Almost Sex: Let us talk about Porn today!

How many of you can openly talk about porn or masturbation with one of your parents? Not many of you, I bet. In an Indian context, I am sure that even if one of their children were to bring up either of these ‘words’ in a chat with their parents, a large section of the parents would simply panic and scramble to hide. In more conservative homes, some parents may not even understand the truth or depth behind the issues.

Today I see a number of guys (though not all but many of them) and girls (though not all but some for sure) getting caught up in this vicious visual cycle and scaringly, the trend is on the rise.  

Think about it: What is the purpose of Porn?

Let me keep it plain and simple —- To make money and create lust. Let us not reason it much beyond this.

It is no wonder that there is such a surge in incidents of rapes and sexual abuse of minors in recent years and it is alarmingly on the increase. This is sad, very sad. 

Once I heard a lady sharing her story. She had raised a girl in the orphanage that she runs and during a holiday season the girl was sent back to the guardians (interesting going by the rule of the government). During her stay there, this minor girl was raped. It is sad. It is heart breaking to see that this 14 yr old had not just been raped but she conceived because of it and an abortion had to be carried out. Further, adding insult to injury the whole episode was shoved under rug. A long while later it was understood that the cousins who had harmed her were in fact deeply addicted to porn 😦

I wept when I heard this. 

What wrong had this poor teen girl done to be in such a position? Shouldn’t her guardians have protected her? Does she have to face this because she is an orphan? Where is she now? What would she have gone through?

The truth is that porn keeps putting roots in you deeper and deeper. So much so that over time you surf your computer or your mobile phones or tabs, looking for harder and more outrageous stuff. The problem is, it does not stop there rather it pushes you to act out what you have seen.

Porn desensitizes you. ——— Understand this….. this is not just about wanting to watch harder material over a period of time but in fact has more to do with sexual arousal. Most viewers masturbate while watching porn or immediately after watching it, which eventually desensitizes them. Over a period of time your body gets insensitive to greater amount of porn and becomes unable to give you the hormone stings and highs you once got in an instant. Let me be very direct, and sorry for being straight. Sex thus becomes non-pleasurable, painful and ultimately unsatisfying because the person is not able to ‘finish’. I hope you get that clear and straight.

Porn makes you lazy ——— Instead of waiting and finding the right person to marry at the right age and working marriage out in real life (real sex included), porn is an easy, shortcut and instant way to get gratification. Please understand, we are not talking about satisfaction. It can never be satisfaction. Let me put this straight. You become a slave to your own degrading lustful urges. Over a period of time the man or the woman is too lazy to communicate, too lazy to grow in mutual respect, too lazy to control the urges. One becomes a lazy animal. 

Porn is wrong ———- You sit in your own little room in front your own little mobile phone or tab or comp, and just indulge in lustful, fantasy imagination and one day, some day (time alone gives the answer) the fantasy pushes you to act against someone, very often precious ones that are easy preys. Guys or men better watch out to identify any such inexplicable urges and fantasies that seem to creep into your mind. 

I had shared this in one of my posts a few months ago. I was sitting with this girl who was sold as a prostitute (a 23 yr old girl) and counseling her. She wept. Isn’t it ironic that if, sex selling would satisfy and make life complete and joyful, these girls would have been the most successful and satisfied personalities. Sadly the truth is just the opposite. 

My Personal Story:  I was first introduced to porn at 11 years of age. To begin with, it puzzled me. I became curious. I began to indulge and go deeper. I cannot even bring myself to remember my struggle with porn. I was great on the outside, but deep side, I was just a sewage gutter filled with muck. 

When I was 18, I had to make the turn. Why? Because books or images and even the places where I played, could not satisfy me anymore. I wanted more. All of a sudden I began to realize that I was on a highway driving at 100 miles an hour deep into a pit. I had to put my breaks on. I needed to make a U turn.

I sought for help, began to open up and share. I needed a change in perspective, in attitude and I needed to appreciate life. Gradually, I began to see my life as precious. I began to honor God and understand His love for me. I began to invest and receive love from true relationships. Does this all happen immediately? No! No! It took almost 2 years for a full recovery to happen.

