Secret Sins by Merlin Carothers

Chapter One

She Was Beautiful

     She was beautiful. Every curve of her body screamed, "Look at me!" My first glance convinced me that I should look just a little longer. The longer I looked the more desirable she appeared.

     The lustful thoughts that flashed through my mind caused me to feel guilty, so I forced myself to look away. But then I realized that soon she might be out of sight; I might not get to see her again. I managed another quick glance. Yes, she was even more alluring than I had at first realized. Despite my best efforts, my eyes kept reveling in what they were seeing. I wondered what it would be like to...

     Such scenarios as this were repeated many times over the years until, eventually, they became second nature to me. Images of scantily clothed women seized my attention often, and to my dismay, caused my mind to churn with desires that I didn't want anyone to know about.

     Was I abnormal? No. Nearly all men experienced the overpowering urge to enjoy the enticing arousal that attractive women can produce. Men enjoy these secret thoughts about women, and the more they enjoy such thoughts the more addicted to them they become. What few men realize is that every time they become sexually stimulated, a change takes place within them. Each occasion creates a desire for yet more stimulation. Eventually the body and mind crave ever-increasing stimulation. This change, however, takes place so subtly that most men don't realize what is happening.

     Of course, some men feel no guilt when immoral thoughts flow through their minds; still they would not want their secret thoughts to be revealed.

     Repeatedly I prayed, "Oh God, please don't ever let me think such thoughts again!" And I was sure I wouldn't - and I didn't - until the next time my eyes beheld an especially beautiful woman. How deliciously enticing she was! Mmm...Then, once again, I determined to think only good thoughts. But after a while...So many good reasons for me to excuse myself.

     After every failure I prayed for forgiveness, but I wondered if I would ever find a way to not desire what I, in fact, did desire. I began to fear that I would never achieve such a challenging goal. Was there some evil force within me that was forcing me to think immoral thoughts? Or was I just a normal man suffering what is a natural part of man's carnal nature? Why, I asked, are men forced to wage such a never ending battle? Why did God permit us to sink into such a dark abyss? Why didn't He make it easier for us to look in the mirror and see a person who is not ashamed of his secret thoughts?

     And why did I feel guilty when I read: "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Lu. 6:46).

     I knew I was sincerely trying to obey Christ; yet I knew I was being disobedient. Second Peter 2:14 (TLB) was written for me: "No woman can escape their sinful stare." This painful dilemma continued for years - even after I became a pastor. I know that other pastors face this same distressing quandary.

     When I became ensnared in evil desires, such as enjoying images that have the deliberate purpose of creating immoral thoughts in us, I did not see myself as an active participant in evil. If anything, I saw those persons who created the images as being the evil ones and myself as merely a passive observer. But evil has the power to corrupt anyone who willingly enjoys it, and Jesus told us to beware of anything that provokes evil desires.

     It took me many years to acknowledge to myself that my own thoughts were like a bacteria that spreads its influence over everything it touches. Immoral movies, pictures, books and magazines have the power to spread their dominion over anyone who invites their presence. Jesus knew this to be true, and gave us adequate warning. I knew the words He spoke, but I didn't understand them. Or, maybe I didn't want to understand them.

     Then, one day, God mercifully revealed truths I should have known all those years. Every man who reads the things God revealed to me, will be given the key to be set free from Satan's cleverly devised trap. Every woman, too, needs to know the things that men so desperately need to know. The following pages will expose the ambush that Satan has laid for us.

 

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