Pure Choices

Sexuality and Spirituality

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Michael Carducci (Host), Danielle Harrison


Series Code: PC

Program Code: PC000107A

00:02 The following program discusses sensitive issues.
00:04 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:06 may be too candid for younger children.
00:40 Welcome to Pure Choices.
00:42 My name is Michael Carducci,
00:44 and I'm here with Danielle Harrison,
00:46 my colleague with Coming Out Ministries.
00:48 Today, our topic is sexuality and spirituality.
00:51 We want to talk about the damage of sexuality
00:55 outside of God's design.
00:57 Welcome, Danielle. Thank you. Michael.
00:59 It's a powerful topic,
01:00 and we'll take our time going through it.
01:02 My first question for you, Danielle,
01:04 is you've spoken before on the impact
01:06 which sexual sins can have on us spiritually,
01:09 why do you think this is so?
01:12 Well, I believe that God really created everything
01:15 in the natural realm that we experience
01:18 to teach us spiritual object lessons.
01:20 And we see that very clearly through nature
01:24 and we know that Jesus taught through object lessons
01:28 and we see that very clearly in His ministry.
01:32 And I think that not only did He create the creatures
01:36 and the things that we see in nature like the flowers
01:38 and things like that to teach us
01:40 spiritual object lessons
01:42 but every aspect of life including sexuality.
01:44 And I think that's why the enemy does everything
01:46 that he can to create confusion in the world,
01:51 in the natural world around us, we see that in evolution
01:54 and the like but especially in the realm of sexuality,
02:00 relationships, marriage, courtship,
02:04 and I think he does that because this is
02:06 such an intimate part of our lives,
02:09 it's something that is intricately woven
02:12 into every aspect of our being.
02:15 And so the enemy knows how much of a profound impact
02:18 it has on us spiritually.
02:19 And the Lord desires to teach us
02:22 about Him through sexuality,
02:23 but we lack the clarity of seeing
02:27 that in this world today so much
02:29 because of all of the confusion
02:30 that Satan has created on these topics.
02:33 Interesting, Danielle, because our histories are different
02:37 and yet we each went into same sex attraction,
02:39 bisexuality, homosexuality,
02:42 you know, anything outside of the realm
02:44 of holy sexuality, I heard somebody say one time
02:47 they called it counterfeit sexuality.
02:50 And we've interviewed people that were molested,
02:53 people that were introduced like yourself
02:55 at seven years old to masturbation.
02:57 I discovered it on my own by taking out a book
03:00 out of the library.
03:01 So any of those opportunities,
03:04 we're going to experience sexuality
03:07 in a way that was never intended to be,
03:10 but it has a hook.
03:11 You know, Satan knows exactly how the senses are designed
03:15 and how anything sexual will actually cause that hook
03:19 but ultimately never gives us what we truly were meant
03:22 to experience.
03:24 Amen.
03:25 So, again, can you help our viewers, Danielle,
03:27 understand why it's harmful to indulge in, let's say,
03:30 let's start with masturbation?
03:31 Sure.
03:33 Well, especially with the indulgence of masturbation,
03:36 I think it prematurely awakens this drive,
03:41 this hunger that God has placed in us toward sexuality,
03:46 and He's done that for a beautiful thing
03:50 when we use it in the right way.
03:51 And when we use it and we indulge in it
03:55 through masturbation, we're prematurely
03:57 awakening that desire.
03:58 And so we're not using it for the right purposes
04:02 and we're not gaining the right knowledge through it.
04:05 It cultivates habits of lustful thoughts,
04:08 and it creates a very self-focused view
04:13 and perspective of sexuality.
04:16 You know, God desires for us to have a ministry
04:20 towards the person that we are married to and,
04:26 through that sexual exploration,
04:28 to come to understand the intimate relationship
04:31 that He wants to have with us.
04:32 And so if we are using sex to only gratify ourselves
04:37 and the focus is on me pleasing myself,
04:41 then it's going to cultivate the selfishness,
04:44 the spirit of selfishness that we know is really fueled
04:48 and driven by Satan because
04:50 that was the whole nature of his fall
04:53 and really every sin and, you know,
04:56 it just creates this cycle of addiction.
05:00 You know, it's interesting from a practical standpoint.
