I was invited to teach a youth class in Recife, a city about 2 hours south of João Pessoa. I have been focusing my time and attention on teaching and training Christians in Paraíba. This would take one of my weekends away from Paraíba. Besides the time away and focus off the state, the subject I was asked to teach on also brought some discomfort: "Masturbation: A Sin Against Holiness." This is not a subject you just bring up in a casual conversation with young people who you do not know.
I decided to accept the invitation so that I could better prepare myself to help other young men deal with this problem, and I do confess, I had already been thinking about how to talk to my own sons about this subject. Thankfully, they is not ready yet, but unfortunately, I'm sure it will not be too far off.
The men were separated from the women to discuss this same subject. Lori Hagewood taught the women. There were some 40 young people and young adults for this one-day seminar on making ourselves holy for God by avoiding pornography and masturbation, and their negative effects.
We came to the conclusion that hiding these practices of sin is what brings on guilt, desensitization of sin, and distance from God and brothers and sisters in Christ, who can and want to help, as well as affecting your marriage, present or future, in many negative ways, such as closing off communication, sexual perversion, emotional distress, and opening up yourself to lusting after other women instead of desiring your own wife.
Really, that is the way all sin works, isn't it? We may be surprised by sin at first. Kind of like it and want to do it again, we then begin to think of ways to hide our sin so that we can continue to practice it. We distance ourselves from those closest to us, because they would be the first to notice. Eventually, if we continue down this road and no one is able to stop us, we end up all alone, full of guilt, with hatred toward others, and lost because we cannot find our way back to a clean conscience or even knowing how to love and be loved by others. Don't hide but confess your secret sins to someone. God loves you, and He wants you to walk down the narrow path that leads to LIFE!