None of us make it through this life without our sexuality being assaulted and harmed in some way. Yet this is not an excuse for our sins. Many things happened to us that were not our fault. And we still have the responsibility for how we show up and respond to these moments.
While we rightly name inappropriate, unwanted, and violent touch as assault, our sexuality is bombarded and abused in many subtle ways as well. For instance, we’re often exposed to thoughts and images not of our choosing but that still have a profound impact on us – distorting how we see others, and even ourselves, as sexual beings.
It’s clear not all assaults are the same and the healing journey will be different depending on the type and severity we’ve experienced. All the same, these assaults, whether overt or subtle, leave us wounded. And these wounds shape who we become as sexual men.
As such, it’s very unlikely that our sins happen in a vacuum. They are shaped by the story we’ve fallen into, which includes the various ways our sexuality has been assaulted.
Some will certainly be tempted to use this as an excuse – not wanting to blame the victim for the consequences of someone else’s sins toward them. But inasmuch as our sexuality has been victimized, we’re still responsible for the choices we make today. Our wounds are never a justification for our sins.
At the same time, we don’t have to beat ourselves up as if our sins happen in isolation. Recognizing the many assaults on our sexual selves allows us to extend grace to ourselves as we heal and grow into the fullness of our sexual potential.
In the end, while you remain responsible for the choices you make, you don’t have to downplay or ignore the various ways your sexual self has been assaulted. In fact, it’s through addressing and healing these harms that you continue to faithfully fulfill your duty to steward what God has given you.