05:03 One of the things that I realized is that
05:05 when I was caught up in the height of, you know,
05:08 masturbation and fantasy what it did is it actually
05:11 denied me the sexuality that God had intended me to be.
05:15 You know, whether you're looking
05:16 at the image on a piece of paper,
05:19 a screen, a telephone, what's happening
05:22 is you're denying yourself the way that God intended,
05:25 you are intended to touch and to experience
05:28 and to feel the intimacy of you
05:30 with your opposite sex partner the way God designed it.
05:33 And so how sad that we cheapen that
05:36 and cheat ourselves out of the experience
05:38 that God had designed for us.
05:40 I can speak for myself that, for me, the ten minutes or,
05:46 you know, several times in a day
05:47 or several times in a week that I was indulging
05:50 in that behavior,
05:51 what it did is it cut me off from interacting socially
05:54 with other people.
05:55 It cut me off from intimacy.
05:56 It cut me off from the interchange
05:59 with other people, and I found myself isolating.
06:02 I found myself addicted and staying up until 3 o'clock
06:05 in the morning when I, you know,
06:06 needed to be getting sleep to go to work the next day
06:09 because ultimately, Danielle,
06:10 it never gave me what I was intended for,
06:13 the feeling of satisfaction and peace that I deserved
06:19 and was promised through doing it God's way.
06:23 So I think that there's a practical application
06:26 of that as well, and the enemy, Satan knows how we're wired
06:29 and he knows that when you have a sexual release
06:31 that there's a chemical that's released
06:33 in the back of the brain like heroin and it says,
06:35 "Wow, that was good.
06:36 Let's do this again."
06:38 And so if we're doing it God's way,
06:39 then we're beholding, and touching,
06:41 and experiencing the one that we love,
06:43 and rather than, you know, whenever you have
06:45 a sexual release and you're watching
06:47 pornography or even just fantasy,
06:50 you know, what's happening is it's gluing you
06:52 or bonding you to that thing, so it makes sense that people
06:55 really struggle with addictions
06:56 towards masturbation and pornography.
06:59 That's right.
07:00 So, Danielle, why is it harmful to indulge in pornography?
07:04 Well, from the experiences that I have had
07:08 and from the experiences that I know other people
07:10 have had, really, if you're indulging
07:12 in pornography especially before marriage,
07:14 you're going to be setting yourself
07:16 up to have challenges inside the marriage,
07:18 it's the same with masturbation.
07:20 And really, I think the two go hand in hand
07:22 once you get into the realm of pornography.
07:24 And it doesn't really stand alone
07:26 without masturbation being by its side.
07:29 They go hand in hand. That's right.
07:31 So, you know, I think it creates a dynamic
07:35 that's going to cause challenges in your marriage
07:37 because the way that you have, well, like I said,
07:41 you've placed yourself on a self-centered focus,
07:45 but also, you know, you're going to have
07:48 all of these past influences in your mind
07:50 that's going to drive your expectations
07:53 of what your sexual experience is going to be
07:55 like in your marriage,
07:56 and it's also going to create a wedge
08:00 between you and your partner because...
08:02 I totally agree.
08:04 When we've talked to other people
08:05 that struggle with pornography or even just masturbation,
08:08 I've spoken to theology students
08:11 that were struggling and then they thought,
08:12 "Well, once I get married,
08:14 all of this will just wash away..."
08:15 And then find out from their wives, their spouses,
08:18 and themselves that this thing that they thought would be
08:22 released from them actually came into the marriage bed
08:25 and was actually causing conflicts in the marriage.
08:27 The wife wasn't getting what she deserved.
08:29 The husband found himself drawn to this behavior more and more.
08:34 And, you know, Ellen White even explains that in somewhat,
08:36 you know, more detail in the book,
08:38 Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce.
08:42 And so that was quite shocking for me as a Christian
08:46 that fell back into pornography and masturbation.
08:49 And to read those words of conviction, I was really,
08:54 you know, in the throes of conviction
08:57 about how was I going to get released from this.
09:00 So definitely, I totally see how just because you think
09:06 that by having a physical relationship
09:07 is going to be the answer to this problem
09:09 when in actuality it's not and it can actually
09:12 become problematic in the relationship.
