In this Saturday’s meeting we were blessed to hear the letter written below by Keith to his now deceased younger brother. I warn group members to be mindful of heir emotions and any emotional triggers they may experience after reading this letter.
By Keith D.
This is hard to write given the circumstances. However, I need to write if only for myself. I hope others who are struggling with sexual addiction and who are thinking that taking one’s own life is the only option dealing with sexual addiction.
You were nine years old and in fourth grade and I was a freshman in college when the family moved to Texas. I don’t remember a lot about you growing up except you riding your plastic snoopy and being in cub scouts as I was busy playing sports and working.
I go to meetings where there is an empty chair in the middle of the room and we talk about “our problem”. Up until this time, the chair has been nameless and faceless to me. However, now this particular chair does have a new name and face. His name is Steve. He was a father, a brother, and good friend to many. He had an infectious smile and laugh to go along with it.
Hearing of your death came to me as a total surprise. I started asking questions like “why” and “how come?” I knew there were a lot of questions that there were not answers for. I often wondered over the years if the same terrible things happened to you as a child as they did me, that is, if our neighbor sexually abused you too. I felt we were never close enough that you would answer me honestly so I did not ask. From the outcome of your life (i.e. being registered as a sex offender) I can only assume so.
When it comes to sexual addiction, silence is never golden! This disease thrives in secrecy. The only way to overcome it is to expose it and take responsibility for one’s actions, to ask God to shed His light in every dark area, and confessing your sins and weaknesses to others so you may be healed! Pride, shame and condemnation empower this disease and has kept you in shackles for years. It is only through humility and the Power of Jesus Christ that breaks these chains and sets one free. For who the Lord has set free is free indeed! I have found this freedom and wish you were here to tell you about it.
I need to ask for your forgiveness because I was not courageous enough to stand up against evil. I did not stand up against the evil and sick things our neighbor did to me and what he may have done to you as well. We lived in a small town and my classmates were already calling a homosexual because of my deep friendship with another male classmate. That does not excuse my actions. Please forgive me for being silent. I wanted to speak up but I just couldn’t muster the courage.
The bible talks a lot about relationships. It says that “friends love at all times, but brothers were born for adversity”. This scripture has taken on a new meaning for me. We were born in the same family and born for adversity. However, we never lived in the potential and relationship that God has called us.
Secondly, it says that a three-strand cord is not easily broken. We did not have deep conversations about the Lord until just three years ago at our niece’s high school graduation. It was the first time we talked about things that mattered in life. And after mom had passed just a few weeks later, it was you that rose up and said not to let our relationships go by the wayside. I was proud of you for rising up. That is what I should have been done as an older brother, protecting and looking after my siblings as our parents have passed.
I also know that no man lives and dies to himself. That in both your life and death you impacted so many people. You enjoyed life no matter what the circumstances or so it seemed as it could be seen in your smile and laugh. If only you could have seen all the people that filled the room and all the tears that were shed. Although you were divorced, she still called you her husband and buried you wearing your wedding band.
I wish you could have seen how hard your sixteen year old son cried after the funeral. I cried for him knowing that this was a path you chose. It is not the only path though however. I found a Gentle Path and something called “Rigorous Honesty” for people like us that can help us with “our problem” and bring us back to sanity. I wish you could have heard the anger in your boss when he spoke at your funeral as he was the one who found your limp body hanging in the air. I have found one the only one who needed to be hung once for all, the one who died for our sins and the one who died to set us free!
There are two paths one with this sickness and disease can take. One path leads to death, confusion, heartache and a lot of questions. This path offers a permanent solution to a temporary problem and situation.
As I looked at your face, I can tell you are finally now at peace. You are no longer being tormented by the demons of addictions in your life. However, there is peace along the other path too despite of one’s circumstances. It is the path where you find Jesus and can share His love and compassion with others who are struggling with the same issues. He has told us that there will be many trials and tribulations, but we can have peace in spite of our circumstances. In fact, we can rejoice because those who truly find Him find true peace as He has already won the battle over sin and death.
The other path, although may seem insurmountable and very difficult at times, is a path you take with others. There may be many tears on this path, but at the end this path leads to life and the crown of life as those who choose this path are over-comers by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb. I wish you were here for me to tell you of this path.
I do not know why or how we chose the paths we did. It could have very easily been me lying there in that room. I do know that it is only by the grace and mercy of God himself that it was not.
When I attend the meetings from this point on, the empty chair is no longer empty. I wish that it still was. However, my voice will no longer be silent. Forgive me for being silent. Your death will not be in vain. Silence is never golden when it comes to sexual addiction!