Tuesday, August 30, 2011
ruined by unguarded alone time
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 11:1
David does something dangerous. He chooses for whatever reason to remain in Jerusalem, leisurely strolling his palace while all the army of Israel is at war. It leads to personal disaster. It was in this unguarded and "alone" moment that David slipped into his worst season of life. What he did with his personal time led to a flaw in his character opening up into a major sinful chasm that ran deep and dry for a long, long time.
The story is rife with deliberate sinful choices. David may not have meant to stay back from the battle in order to commit adulty with another soldier's wife, but that is where his choices eventually took him. And the tale of treachery and murder that unfolded is a dark chapter in David's history. His life would never be quite the same after it. And it began with reckless and unguarded alone time where he indulged himself. By the time 2 Samuel 11 ends, David is involved in murder and has created a government conspiracy to cover it up. And it all began by first choosing to stay alone at home while others went to fight.
Men can have particular challenges with "alone" time. I know this for a fact in my own experience. I have seen my experience duplicated countless times in counseling men. Even cases of severe sexual sin often start with a pattern of unguarded and unprepared alone time. It is just too easy to give in to a glance just like David did. Today, internet porn provides a massive pipleline of illicit temptations to stare down from our private rooftops at anything imagineable. And it never is the simple indulgence that men make it out to be. Porn use is not harmless. That is without debate in the serious counseling community. It easily becomes a consuming, raging, wasting, life-dominating habitual sin. I have had guys tell me they re-arranged lives, risked losing jobs, neglected family in order to create time and dangerous ways to be alone with their computer or secret porn stash. It is no different than David sending his servants to bring Bathsheba to him.
We need to rethink porn. It is not a simple pleasure. It is destructive and sinful. It is a cancer that eats at the heart of a man's soul. Sexuality is part of the core of every person God created... "male and female... he created them". To mess with that is a key component of Satan's plan to thwart God and deceive us. Porn messes with it by exalting the body over the soul. Women are degraded and abused. Men are degraded by being taught to do whatever is imagineable to a woman's body. Souls are destroyed. Porn is not about the body. It is about the destruction of the human soul.
The reality men face is this... men in particular need to guard alone time, not just coast through it blindly. With internet porn as a major temptation, men need to actively pursue accountability with Christian brothers. But my experience in ministering to men with this issue leads me to also recommend a step prior to that. Men need to create a scheduled plan for all alone time. We should talk about it to God and to at least another man. We should read the warnings in David's story. We should see him and weep at the outcome of unguarded time, realizing that guarding our own hearts could prevent us from suffering the same types of consequences. It is time to come down from the rooftop of leisure and selfish sexuality. It is time, instead, to go to war.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13