09:15 Amen. Amen.
09:16 You know, I think another problem
09:19 that pornography really cultivates is that
09:22 we're told in the scripture that when a man
09:25 looks at a woman and lusts after her,
09:27 he has committed adultery with her already in this heart.
09:30 And so we truly are committing fornication and adultery
09:35 when we're indulging in pornography.
09:38 And like I said, there are so many spiritual implications
09:43 of why that is harmful, but I think one of the physical
09:49 implications is that it really objectifies the human being.
09:53 I'm glad you brought that up.
09:54 Because now it's not me in a ministry with my husband
09:59 to experience God through this experience,
10:04 it's just you're an object for my consumption
10:08 that I'm going to consume for myself
10:10 and that I'm going to use for myself.
10:12 So you can imagine why it creates a rift
10:14 in the marriage once marriage comes in
10:17 because you're not looking at the person as a person
10:20 because you've always objectified the people
10:22 that you have consumed through the pornography.
10:26 And when you really look at it,
10:28 it really is a form of prostitution.
10:31 And I think a lot of people don't consider that
10:34 when they're indulging in it, but you are purchasing
10:37 that person for your use, for your consumption.
10:40 And so it really is a type of prostitution.
10:43 And I think that's something that people remove themselves
10:46 from, from the experience,
10:48 but you are really purchasing someone.
10:51 Right.
10:52 I want to back up just a little bit talking
10:54 about the objectifying.
10:56 I remember realizing in that behavior
10:59 which began when I was 13
11:01 that I was collecting a harem in my mind.
11:04 I was, you know, collecting people from school,
11:07 people that I saw in traffic, people that I saw in stores,
11:12 you know, wherever I was out, I was collecting these people
11:15 as objects of desire and I was keeping them in this harem
11:18 inside my mind.
11:19 You know, definitely now as a Christian,
11:22 I understand the power of a fantasy
11:25 and the power of evil that it creates,
11:28 not just the fact that if you're looking
11:30 at real literal pornography on a screen,
11:33 you are looking at somebody's daughter or son,
11:36 you're looking at somebody's brother or sister
11:38 or niece or nephew.
11:39 And so, you know,
11:41 a lot of times that has conviction,
11:43 but sometimes even that isn't enough to stop people
11:46 from this vicious and vile habit
11:48 as Ellen White talks about it.
11:50 You mentioned something about the sexual relationship
11:53 between a husband and wife as a ministry,
11:55 and I really wanted to try to kind of impact that
11:57 a little bit because it sounds kind of disconnected.
12:00 Would you just elaborate a little bit more?
12:02 Sure.
12:03 And I've brought that up in speaking around the country,
12:06 and I had someone come up to me and say,
12:08 "You shouldn't call sex a ministry."
12:10 They were a little bit uncomfortable about that.
12:12 But when we think of the essence of a ministry,
12:15 when you go out on a mission trip
12:18 working for a ministry,
12:20 you're going there to help the people,
12:22 to serve the people,
12:25 and to aid the people to come to know God.
12:28 And I think that is the essence of what I mean
12:33 when I talk about sex being a ministry.
12:36 Are you there just to gain something for yourself,
12:39 just to feel good for a while?
12:40 Or are you there to really experience God
12:43 with this person to serve them?
12:47 You know, is it about them and what you're giving to them
12:53 and to really come to connect with God
12:56 through that experience?
12:57 Beautiful.
12:58 So I want to kind of segue a little bit
13:00 into what is true intimacy?
13:02 You know, we definitely know what poor intimacy
13:05 or inadequate intimacy is.
13:07 And I think that that's why
13:09 not just pornography, masturbation, fantasy
13:13 but also sexual deviancy that the Bible says,
13:16 you know, is harmful, the act of homosexuality
13:19 as an abomination.
13:21 Wow, you know, for me that came with great conviction,
13:23 and I was angry at God, like how dare you call me
13:26 an abomination because I connected myself
13:28 so closely to that.
13:30 But as I understand the fact that I had absolutely no idea
13:34 of what true intimacy was, and interesting that
13:37 when I came out in gay culture,
13:39 the one thing that I was desperate
13:41 for was intimacy with a man, not sexual,
13:44 I wasn't even attracted to the sexuality of homosexuality,
13:47 I was attracted to being affirmed by masculinity.