In about 1000+ words, I could only share the basics and those fundamentals. There are many other angles to this.

Hear this: Nothing positive can ever come out of porn. 

Every time I see a movie (‘Taken’ is one of my favourite movies in the recent past) on sex trafficking or girls being trafficked, my heart aches. It is such girls held in bondage and slavery who are used to produce those shameful pornographic movies.

I wanted to paste an excerpt from a story of a former porn actress. I want to be careful and discreet. That is why I have taken away few words. IF you are below 18 years old, have an older brother or parents with you as you read this.

Jess
“I did ********** to start out and it was the most degrading, embarrassing, horrible thing ever. I had to shoot an interactive DVD, which takes hours and hours of shooting time, with a 104 degree fever! I was crying and wanted to leave but my agent wouldn’t let me, he said he couldn’t let me flake on it. I also did a scene where I was put with male talent that was on my ‘no list’. I wanted to please them so I did it. He stepped on me, abusing me.  I freaked out and started bawling; they stopped filming and sent me home with reduced pay since they got some shot but not the whole scene.”

Regan
“I got the **** kicked out of me… most of the girls start crying because they’re hurting so bad… I couldn’t breathe. I was being hit and choked. I was really upset and they didn’t stop. They kept filming. [I asked them to turn the camera off] and they kept going.”

Jessie
“People in the porn industry are numb to real life and are like zombies walking around. The abuse that goes on in this industry is completely ridiculous. The way these young ladies are treated is totally sick. I left due to the trauma I experienced even though I was there only for a short time. I hung out with a lot of people in the adult industry, everybody from contract girls to porn actresses. Everybody has the same problems. Everybody is on drugs. It’s an empty lifestyle trying to fill up a void. I became horribly addicted to heroin and crack. I overdosed at least three times, had tricks pull knives on me, have been beaten half to death…”

Alexa
“Like most porn performers, I perpetuated this lie. One of my favorite things to say when asked if I liked doing a particular scene was, “I only do what I like! I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it!” (I would say this with a big fake smile and giggle.) What a total lie! I did what I had to do to get “work” in porn. I did what I knew would help me gain “fame” in the industry.”

Many many more stories. Did I know about all of these? No!

But today I am so glad I made that turn. My dear friend, please make that turn today. Put the brakes on and turn around, start driving in the opposite direction. You are too precious to lose your life. Be wise! Be alert! Make your choice. Make it today! God has created you in a precious unique way.

You are too precious dear!

Calling ‘Porn’ ALMOST SEX is technically at best.

Today, researchers call it the NEW DRUG!

We will talk about the ‘M’ word next week. Yes, it is indeed a very sensitive and delicate topic. But let us deal with it head on.

FOR PARENTS:

It is funny that when I was writing this, my 7 year old boy came around and asked, ‘What is this daddy? Porn kills love. What is Porn?” I said, ‘It is something very bad, and I will explain it later when you grow up” —- Parents if you are reading this, please do take time to talk with your children and teenagers. Have a sensitive open talk. Not that you have to open up everything. No! But start the process and please protect your kids.

Read: ————- http://www.fightthenewdrug.org —————

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Almost SEX: How far is too far – let us deal with the MAIN POINT today!

How far is too far? So, have you drawn some kind of line in your relationship? Where is that line for you now? Can you write your boundary line here ___________________________________________.

Now the big question is, have you gone over that line, be it accidentally or intentionally?

Now let me ask you this, your friend who knows your weakness and those vulnerable places you would slip into, if he were to draw that line for you, where would he draw it?

To have a better understanding of yourself and your limits is an important key.

Keeping yourself pure and abstaining until marriage is very important for both emotional, physical and social health.

For the youngsters today, whether one has had sex or not is all a play on words. Many of them tell me that they have never had sex. But then they go on to admit that they have had Oral sex or Anal sex. They don’t consider it as sex. Shocking? (May be not shocking to you 🙂

IF you think the hook up, the casual sexual encounters or being in the “friends with benefits” club saves you from heartache or makes you a power player, think again.

You have bought the lie that it is manly to bed every Betsy you meet or at least the hot ones and then over a period of time you will settle down when you find the ‘right one’. The problem is you are just wearing yourself out.

