Friday, May 9, 2008

He Stole My Jonathon!

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I found myself getting angry. Actually, very angry! It really started last night at my "therapy" group, as we like to call it. I'm sure that society would like to call it a "SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT PROGRAM" and put signs and arrows to the office where we meet, but since the doctor who treats me calls it therapy, I choose to as well. But I digress.

One of the members of the group was sharing an epiphany with us last night about why he thinks he offended. After spending considerable time contemplating why he would be inappropriate with a middle school student, he realized that at the time, he was thinking like a middle schooler and acting like a middle schooler as well. As he spoke, his comments did not seem at all odd to me. I realized several years ago that while I was spending countless hours on-line talking with teenage boys in chat rooms, I was transformed into a teenager myself, at least in my thoughts and actions. My speech and slang were everything you would expect to hear from a 13 or 14 year old boy...certainly not the 45 year old man that I actually was. As he shared, I thought about his words, but the anger didn't begin to spring up.

That happened this morning. As I read my Bible as I do every morning, I found myself in 1 Samuel, where the meeting of David and Jonathon is described.

1 After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king's son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David.2 From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn't let him return home.3 And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself.4 Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt. (NLT)

That was when the anger started to flare! In this passage, there is described the most perfect love that can exist between two young men. The bond was immediate and Jonathon loved David as he loved himself. As I thought about my own life, it was immediately obvious that I had never had a friend like this...never had shared this kind of a bond with another male. Not in my youth and not in my adulthood. The closest that I had ever come was with one or two teen boys that I had chatted with.

But those relationships were nothing more than a fantasy, built on lies and deception. Through my anger, I nearly wanted to cry and scream out the unfairness of it all. Not the on-line relationships...those were really nothing but an illusion and deep down I knew that they were what they were. The unfairness and anger was based on coming to the realization that I may never be able to have that kind of a friendship with another man because of what happened in my youth. I have been "spoiled" by the ultimate spoiler...satan himself.

In the book of John, Jesus is quoted as saying that the enemy (satan) "comes only to steal and kill and destroy." And that is what he did to me. He stole my ability to have a genuine friendship with other boys when I was a child. He destroyed my self esteem and the way that I looked at relationships, covering them in lies and deception. He did all that he could to kill me by dragging me into sin that I didn't understand...and didn't always see.

Our therapist has told us that the things that happen to us in our youth, particularly sexual things, stay with us forever. Although we often try to bury them, as I did, they remain there, under the surface, waiting to emerge. And when it does surface, it impacts us in ways that we never could have imagined. It certainly did in my life!

Every time I read the story of David and Jonathon, my heart is touched by the love they shared...a good and pure love. It is a love that I have discovered that I too want to share. I have loved a woman, my ex-wife Paula, in the deepest, most intimate way that I know how. I have no doubt that I will ever love another woman as much, or in the same way. But I doubt that I will ever experience a the relationship described in 1 Samuel 18. The enemy stole my Jonathon and I'm not sure how to get him back.