13:51 What was interesting is that I realized that
13:53 if I wanted the affirmation, the emotional affirmation
13:56 of intimacy with a man, then I had to participate
13:59 in that sexual activity.
14:00 And so very quickly, as I realized that,
14:04 well, if I participate in that, I get the intimacy
14:06 that I'm looking for, and eventually, very quickly,
14:09 that got turned upside down, and then eventually,
14:12 my sexual addiction, at the height of it,
14:14 it was like, "Don't tell me your name and don't talk."
14:17 You know, I realized that the one thing
14:19 that I was desperate for was the one thing
14:21 that became the most elusive to me.
14:23 And so this is where I think is really paramount
14:27 that sexuality...
14:29 What was it?
14:30 Counterfeit sexuality breaks your ability
14:33 to experience true intimacy, and we serve a God of intimacy.
14:38 Isn't that right? That's right.
14:39 So, Danielle, share with me a little bit how is it that
14:42 counterfeit sexuality disturbs or destroys the ability
14:46 to relate intimately to God.
14:48 Sure.
14:49 Well, I think, like we touched on briefly before,
14:53 there's this addictive cycle that it brings you into.
14:57 And I think that that is a driving force
15:00 that really creates a vicious cycle
15:04 that tunnels us down deeper away from the light
15:07 and further into the darkness,
15:10 that drives us from the thing
15:11 that used to be very stimulating to us before
15:15 but now is no longer such,
15:17 we're ever chasing that high that we experienced before.
15:23 Hang on, that sounds very familiar
15:25 because I've heard heroin addicts,
15:26 I've heard cocaine addicts talk about the fact
15:29 that they end up in addiction because they're always chasing
15:32 the first high, right?
15:35 Can sex or sexuality be an addiction?
15:38 Yes. I think it very much is.
15:40 When you think about how, you know,
15:43 the euphoria that drugs create, and sexuality really does.
15:48 You talk about the drugs that are released
15:52 in the brain naturally through that experience,
15:55 and that it does create a habit of addiction,
15:58 and when you're not receiving the powerful punch
16:02 that you had before, it drives you
16:04 into stranger things that you thought
16:07 that you wouldn't indulge in before.
16:09 So you have this addictive cycle
16:11 and you mentioned being very offended by hearing
16:17 that homosexuality was an abomination.
16:20 And I think that this is something
16:23 that creates a lot of confusion and challenges for people too
16:26 because I was so...
16:28 I had my identity so woven up into my sexuality that
16:33 when someone said that
16:34 homosexuality was an abomination,
16:36 it was like they were saying I was an abomination.
16:39 But truly, in essence, you know,
16:41 I'm a child of God and I think
16:43 that's what we need to remember.
16:44 We need to remember that a person who struggles
16:48 or even doesn't struggle but lives as a homosexual,
16:52 they are a child of God, and we have to love them,
16:55 and appreciate them, and respect them,
16:56 and nurture them towards having those kind of intimate
17:03 kind of healthy relationships
17:05 of what true intimacy really is.
17:07 True intimacy really is about connecting on a deep level
17:12 in a space where you can be perfectly vulnerable
17:16 and understood and still loved.
17:20 And I think that that's the kind of intimacy
17:22 that we're searching for inside of our churches,
17:25 that's the kind of intimacy that we're searching
17:26 for inside of our families, and we don't have
17:29 those kind of relationships.
17:31 And so if we're confused about that nature of true intimacy,
17:37 we're driven toward sex because we are bombarded by everything
17:41 in the media that tells us that intimacy equals sex,
17:45 but really it doesn't, it equals that space of safety
17:50 and deep connection that is rich and beneficial.
17:54 So it's interesting to bring out,
17:56 and I think it's very important to establish especially
17:59 because of our history, we were especially concerned
18:04 about making sure that the church represents Christ
18:07 and God as loving, accepting, and that even if we fall
18:12 outside of the measure of what God has designed
18:15 each one of us for that He doesn't reject us,
18:17 He doesn't hate us.
18:19 As a matter of fact, the divine teacher bears
18:21 with the erring through all of their perversity, right?
18:23 His love doesn't grow cold.
