JOURNEY TO FREEDOM HANDBOOK

UNIT II                                                   REVIEW

 

Purpose of this Key:

1) Assess progress and celebrate victories.

2) Recognize the changes made in their personalities, not only in their sexual issues.

3) Recognize how their view of God, self, and others is changing.

4) Recognize how their thinking patterns are changing.

5) Target problem areas.

  1. On a scale of 1 – 10, how high is your desire to overcome ssa/ma/tx?

Common responses:

  • Motivation is usually very high at this point.
  • Some acknowledge that ssa/ma/tx thoughts still intrude.
  • Some are feeling attracted to the opposite sex by this time.

Points to emphasize:

  • Encourage them to praise God for on-going high motivation (Philippians 1:6).
  • Assure them that some fluctuation is normal.
  • Encourage them to handle fluctuation by staying in the Word and in prayer, and focusing on the mercy of God in Christ.
  • Never criticize anyone for fluctuations in desire to overcome. Part of their problem is that they have often felt like failures. Keep their focus on Christ what He did on their behalf, not their “wind and waves”.
  • The mercy of God, rather than the Law, is what motivates lasting change (2 Corinthians 5:9 & 14-15).
  • Encourage them to use memorized Scripture when a sinful thought intrudes.
  • Encourage them to praise God for natural feelings about the opposite sex, but do not make those feelings the criteria of success. The goal is holiness and victory, not heterosexual feelings.
  • If they express attractions to the opposite sex, encourage them to read the Song of Solomon and pray for God to send them the right spouse in His time.
  • If they express feeling content being single and celibate, that is also a sign of victory (I Corinthians 7).
  1. On a scale of 1 – 10, how much has your desire increased since you began the Keys?

Common responses:

  • The number usually matches the response in #1.
  • Some say it has not increased because it could not get any higher.
  • Some express awe at how much God has changed them.
  • Some express that their desire to change increased when they realized that it was possible.
  • Many express disgust at their former life of ssa/ma/tx sin (Romans 6:17 & 21).

Points to emphasize:

1) Same as in #1.

2) Be aware that anyone who has made it this far has seen progress, is closer to Jesus, and feels more self-esteem. Turning back is not an option.

  1. In what ways has your view of God changed since you began the Keys?

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • Many express that they are closer to God.
  • Many express that they realize how much God has helped them to change.
  • Many express that they now realize Who God is.
  • Many express that they used to think He was harsh and punishing, but now realize He is merciful and forgiving.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any Biblically correct response. Encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • Ssa/ma/tx people often begin the program with a negative view of God, but their attitude changes as they study the Bible and learn about His mercy.
  • People often imagine God to be like the parent that they had the most trouble with when growing up. If their earthly father was harsh and punishing, they often imagine God to be harsh and punishing.
  • Refer to Hebrews 2:17 & 4:16. God is never harsh with penitent sinners.
  1. In what ways have you seen yourself change since you began the program?

Common responses:

  • Many describe a big growth of faith.
  • Many are learning to relate to same-sex friends without becoming involved in sexual activity.
  • Many feel that they have more control over their thoughts and eyes.
  • Many state that they have become kinder to others, and that others trust and respect them more.
  • Many are feeling less attracted to the same sex or to minor children, and some feel more attracted to the opposite sex.
  • Some express protective feelings toward children, instead of sexual attraction.
  • Some express having forgiven others and now feel less angry.
  • Some have become more accountable to others.
  • Many have become very aware of their weaknesses, which they never used to notice.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any Biblically correct response. Encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • Sexuality is like a river, and ssa/ma/tx people’s river was made to flow in the wrong direction at an early age. Using Scripture to block tempting thoughts is like putting a dam across it. The river then can dig a new channel, the one God intended for it to have.
  • Be aware that some of them are feeling natural heterosexual feelings for the first time in their lives, and that it feels good to feel natural.
  • Affirm natural protective feelings toward children. These may be new feelings that they never had before. Perhaps no one protected them when they were children.
  • Never criticize any weaknesses they express. Encourage them to praise God that they are now aware of those weaknesses, and that the Holy Spirit has been working in their lives.
  1. What negative thoughts have you overcome since you started the program?

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • Many once thought that they could not change, but they now realize that they can.
  • Many once thought that they would always be alone.
  • Many used to be self-destructive.
  • Many once thought that sex would make them feel better or make others like them, and that they could not live without it.
  • Many have overcome hateful thoughts about other people.
  • Many have given up ssa/ma/tx fantasies.
  • Many once thought they were worthless and unlovable.
  • For the first time, many of them are living lives of dignity, self-respect, and service to others.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any Biblically correct response. Encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • For most ssa/ma/tx overcomers, knowing that change is possible is half the battle. Most were told that “science has proven” that change is impossible, and that they had no choice.
  • Encourage on-going transparency before God about their thought life.
  • Encourage them to think of their brain as a computer that can be re-wired or as a muscle that becomes stronger with exercise.
  • Affirm that God has work for them to do in spite of their former sins (Ephesians 2:10, I Corinthians 1:26-28, I Timothy 1:12-17, I Corinthians 15:9-10, and 2 Timothy 2:21).
  1. Have you identified any lies that you once believed but have overcome by speaking God’s truth to them?