Think of sex as a roller coaster. You keep riding it with different girls or guys; some you may really care about and others you don’t really care about much. Over period of time the excitement that your once got, starts wearing off. By now, you know the big climbs and those turns and when your stomach churns and so forth. It just does not give you the thrill that it used to give you, during the initial times.

And then eventually you find the special someone and you get married. Your newlywed partner is all excited to start off on this thrilling journey with you and here you are all worn out and hardly impressionable or excited. But of course, the worst scenario would be when both the newly married spouses have played around and are worn out. That is just simply dry and frustrating. This is just one angle of it.

Do you see what God intended the two people in a marriage to enjoy and how it becomes dry and meaningless because they just couldn’t wait for the right time? I hear what you are saying… “Hey dude, I have urges and desires. How can I go about without satisfying them?” I hear you scream, “Dude, it is impossible?” Yes I get it. It is hard to resist and easy to give in.

But, can we not see the obvious? With all the connections and premature curious give ins and give outs in sexual behavior, why are there still so many marriages crumbling down? Why are there so many abuses happening inside the marriage? Why are there so many cases of impotency? Why are there so many cases of depression? Why are there so many cases of murder and suicides inside marriages? Why? Why? Why? 

Let me throw in just a few facts.

A survey revealed that out of those surveyed 67% of teens who’d had sexual intercourse wished they had waited longer ~ Washington DC review: 2003

(This is for those who say that it is good for me to try out and experiment and be prepared for marriage)

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a virus  responsible for 99.7 % of cervical cancer cases and deaths in women. If ingested orally through oral sex, it can be responsible for both head and neck cancer and oral warts. ~ Oral HPV behavior Mar 10, 2004.

(This is for those who say that we are not having physical intercourse. It is just other forms of experimenting. What is the big deal about it?)

In the US, more than 19 million STD infections occur annually. Half of them are contracted by youth ranging in ages from 15 to 24. ~ CDC Trends: General Research: 2003

(This is for those who say, I am young and if I don’t play around now, when will I ever get time to play around.)

51% of teen marriages end up in divorce before the age of 24. ~ U.S. Bureau of Statistics. —— Let me add to this statistics from another source —– Another 40% of such early marriages end up in abuse and manipulation and domestic violence. Another 7% end up living frustrated lives which leads into depression. So just 2% of these early marriages hold ground (because they make a u-turn somewhere in between realising their mistakes of the past) ~ one click away research portal.

(This is for those who are strong in trying to get the relationship work and somehow even work it out and feel good they have done it. The interesting fact is that it is not just the point at which marriage happens. It is life after that)

That much said, in the next few weeks I will take time to share a few things on a few other aspects. But I am just making ONE point today. IT IS WORTH THE WAIT! IT IS SURELY WORTH IT! Ask your older friends, older brothers and sisters and even your parents. They will tell you.

If you are someone who finds it hard to curb the urge, you have to make a conscious decision on how you think about sex. You need to raise your standards and look into fruits that could yield on a longer run. Not short, quick, instant satisfaction.

“Good girls are looking for good guys. And there is a shortage. So be that guy”

“Good guys are looking for good girls. And there is a shortage. So be that girl”

Several years ago, I had this guy come up to me during a camp. He said that he is under tremendous pressure to sleep around because most of his friends are sleeping around. Then he said something interesting. “Since I am a man and when I sleep around, it doesn’t affect a man right? It only affects the girl.” I smiled and asked him another question. “What kind of a girl would you like to marry? A girl who has played around and slept around or the one who has kept herself true and pure (could have slipped here and there)” He immediately answered “I want a girl who has kept herself true and pure”

Wow! Wow! Then I said, “You desire a girl who has kept herself true and pure, but you don’t want to keep yourself true and pure? Is there not a mismatch in how you desire and think?”

Hey guys and girls! I find myself repeating this often, yet I say it again. Be careful, how you live. Invest into a future that will be a blessing for your children. Today I see so many kids hurt and neglected and abused because they pay for the choices their parents had taken, while in their youth. But, I say, although it may seem early, think about the long future ahead. Think about the kids you will someday have. Be wise. God has made you very precious. Please don’t throw your precious life on the streets for the pigs. Keep it precious, safeguard it. 

