Five Steps for eMANcipation From Chronic and Sexual Sin
However, if you are serious about emancipation from sin, then you should stop now and be sure that you are tackling these five steps with at least one other friend in the faith:
Do you have a band of brothers with which to fight this battle? Here are some contacts for men's EMANCIPATORS groups that are already celebrating freedom from sin.
PAENITENTIA VS. METANOIA
Most of us begin to tackle our chronic sin through a process best known as "Paenitentia" — a reference to the unfortunate Latin translation of "Metanoia" or Repentance. What's the difference between Paenitentia and Metanoia? Paenitentia has its root in "pain" or punishment (thus our word "penitentiary"). Those who think that the path to true Repentance is Paenitentia often try to associate pain to the sin or behavior that they wish to extinguish. While this approach works for a moment, all associative pain tends to fade quickly over time. But perceived pleasure of that behavior or sin does not fade; in fact, it either remains a constant or even can increase (especially as airbrush enhancements steadily improve). Once the associative pain becomes less a sensation than the perceived pleasure of the sin, one becomes very vulnerable to temptation. In the graph below, as the pain sensation dips, one can easily be enticed, aroused by desires for the sin, and when met with temptation - engage in that sin. Then pain comes again only to repeat and perpetuate this cycle of chronic sin.
Paenitentia can only offer a temporary abatement of sin by attaching pain to a behavior you hope to extinguish. This associative conditioning fails as soon as the pain inevitably fades (see Colossians 2:23 "Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they LACK ANY VALUE IN RESTRAINING SENSUAL INDULGENCE."). Paenitentia only reinforces the Cycle of Addiction (see below - informed by James 1:14-15). So what is the solution? Real Repentance! Metanoia is a real transformation of mind and heart.
Enticed: These can be situations, emotions, thoughts, seeing a particular person, place, or image.
Desire: The enticing situation sets off a desire for using the drug or sin of choice. The craving will dominate the thought process until it is satisfied.
Temptation: The craving is typically surrounded by 'rituals' that may involve trying to manage the situation or obtain the sin or drug. They are the routines that get established around the 'using' behaviors and add to the obsessive thinking.
Sin: Ultimately the addict or chronic sinner will use again, sin again.
Guilt: Emotions like guilt and shame set in after sinning. This sense of failure often becomes the next enticing event.