Common responses:

  • Many thought that ssa/ma/tx activity was the only way to get love, but they found that God’s love is sufficient.
  • Many used to think that ssa/ma/tx was not a sin, but they learned that it is a sin Jesus can deliver them from.
  • Many thought that they were born ssa/ma/tx, but they learned that change is possible.
  • Some believed that they would fail at everything they tried, but they learned that in Christ all things are possible.
  • Many had low self-esteem and made bad choices as a result.
  • Many have learned that God sees them as valuable and has work for them to do.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any Biblically correct response. Encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • Since they have come this far in the program, they have likely overcome many lies, so they may not think of them all at once.
  • The devil’s lies lead to hopelessness and despair, while the truth from the Word brings peace with God.
  1. Please share any instances of when you were tempted, but you looked for a way of escape and found one, quoted Scripture to stop it, or God prevented you from giving in. Please include temptations to sins of thought and motivation as well as word and deed.

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • Many have learned to quote Scripture or say a quick prayer.
  • Many have learned to be especially careful when they are bored or lonely.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any Biblical response. Encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • Some are learning to block erotic dreams. Change is occurring in the unconscious mind and the brain is being re-wired.
  • Never criticize any difficulty they acknowledge. Sometimes people begin to give in and then pray to be stopped. Encourage them to focus on the fact that they stopped at some point, and that God was faithful to stop them when He was asked.
  • Encourage them to be aware of any negative thinking that may have set them up to be tempted.
  • Some report being tempted in new ways, ways in which they have not been tempted before. Change is occurring, and they need to use what they have learned to block unexpected temptations. The devil will try new tricks when the old ones no longer work.
  • Some are having lustful thoughts about the opposite sex. They may be tempted to indulge those fantasies just because it feels good to have heterosexual feelings. There are several reasons they should not indulge.
    1. One trick of the devil is to tempt them with a heterosexual thought, and when they are aroused to a certain point, to switch to an ssa/ma/tx thought. They need to be alert to this.
    2. Some eventually find that natural fantasies are only feeding their fire with a different kind of fuel.
    3. If opposite sexual attractions are new to them, their reactions may be something like those of teenagers who are just beginning to discover those feelings. He or she will need to get a sense of boundaries. They may need guidance on the difference between natural sexual attractions and lust.
    4. Matthew 5:27-28 still applies. God did not intend for us to treat others like sexual objects.
    5. The more our minds are fixed on Christ, the less power any temptation has on us (Isaiah 26:3).
  1. What kind of progress have you made in forgiving the people who wronged you? Please explain your answer.

Common responses:

  • Many have made a great deal of progress by now. How they achieved that varies from person to person.
  • Some still struggle to forgive others, especially family members and abusers.
  • Some have already sought forgiveness from the ones they have wronged.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any progress. Encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • Many have been horribly abused. Only the mighty work of the Holy Spirit can enable them to forgive the ones who wronged them.
  • Never criticize any difficulties they express. Assure them that they will learn more about forgiveness in Units III, IV, and V. Encourage them to re-read the material on forgiveness in Units I and II.
  • Encourage them to grieve their hurts in the presence of Jesus and let the Holy Spirit lead them through their issues. God has more to give them.
  • Encourage them to pray for the salvation of the ones who wronged them. God is delighted with such prayers and will bless their obedience.
  • The ones who wronged them are dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1) and slaves of sin (John 8:34), and they need to hear of God’s mercy in Christ.
  • They need also to pray for the people they have wronged. Maa’s need to pray for the children they molested.
  1. Have you become more loving since you began the Keys, and if so, what are the signs of it? You may want to re-read I Corinthians 13 before you answer. Please include changes in your self-esteem.

Common responses:

  • Many have made a great deal of progress by now.
  • Many notice that they are less judgmental of other people.
  • Many are less selfish, and more helpful, patient, and kind.
  • Some are taking more risks of self-disclosure, especially with those whom they are trying to help.
  • Some are trying to be nicer to difficult people.
  • Some are noticing that the more they help others, the more loving they feel.
  • Many are learning to love themselves in spite of their faults and are making more constructive choices in life.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any Biblically correct response. Encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • Especially encourage those who are trying to love difficult people. Even if the love is never reciprocated, God will reward and bless them for their obedience. Hebrews 6:10
  • They should also pray for the salvation of those who are difficult to love. We never know when a difficult person is going to repent because of unexpected kindness.
  • Sometimes God teaches us to love by putting good role models into our lives.
  • Sometimes He teaches us to love by putting difficult people into our lives who stretch our ability to love.
  • Affirm love as an action verb. If we are kind, gentle, and patient with difficult people, we are being loving, even if we do not like them. God blesses costly love.
  • Only the Ransom paid for us on the cross enables us to love the people who have hurt us and will likely do so again.
  • Acknowledge that there is no way to make costly love easy.
  • While taking risks with self-disclosure is certainly commendable, they should be cautious about sharing their struggles.
    1. Once spoken, the words cannot be un-said.
    2. Some people will not respond favorably.
    3. Matthew 10:16
  1. What do you still need to surrender to the Lord?