Hold it. Wait for it. Life is fragile, you can either break it or make it. 

Will see you in the next post. I want to talk about why and how waiting becomes more difficult. What are those causes? Especially want to talk about Pornography and Masturbation.

FORGIVENESS: It is the PROCESS. Not the PERSON!

Hmmmm….ok now let’s get into the nuts and bolts of forgiveness.

‘SHOULD WE FORGIVE?’ is never the question. No!

Understand that WE HAVE TO FORGIVE. There is NO OTHER OPTION.

If we do not forgive, the unforgivess will only rot you out.

The right question to ask is, HOW DO WE FORGIVE?

Let us take it a step further. HOW DO WE FORGIVE THE UNDESERVING AND THE UNFORGIVABLE?

That is very tough. Am I right? To forgive those we think that deserve forgiveness is easy. But to forgive those we think that don’t deserve forgiveness is tough.

But consider it like this, only when you forgive someone, or if I may put it differently, only when we let someone off the hook, someone who does not deserve forgiveness, only then would the real meaning of the term forgiveness be fulfilled. If you are forgiving someone who deserves to be forgiven, then you are only doing a favour in return or doing a favour because the other person deserves it. Whereas when you forgive someone who is actually unforgivable, then your forgiveness has greater value. The one forgiven will then value the forgiveness he has received much much much much much more. One who cannot be forgiven at all and deserves great punishment, will then actually value the heart of forgiveness.

So, it is required that we forgive. Or else,let me say this again, un-forgiveness will eat you from  the inside. We now come to another question. What if the other person does not accept or receive your forgiveness? Your process of forgiveness does not depend on whether this person has accepted your forgiveness or not. He or she might constantly ignore your forgiveness and might even point out from time to time that he or she has not done anything wrong.  So your forgiving the other person, is totally an act from your side, your decision. Please note that I have intentionally used the word ‘process’. Oh yeah! Forgiveness is not a one time act. It is a process. It starts from a one time act, but it is a process.

What does this process involve?

Everytime you are reminded of the things this person has done against you, you need to make an intentional choice not to entertain those negative thoughts but remind yourself that you have started the journey/ the process to give forgiveness to this person.

Everytime you are tempted to narrate this whole incident about what the person has done, please resist that temptation to share and even if you do share, make it very short and choose to make it insignificant.

Everytime there is a similar incident occuring or is about to occur, be wise and learn from your past experience quickly make a way of escape and gaurd yourself. Don’t sit there waiting to be hit the same way. Gaurd and cover yourself. Be wise.

Everytime you feel or sense anger inside of you and you tend to negatively blame a particular situation, recover quickly and understand that you are in control of your life and you can move it in the direction you want to.

Can you work with these principles right now? I will write more next week. This itself is a lot to chew and act upon.

I am in a school in one of the remote villages near Kanyakumari, the tip of India.

Today, I did a session on forgiveness. A teacher who was sitting behind came up to me after the session. She is in her fifties. She began to weep like a baby. My heart broke seeing her cry. She had bottled unforgiveness deep inside for so many years and this is the first time she has ever opened up. She could not even breathe as she wept.

I sat there listening and crying with her. Then slowly she began to speak. She said that she was unable to be loving with the kids. She knows that it is her bottled up anger and unforgiveness that has patterned her life this way. I heard her out and talked about just one principle. It is the principle of Gratitude and Grace. Only when you are grateful for where God has brought and raised you up today, can you be gracious.

I will share more on this next week. Bye for now. I travel to Trivandrum tomorrow to speak at several schools.

See yah!

Don’t try to forget; but Face and FORGIVE!

An excerpt of the email sent by my mom’s elder sister below

My younger sister got married to a man who pretended to be a good and sincere man. The very night of their marriage, he locked her out of the house. She was left to spend the entire night by herself standing outside, begging him to let her in. On some evenings, he would bring her fresh flowers for her hair (In India, when the husband returns home from a day’s hard work, the dutiful wife is expected to welcome him, looking beautiful, dressed well, her hair adorned with jasmine flowers and a smile on her face) and take her out on a walk or shopping. But, once they returned home, her husband would inevitably pick a fight, ask her who she was dressed up for, accuse her of cheating on him, shout at her, assault and torture her physically.     

