How to Talk Someone Off the Ledge
For all we who have felt the weight of shame, stories like the one of the 12-year-old girl in Russia who committed suicide after her parents caught her viewing pornography can feel familiar. For those of us who have carried addiction in our bodies – we know the feeling.
Many of us were close to that ledge at one time or another. (Tweet This!)
We don’t know the details. We don’t know the nature of the weight she carried – whether it was something born in religion or culture, or the pressure to be perfect directed from an authority figure or peers. But we know that from where she stood, whatever she felt was akin to a black hole – a gravitational pull towards that window so powerful that even the light couldn’t escape it.
Here at XXXchurch.com we have a Confessions section where people can anonymously write about what they’re going through. I read these semi-regularly to remind myself of the weight. This dark insidious energy sits on our shoulders and in our guts and hisses lies to us day and night that we aren’t good enough to meet the expectations that are held by a person, a business…..a god.
Then there are those who prey on us – those who carry shame at a more subtle level and have it masked in religious piety or some jacked-up appearance of goodness or perfection. Sometimes you’ll find them writing in the “comments” of the confessions section. They champion a god who demands perfection and quote verses from the Bible in some attempt to keep their own shame at bay. It’s both Pharisaic and parasitic. I call it a ”Pharisitical energy.” The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the Jewish community in the times of Jesus, and they were the ones masking their shame in religious piety, all the while believing they were doing what God demanded.
But if God demands anything from us in our behaviors or devotion, then grace is not a part of that relationship, no matter what we claim. It isn’t this perfect love that we Christians love to talk about. Period. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that steps into that space and places a requirement on us in order to be loved by God, indicates that shame has poisoned the water at some level.
Complete acceptance is the starting point. Like Clark Moustakas said, “Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and end – no apologies, no regrets.” That is the meaning of Grace and the only power that can escape the pull of a black hole. My brother David wrote in our book Feels Like Redemption: The Pilgrimage to Health and Healing, that Jesus didn’t clear the board when he died and rose again – he rendered the world as if the board never existed. Now we must ask ourselves whether we can see that for what it is or not. And if we can’t, we must seek out the reasons and heal those wounds.
As I write this, I am reminded of Ghandi’s quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That poor girl who saw no way out is not alone – there are millions of people right there on that ledge with her. (Tweet This!) And we keep quoting verses at them. The answer must be that each of us walks into the dark – the places where we hold shame and fear, anger and pain. If we cannot seek our own freedom out beyond belief and into the unknown, then we cannot save those on the ledge.
Are you tired of carrying around the shame of porn addiction? Don’t let it keep you trapped in a place of isolation. Join an X3group today and get the community and connection you need. No shame. Just freedom.
How to Talk Someone Off the Ledge by Seth Taylor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://XXXchurch.com.