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • Many mention their use of time.
  • Some mention their pride.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any Biblically correct responses or insights.
  • Never criticize any difficulties they express.
  • Emphasize the blessings that greater surrender makes possible.
  • The more they surrender time, energy, and resources, the more God can use them (Matthew 25:21 & 23).
  • Remind them that surrender is a process that will go on until they are perfected in heaven.
  • Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.
  1. On a scale of 1 – 10, how victorious have you been over the following: Sins of actions, sins of words, sins of fantasies, sins of negative thoughts, judging others, sins of wrong motivations/secret agendas, and pride. Please explain your answer.

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.
  • Most have overcome sins of deeds and words. Sins of thoughts may still be difficult to overcome.
  • Surprisingly, some are tempted to judge others.
  • Many mention pride, of which they never used to feel convicted.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any progress. Encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • Never criticize any difficulties they express.
  • Especially do not criticize confessions of pride. Affirm that they are probably noticing their pride for the first time in their lives because the Holy Spirit is working through the Word.
  • Encourage them to consistently block negative, tempting, and sinful thoughts with Scripture.
  • If they slipped into sin, encourage them to confess it, accept God’s forgiveness, and get back on track (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1).
  • Encourage them to pray for the people whom they feel tempted to judge.
  • Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.
  1. Do you ever doubt God’s mercy and forgiveness? Is there anything in your life or your past that tempts you to think you are beyond His capacity to redeem? If the answer is ‘yes’, please explain as thoroughly as you can.

Common responses:

  • Most say ‘no’, and express total assurance of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
  • Rarely does someone say ‘yes’; those who do usually have committed violent crimes or hurt children.

Points to emphasize:

  • If the answer was ‘no’, encourage them to praise God for their faith in His mercy (Romans 5:1).
  • If the answer was ‘yes’, refer to Romans 8:1-3, I Timothy 1:12-17, Acts 22:19-21 & 26:10, I Corinthians 15:9-11, and any verses that promise forgiveness to the truly penitent.
  • Remind them that however great our sin, Jesus is a greater Savior. He is our Advocate (I John 1:7 – 2:2).
  • His finished work on the cross was perfect: no sin of ours can subtract from it, nor can any virtue of ours add to it (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • Remind them that God has work for any penitent sinner, just like He did for the Apostle Paul.
  1. Have you had any chances to help anyone else spiritually? Have you had a chance to offer help to anyone else experiencing ssa/ma/tx?

Common responses:

  • Answers will vary.

Points to emphasize:

  • Affirm any service they have been permitted to give, great or small. Encourage thanks and praise to God.
  • Refer to Hebrews 6:10 and Matthew 25:21 & 23.
  • As they grow in Christ, they will likely find more opportunities to serve. They need to keep the focus on God’s mercy and forgiveness as they try to help others.
  • Remind them to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  • The more sin we overcome in our lives, the more effectively we can serve others (Ephesians 2:10 & 2 Timothy 2:21).
  • Advise them to read I Corinthians 12:4-31. The more we surrender to God’s will, the more clearly we recognize our gifts. No gift is too small to be necessary.
  • They may not be aware of their spiritual gifts. Everyone has some. The more aware we are of our own gifts, the more we appreciate others’ gifts.
  • If they have not yet helped anyone, encourage greater surrender of self-will. God will have a job for them in time.
  • Be aware that they may have unknowingly helped others. Low self-esteem prevents them from realizing when they are being helpful.
  • They should pray for a revival in their community or nation, wherever they live.
  1. Do you ever cross paths with former partners, intentionally or by chance, and if so, how do you deal with them?

Common responses:

  • Most easily avoid former partners.
  • Some have had a chance to witness to former partners and also found them less desirable.
  • Sometimes a former partner will proposition the overcomer, but a polite refusal is usually respected.

Points to emphasize:

  • If they have never encountered former partners, they should probably not go looking for them.
  • If the overcomer is likely to encounter a former partner in the course of normal living, the overcomer can pray about what response to give.
  • They should ask forgiveness for taking advantage of that person’s need for love and involving that person in sinful acts.
  • Encourage praise to God for any witnessing that was permitted. Even skeptical former partners will watch the overcomer to decide if he/she is real or fake.
  • Maa’s are usually required by law to avoid contact with the children whom they molested. They should obey the secular authorities. Those who are required by law to write letters of apology to the children can pray about how to write from the heart and in a way that will help the children to heal.

Plan of Action:

  • Affirm any Biblical response.
  • Be alert for any hidden legalism.
  • Give lots of encouragement.
  • By this time, many are learning to be Spirit-led, and less dependent upon the written Plans of Action.
  • Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.

Additional points:

  • Those who have stayed in the program this long are likely seeing themselves change and therefore feeling greater self-esteem.
  • Usually by now a tipping point has been reached, and they are motivated to continue.
  • They want to receive all of what God has to offer.