to your mind, rebuke and demolish them with the Word of God (2 Cor. 10:4).

The Roots of Sexual Depravity

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If there was ever a generation where the battle for sexual purity has escalated, it’s ours.

Some of the awful headlines on our newspapers read: “Christian pastor rapes 11 year old girl,” “Boy, 19 Caught Having Sex with Dog,” “Father rapes daughters, impregnates one” or “Man 28, rapes 8 year old boy.”

These tales are recounted sometimes with graphic details that betray the pretext of our hyper religious society. An e-mail from Abuja, Nigeria, to a columnist reads:

I am 25 years old. I lost my father [at] 10 … I had a mentor, who saw me through school and helped me with a bank job … I live in the boys’ quarters of his house. He showers me with lots of gifts … But this man and his family are perverts! He has been having homosexual relationship with me since my undergraduate years. His first son, a 28-year old … also has sex with me. The first daughter also comes [to me] for sex! Even their last born, a 17-year-old girl seductively came to my room, for sex.

“The man’s wife forced me to have sex with her whenever her husband travelled abroad … This multiple affair remains a secret between me and each member of the family… I know I cannot pack out [of the house] without his consent if I still need my job. Is it bad to be tall and handsome? I am sick and tired of this sex slavery” (Sunday PUNCH, April 6, 2014, p. 48).

Of course, people practicing these stuff don’t have it written on their foreheads. In some nations, things have gone terribly down the line.

The act of incest is now being defended by some scholars of Baal are trying to break down societal walls against paedophilia with intellectual sophistry. They are even advocating for the redefinition of paedophilia as “intergenerational intimacy.” Wow, that’s a pretty nicer term you have there.

The London Telegraph (May, 1, 2010) reported a story of a 72 year old grandmother, Pearl Carter, who hired a surrogate to carry the baby of her own grandson and sex partner, Phil Bailey, 26.

She said “I am in love with Phil and he’s in love with me. Soon I’ll be holding my son or daughter in my arms and Phil will be the proud dad.” Intergenerational intimacy – right?

From a Biblical perspective, this surge of sexual perversions is expected:

“There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:1-4)

It’s unrealistic to think sexual depravity will cease to exist on the earth or our continent. Unfortunately, some Africans adhering to an illusion of a morally superior African past, have a misguided belief that all forms of sexual perversions came from “Western colonization.”

The big question is: how can the church address the malaise of sexual disorders?

Death penalty for all sex perverts is a brutal alternative that has no bearing on public morality. It only drives such acts underground where they fester.

Uganda’s ethics minister, Fr. Simon Lokodo, who has been known to lead televised raids against pornography and erotic music videos, has called for police to raid restaurants often used by many Ugandans for “lunchtime sex.”

Such measures, though well-intentioned, are doomed to fail miserably. Why? “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications…” (Mark 7:22-23).

There’s no political or religious law that can change a man’s heart. Yes, they may externally modify him, but they can’t change him from within. In fact, the more legalistic a society is, the more sexually depraved they tend to be.

Until the root of sexual depravity is properly identified and dealt with, it will keep growing even in the church.

This is why human measures are like attacking the branches of a sturdy, deeply rooted tree. From my little study, these are some roots of sexual depravity:

I. The influence of Demons

Unnatural sexual drives have certain demons attached to them. For instance, it’s natural for a woman to desire a man, but when she begins to sexually desire another woman or an animal, that’s unnatural, and it’s often fuelled by demons.

A Bible commentary explains that evil spirits “influence people to hinder and operate against wedlock by enticing them to meet the demands of the sex drives apart from the sanctity of marriage … Hence those who satisfy their sex needs through perversions – any of the ways contrary to what is approved by Scripture are under the control more or less, of demons.”

Demons can compel people into such sexual acts by bombarding their minds with it. “Since I was already hooked on porn,” says Joseph Sciambra, an ex-gay porn model, “thus began my dark descent into the world of homosexual promiscuity. Soon afterwards. I started hearing strange voices. They told me to do things; to go to places I had never been before. One of the first location they guided me was a gay sex club … I met my first lover there.”

Matthew Durham, the 20 year old American missionary who sexually molested 8 African orphan children confessed that he was made to do it by a demon guide named “Luke.”

Demons have no respect for theological degrees or church titles. They don’t care if you are a sanctified Methodist, a committed Baptist or a spirit-filled Pentecostal, once you open the door to them.

One Nigerian bishop who raped a 15 year old girl (who reportedly came to him for prayers) said: “I was surprised when I saw her pulling off her blouse and skirt. But before I knew it, I had a carnal knowledge of her.” That sounds a lot like demonic control.