This ruthless routine did not change even when she was pregnant. Even during the 5th to the 9th month of her pregnancy, her husband would torture her emotionally and physically. He would push her down, ask her to remove his shoe and while she bent to do so, he would kick her. She would fall on her stomach hurting herself and the baby.  Even after she delivered the baby, the torture continued. When the child cried, both he and the mother would be beaten up. If the baby crawled up to the father, he would kick the child off like a football. It was when her son was a year old that her husband picked up a fight and then burnt her alive. 

The baby was me. I could have died……….. Many years ago I would say, I should have died. But I did not. Now, the big question. What led me to or how did I forgive my dad? Oh! yeah. It is a good question. 

When I was 22 years old, living in North-east India, working as a caretaker in a hostel for kids, I began to think. Some solid perspectives, changed the way I saw forgiveness. Till then I was bitter. Then after sometime, when I left my home and travelled far away, I ignored the pain deep inside. I chose to forget that I had a father like this and that he had done so much in my life. I wished the memories would just get brain washed and I could start a new life. But it did not happen. Why? Because everytime I was pushed into a corner, or be caught up in tense situations, my old memories would bombard me. I could not escape those. I tried hard to divert my mind, but when I was alone, they came back to haunt me. 

So, now I was pretty sure that escaping the pain, burying the memories or ignoring and focusing on other good things will not work. There should be another way. What was that way? Hmmm… we have come to a good point. 

I will share more on this by the coming friday. But I would like you to ask yourself these questions?

1. Are you trying to ignore what a person has done to you and trying to forget it?

2. Are you burying and escaping the pain, every time it lifts its head up?

3. Are you trying very hard to live your life to the fullest?

4. Are you trying to stay away from people who resemble or are similar to this person that has hurt you very badly? (I did this so much)

5. Are you sulky and soaking in self pity when someone hurts you now?

6. Do you always see yourself as the victim?

7. Do you find it hard to see the silverlining or the bright side of things?

7. Do you find it hard to forgive people now? (The smallest hurt aches for several months)

8. Are you inclined towards people who encourage you and accuse the person who has hurt you? Do you find yourself liking it?

Hmmm…. if you are saying yes to any of the above questions, or saying yes to many questions, there is a huge problem. Not in your circumstances or in your context. It is with you. You need to change. The change needs to happen inside out. You need to take control of that change and steer it in the right way. 

I love this quote that I heard several years ago – “If you don’t change your reality, Your reality will change you”. Ahhhh… you need to face it head on. 

Three days ago, one of the security guards working for my company was in an accident while he was riding a scooter. He hit an old man by accident. Unfortunately, this old man was the main kingpin of our area. So what happened, his sons gathered and beat up the security guard. My wife and I rushed in to negotiate and settle. We were at the hospital till 1 am, the next morning. What did I see and hear? I could see the sons being very agitated and saying they will never forgive (I understand this and I would have been tempted to react this way also, if this would have been my blood relative/ parent who was hit). The police came, but couldn’t help much. But my wife and I stood by quietly and calmly, answering questions when asked. The next day, we went to the hospital, all alone with smiles we talked with the lovely old man (he was an amazing guy). Suddenly, we could sense that the mood in the whole room had changed. They began to call me sir and offered me seat. How did this happen? Was I angry about how they had beaten up the security guard? (definitely yes and I was thinking of calling all the influential people in that area and take revenge)  But I have learnt the principle that I should not allow opportunities for battles to start. I need to let go and forgive and befriend my foe. (These two sons are actually good guys )

Revenge is not a great thing. At the end of the day, it will kill you.

That is exactly what happened. Now, the anger and bitterness is gone, the issue is resolved and we have made a set of new, might I say very important friends ;). When I sit back and think about this, I can surely tell that my inner security and identity gives me the deep rooted restedness to let go and forgive. It cannot happen from an external factor. 

I will surely talk more about this on next friday. 

Please take care and sorry for the delay in this post.