18:25 So I think that it's important that we as a church have
18:27 to also say, you know, to somebody
18:29 that may struggle with that,
18:30 and I think that that's where a lot of the secrecy comes
18:32 from within the churches because we're afraid that
18:35 if I really come to you and talk about
18:37 what I'm struggling with that you're going to judge me
18:40 or hate me or put me out of the church.
18:42 And so I think that, as we discussed this,
18:44 yes, it's counterfeit sexuality and it interrupts your ability
18:48 to be intimate with God,
18:49 but if we as a church misrepresent
18:52 the intimacy of Jesus Christ to somebody who is struggling,
18:55 somebody who is falling, you know,
18:57 into that and coming short, then I think that
19:00 what we've done is a great disservice
19:02 to that person and also to God.
19:04 I think so too, Michael.
19:05 And I think that when we stand over our brethren
19:08 shaking our fingers and just looking at them
19:11 as an abomination,
19:12 we neglect to really create a bond
19:15 that bridges the gap into their heart
19:17 and into their life and then share
19:19 the essence of the true spiritual implications
19:22 of what same sex attraction really does
19:24 because when we look at Romans 1
19:26 we see that God expresses
19:31 His understanding
19:33 of these kind of relationships, it says
19:37 that it's a vile affection, you know,
19:40 I would be looking here in the latter verses,
19:47 it says that, "They became vain in their imaginations
19:50 and their foolish hearts were darkened,
19:52 and they changed the glory of the incorruptible God
19:56 into an image made like unto corruptible man."
20:02 Then it says that God let them go into their vile lusts,
20:09 dishonoring their bodies between themselves,
20:12 and it was a vile affection and that they were working
20:19 that which was unseemly, and they received
20:22 the consequences of their error.
20:25 So we see here that God is kind of putting a definition
20:29 on this experience that it's unnatural,
20:32 that it's unseemly,
20:34 and so when we see this here,
20:37 we see that not only is it hurting them physically
20:40 through the physical experience of that
20:43 because God didn't create our bodies
20:45 to have those kind of sexual experiences,
20:48 we also see very clearly that they became idolaters
20:52 and they started worshipping
20:53 and serving the creature instead of the creator.
20:56 And so I think this shows very clearly here
20:58 that transition of leaning towards alternative sexuality
21:03 and it drawing them towards also alternative spirituality.
21:07 Those verses could be taken as very offensive to someone
21:12 who's homosexual
21:13 or someone who's sexually outside of the bounds
21:16 of what God has designed for us,
21:18 but I think that there's a deeper meaning there,
21:21 especially for someone like us.
21:24 I see it as a misrepresentation of the design of God's intimacy
21:28 and why it's a vile affection to God is
21:31 because you weren't designed to experience that,
21:35 and not only were you not designed to experience that,
21:37 it doesn't satisfy, it doesn't give you
21:40 what my creation was designed to experience.
21:43 And so that's why it's vile to God
21:45 is because it's not going to give you
21:46 what you were created to experience.
21:49 And I think that we have to make that distinction
21:52 to people so that we don't sound like, you know,
21:54 those Victorian Christians that didn't experience
21:58 any kind of physical affection or whatever,
22:01 I think that we need to understand it's vile
22:03 because it cuts you off from the very intimacy
22:06 that satisfies, that fulfils, and brings you ultimate Joy.
22:10 Yeah.
22:11 And, you know, when I look at this verse
22:13 and I say that we, you know,
22:16 when we just distance ourselves
22:18 from them as they're an abomination
22:20 instead of really showing them
22:21 the essence of the spiritual implication
22:23 and then I bring forth this verse, you know,
22:26 I wouldn't necessarily take this verse to someone
22:29 and use this to describe the spiritual implications
22:33 because I think a lot of people who are wrapped up
22:36 in this identity and in these practices,
22:37 they're not going to understand this language.
22:39 But I think that if we really look at this passage
22:43 and we study out the spiritual implications
22:45 and the spiritual understanding of this,
22:46 it can help us to know how to understand
22:50 how God looks at it and to understand the chasm
22:54 that there is between God's sexuality
22:57 and the sexuality that the world
22:59 so abundantly offers.
23:01 Right.