II. Immoral entertainment

This includes movies, soaps, music videos, websites or stories promoting debased sexual acts. What a person feeds himself/herself with, will to a large extent influence his thought life.

Exposure to internet porn among youths has increased in the last decade, resulting in a morbid increase in rape and promiscuity. The sex acts depicted in porn videos are more or less rape.

Many porn stars are paid to convince the viewers that they enjoy what is being done to them. As more men are exposed to these things, these images gradually become a sexual turn-on for them.

And when a person is repeatedly exposed to that image, he begins to act out what he has been feeding on. This is why many sex offenders often start out as porn addicts.

3. Sexual molestation or assault

This is the most common root of sexual depravity. Sexual molestation, particularly in childhood, can negatively mould people’s life and personality.

It has been documented that addictions, mental illness and crass immorality can be traced to childhood sexual abuse. Both genders can fall victim of it.

Some cultures also promote these acts. There is a tradition in Ethiopia for example, where rape is a form of marriage proposal. When a young man wants to marry, he looks for a girl, kidnaps and rapes her until she becomes pregnant, then the elders confirm the union as legal.

The practice of paedophila is fully acceptable in Islam, and by implication in all Muslim-dominated societies. Several Muslim child sex rings have been arrested in western countries, leaving behind a trail of abused children who grow into troubled adults.

Majority of the porn or music stars with sexually explicit videos are victims of sexual abuse. Let me give some examples:

Madonna Ciccone – She was the first artiste to popularize the idea of women using sex, nudity and controversy to make up for a poor voice.

In her video, Justify My Love (1990) sadomasochism, bisexual sex and voyeurism were vividly depicted – which made MTV ban the video. She later admitted being raped at 19.

Jenna Jameson – the notorious “Queen of Porn.” She acted about 178 porn movies, directed four, and won 35 porn video awards.

Though now retired, she later admitted she was gang raped and beaten with rocks by 4 boys at the age of 16. She was also raped by her boyfriend’s uncle.

Pamela Anderson – the actress/porn model, famous for her honeymoon sex tape with her ex-husband, Tommy Lee.

In 2014, she admitted being molested by a female babysitter from the ages of 6-10, raped by a 25 year old man when she was 12 and gang raped by her boyfriend and 6 of his friends while she was 14.

Lady Gaga – the bisexual queen of weird, occult, blasphemous and sexually explicit videos also admitted she was raped at the age of 19 – an incident which she claimed gave her a lot of mental and emotional trauma.

4. False Worship/ Doctrines

There is a link between a rejection of God as revealed in Scripture, which is idolatry, and sexual perversions (Rom. 1:21-28).

A study of most ancient religions shows that their objects of worship were the human genitals. These vile gods are still bowed to by many modern false religions though in more disguised forms. Such cults open people up to perverse spirits.

Isaiah 19:14 “The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as drunken man staggereth in his vomit.”

The Hebrew word mavah translated as perverse means to be crooked and perverted. God judged the leaders of Egypt and made them crooked in their counsel, thinking and acts.

This perverse spirit as Matthew Poole commentary notes, is also the spirit of error or delusion; a disposition of mind very apt to mistake and to mislead people into foolish and crooked counsels.

People who follow false religious leaders are likely to have a perverse spirit which drives them into sexually perverse acts – homosexuality, bestiality, rape, lesbianism, paedophilia, sadomasochism etc.

Perverse spirits can also mask up such that a person they indwell will have what I call a hyper-spiritual quietism. They become very legalistic, religious, appear holy or even carry a big Bible, but at a certain “trigger” (a gesture, sight or dream), they engage in sexually perverse acts. Afterwards, they resume their holy motions, as if they are two different persons living in one body.

False doctrines like priestly celibacy, strict dietary laws, offering sacrifices or bathing at sea sides, invoking angels, “praying” naked (as practiced in African syncretic churches) can also open people up to seducing spirits (1Tim. 4:1).

5. Unhealthy Family upbringing

When a child grows up in a home without love and acceptance, he/she seeks that acceptance from someone else outside the home. This is what sets people up for child molesters.

As a child grows, he tries to mentally “escape” from that void through alcohol or drugs which breaks down his spiritual walls (Prov. 25:28) and he can experiment with what he would normally never do.

Also, when either of a parent are emotionally disconnected from a male or female child, it can result in a loss of gender identity.

It has been established that a foetus at 25 weeks can hear the mother just like an adult, so when a mother hates the baby she’s carrying or the father displays hate or neglect towards an unborn child, he/she can sense it and grow up with a warped view of men or women.

But the good news is this: sexual depravity can be repented of, forgiven and totally forsaken, once the root is known and dealt with by the power of Jesus Christ.