Midolescence

Judges 12.2-3 NIV

“Jephthah answered, ‘I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me out of their hands. When I saw that you wouldnt help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave me the victory over them.’”

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I’ve known some 50 year old adolescents. I call them midolescents, people who never quite grew up. They still depend on others for their safety, happiness, and success. When they don’t get what they need, adult-children blame others. Aging parents are favorite targets of 40, 50, or 60 year old children. Presumably, if their parents had been more (or less) attentive or indulgent; stricter or more permissive; kinder, nicer, and more qualified, the child, who is now an adult, would be a well-rounded human being. The adult-child’s stressors, conflicts, traumas, disappointments, and failures are mom and dad’s fault (or anyone besides his or her own). Character flaws are not an occasion for the hard work of personal growth, but rather an opportunity to point fingers.

Jephthah was the 10th judge in Israel (according to the biblical record if you count Barak and Abimelech, but not Eli). He ruled Israel for 6 years about 1,100 years before the birth of Christ. Jephthah was the son of a prostitute. His father’s wife and other sons kicked Jephthah out of the home despising him as “the son of another woman” (Judges 11.2). Jephthah hung out with the wrong crowd, “worthless fellows” (Judges 11.3) and, having good reason to blame his family of origin, could have remained a child for the remainder of his life. Instead, this man of God (as imperfect as he was) took hold of one important truth… 

No one was going to help Jephthah. If he was to better himself, he better do it himself.

This attitude gave Jephthah fierce confidence to lead Israel in a successful rebellion against the Ammonites and their 18 year reign of tyranny. His unhappy childhood became an asset. It taught Jephthah self-reliance, a character trait that catapulted him to the top rung of Israel’s political ladder.

Jephthah asked for help in his war against the Ammonites, but when help was not forthcoming, he refused to whine or blame others. The judge of Israel simply took charge: “When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands… and the Lord gave me the victory.”

Sexual addiction in all it’s horrible forms (using pornography, frequenting strip clubs, engaging in one night stands, coveting your neighbor's wife, having sex outside of marriage, committing adultery, etc.) is a convenient way to keep from growing up. You don’t need to depend on your addiction, or anyone or anything for your safety, happiness, and success. Stop pointing the finger of blame and, taking full control of your life, affirm with Jephthah:

“I took my life in my hands... and the Lord gave me the victory.”

423 Men, 423 Women, 423 Young Men, and 423 Betrayal & Beyond are all loving communities of faith helping people to recover from the devastation caused by bad sexual choices. True recovery only happens, if it does, in community, but the the decision to get better is an individual decision, belonging to you alone. You need your brothers and sisters in recovery. They relentlessly remind you that you are fully loved (as you are) and have everything it takes (within yourself) to win the battle against porneia.

The decision to grow up and deal with your addiction starts with you and Jesus, and a loving community of faith and recovery, like 423 Communities. 


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