23:02 And, Danielle, that chasm I think is so powerful
23:04 that you bring up, the chasm between
23:06 human sexuality that we say is our privilege,
23:09 it's who we are, we're allowed to experience,
23:11 no holds barred, whatever you're attracted to,
23:14 you should experience that and then look at how,
23:16 in contrast, that chasm gets deeper and deeper
23:19 as society goes lower and lower when you compare it
23:23 to the ideal of what God's sexuality is.
23:26 And I think that, you know, now until the end of time,
23:29 the chasm is only going to get wider and deeper, I'm sure.
23:33 How is it that we can turn this around
23:35 and make God not look like such a prude?
23:39 How is it that...
23:40 Oh, I have a perfect example, a famous actor who had slept
23:44 with so many Hollywood women
23:46 and he had the best of the best,
23:47 and he was well known for being a ladies' man
23:51 and he made no secret about the fact
23:54 that he was sleeping around with multiple women.
23:56 But when he got married, even someone who doesn't even
23:59 acknowledge God talked about the power of monogamy
24:03 between him and his wife.
24:05 He said, "The best sex that I've ever experienced
24:06 in my whole life was a monogamous relationship
24:09 between me and my wife."
24:11 And so here you have this man that doesn't even acknowledge
24:14 Jesus Christ or God recognized the power of intimacy
24:19 in a monogamous one-on-one relationship
24:21 that's giving amazing, right?
24:23 That is profound. Thank you.
24:25 God is so good. Amen.
24:27 And so, Danielle, as we get towards our close,
24:29 I want to get you to expand a little bit
24:31 on the relationship between Samson,
24:32 the strongest man in the world,
24:34 and Joseph and how they lost and gained their integrity.
24:40 Sure.
24:42 When we look at the stories, the contrasting stories
24:44 of Joseph and Samson, we see the powerful
24:48 and profound integrity
24:50 of Joseph who was in a place of position,
24:54 he was growing into a place of position
24:55 and he was forcefully pursued by this woman, you know,
25:01 he chose to turn and to strive against that desire
25:06 and to flee from that.
25:08 And he even said that this would be sinning
25:10 against my God, you know,
25:11 not just for the man he was working for.
25:14 And then you see Samson on the other side of the fence,
25:19 you know, and really he walked away from sexual integrity,
25:24 he went and pursued the prostitutes in Gaza,
25:27 and he ended up marrying, intermarrying with the Heathen
25:33 and the degradation that brought into his life,
25:37 the challenges that brought into his life, the death,
25:40 his death that it brought into his life and...
25:42 So, Danielle, it really shows the chasm, doesn't it?
25:45 It really does.
25:47 The chasm between open sexuality,
25:48 whatever you want,
25:49 and then also the strength that comes from
25:51 holding back sexuality, right?
25:53 That's right.
25:54 So I just want to conclude with these two quotes
25:56 that I think really encapsulates
25:58 that chasm that we're talking about between these two men.
26:01 This is from the book Patriarchs and Prophets
26:03 written by Ellen White.
26:05 It says, "Physically, Samson was the strongest man
26:08 upon the earth, but in self-control,
26:11 integrity, and firmness, he was one of the weakest."
26:15 And then in contrast we see Joseph in his early years,
26:18 "He had consulted duty rather than inclination
26:22 and the integrity, the simple trust,
26:24 the noble nature of the youth bore fruit
26:27 in the deeds of the man."
26:29 So, you know, it's beginning the journey here
26:32 and walking with God
26:34 and allowing that to fruit in our lives.
26:37 So powerful that Samson
26:39 represented as the strongest man,
26:41 physically, according to integrity, was the weakest.
26:44 And Joseph was counted as the strongest man
26:47 of integrity because he held back
26:49 his sensuality or sexuality.
26:52 You know, Danielle, that's a lesson for someone
26:54 like us and someone who might be listening is that,
26:57 you know, it's only through the strength of God
26:59 that we can even claim a day in sexual purity.
27:02 And I know that it wasn't my power or my strength,
27:06 but one of the most powerful and wonderful things
27:08 is that Romans 1 is really not that God wants to give us up,
27:12 but He wants to give us true sexuality and intimacy.
27:15 Come back and join us again for Pure Choices.


Revised 2018-06-28