Masturbation: When Students Are Stuck (Pt. 1)
This student is stuck. You’ve made progress in helping him with his struggle. You’ve uncovered things within him that can be reoriented and repented of: misplaced desires, sinful beliefs, and the like. Together, you’ve talked through ways he can avoid it and flee to Jesus. But, yet again, this student looks up at you and says, “I just don’t understand it. Why can’t I stop masturbating?”
What can you see in their eyes? Helplessness? Desperation? Despair?
Across from you is sitting a weak, wounded Christian, one who has fallen asleep and failed to watch and pray…again. What can you say? Where can you go?
Perhaps one of the most natural responses to a student’s recurring sin is frustration. Godly frustration at sin is good, but our frustration is mixed at best.
Why can’t they just stop this?
Seriously? They’ve messed up again?
Believers can get stuck. As student ministers, we have been stuck in sin. So, perhaps we first need to counteract our tendencies towards frustration and exacerbation. How about we start here: Let’s draw near to students to help, empathize, and re-commit to walking with them.
Here are two ways we can draw near to them:
Draw Near In Understanding
Let’s draw near in understanding. Let’s remember what it feels like to fight sin, time and again, with little or no “success”. Let’s remember how persistent our own sin is. Let’s remember what despair feels like. And then, let’s speak.
Sin is crafty, friend. It comes back time and time again. It’s the same in my life.
I have felt trapped and hopeless before. What does it feel like for you?
In the confusion and frustration that sexual sin tends to produce, we can help students see that we relate to and understand the struggle they walk in.
We can also re-acquaint ourselves with the life of our student. Perhaps there have been some new pressures at school. Maybe some new experiences or feelings have emerged in recent weeks.
Draw Near In Advocacy
After drawing near in understanding, let’s draw near in advocacy. Of course, Jesus is our primary Advocate: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Christ remains an ever-present, patient, and persistent advocate on our behalf in the presence of the Father.
John clearly pushes his readers to keep the commandments of God (v. 3-4), but the first thing he tells those who find themselves in sin is that they have an Advocate in the person of Jesus Christ.
Though Christ is the primary Advocate of His people, we, as His followers, are advocates of our students as well! We need to let our students know both that Jesus is committed to them and that we, in His name, are committed to helping them through their sexual sin as well. Let’s spend our time praying and pleading for our students’ holiness in this area, making it a point to express our commitment to them.
Do the students who sit across from us know that they have an advocate in Jesus? And do they know they have an advocate with us?
Let me say to you, even though this is hard, we are going to walk through this together.
Christ is, right now, interceding for you and is a helper for you.
Let’s just stop and pray together and ask Him for help.
When fighting a sin that has taken hold of a student’s life for so long in such a private manner, I want to always question my gut reaction to frustration. Oftentimes, students already feel alone, defeated, and perhaps abandoned.
Let’s draw near to students instead of pulling away, and in that moment, come back to the common ground we have. Together, let’s approach our Advocate, who suffered, died, and rose that we might find the strength to fight all sins, including the sin of masturbation.
This is the first in a series of blog posts titled Masturbation: When Students Are Stuck.
Check out Part 2 HERE.”Do the students who sit across from us know that they have an advocate in Jesus?”