I was not willing to let go. But…

My mother Epsi, as she was lovingly called, was a beautiful and delicate 23 year old who loved the Lord, loved life and enjoyed being part of all the local church activities. Her marriage brought a rude shock and an abrupt end to life as she knew until then.

Every day she would be beaten up and abused at the hands of her husband. Although startled and quiet at first, she eventually tried to seek help from anywhere she could. She would speak to local people, acquaintances and anyone she came across of what she was going through, desperately hoping someone would help, maybe even counsel her husband. Slowly, a few took notice and decided to intervene. But, as people began trying to reach out to my father and counsel him, he became increasingly frustrated and angry at my mother. He would beat her up to scare her and make her stop talking about what happens at home. But, she did not stop.

My mother died when I was fifteen months old. I was too young to understand or remember anything from what happened then.

It seems natural that as my mother kept on talking to others about the abuse at home, my father would have become more and more infuriated with her. Desperate to quieten her, murder could have been an option he considered. Finally, he planned it and during one of their fights, he found the opportunity.

As the fight heated up, my father made sure that I was put in another room and then emptied the overhead water tank. He then went on to pour kerosene on my mother, lit the match and threw it at her. As soon as the fire was blazing engulfing my mother and she began screaming, the neighbours started rushing in. My father, afraid of being caught by them, ran away. My aunts, mom’s sisters, prepared to file a complaint but, my mom refused, insisting that she did not want her child to be called a murderer’s son. She wanted to release her husband in forgiveness. So, when the police came down for her statement, she told them that it was her mistake and that her husband had nothing to do with it.

I heard this story when I was 21 years old. I was already bitter against my dad and when I came to know of this story, I became furious. My bitterness deep down became very strong. I was not willing and ready to let go.

“Sometimes the hardest thing in life for a human to do is to let go and let God. We sometimes get so caught up with trying to hold on and we miss out on what we wanted, right in front of us, because of refusal to let go.” Niccarria Dent

Oh yes, two weeks ago I wrote a post that we need to hold on. But today, it is all about not holding on, but letting go. Human tendency to hold on and hold on and hold on and hold on, especially to unforgiveness can be dangerous.

You see, when you forgive someone, you help yourself, but when you don’t forgive, you continue to hurt yourself.

 1) Unforgiveness always keeps a long account. I was fussing and fuming at my father and I would bring up stuff that happened years before and it kept growing until it became a bitter giant in my heart. Hmm… it was not very great.

2) Unforgiveness always proudly boasts of itself. Unforgiveness always says, ”I always do good and others do bad. Why is life so hard on me?” Remember this question is arising from our own place of unforgiveness and bitterness.

3) Unforgiveness always complains and complains and complains. We begin to have an attitude that others don’t do anything for us and we are the best ones on planet earth. If you’re continuously using your mouth to complain about some incident of offense, you won’t get past it. Don’t waste time complaining. It’s like scratching the wound every day. It would never heal, but bleed.

4) Unforgiveness has a tendency to not enjoy life. Workaholics are particularly the ones prone to fall in this trap. People who work all the time and don’t know how to enjoy their life get jealous of others enjoying their lives. Is there someone who aggravates you by looking too happy with their lives? When you see them having a good time? If yes, you could have unforgiveness toward them. I only said you could. It could be jealousy or envy too. Do an acid test for your heart 🙂

5) Unforgiveness always divides and dooms. I see many running away from right relationships and staying away from the right people. You know why? Because unforgiveness deep down causes this divide.  Unforgiveness always looks to divide and separate you from right relationships and right places.

6) Unforgiveness is always angry when the other person is improving and doing well. If someone who has hurt you gets a blessing, you begin to grind and grill your teeth. You are never able to celebrate another person’s success.

I can keep adding to this list. I will write more on this for the next three weeks.

Let me give you three important pointers today.

  • FORGIVENESS is not a one time act. It begins that way, but it is a process.
  • FORGIVENESS cannot happen if you escape or bury or avoid. We need to face it up and deal with it.
  • FORGIVENESS releases your heart and your spirit. Forgiveness is good for you.

How did I actually forgive? We will talk about all this and more next week. In the meantime, can you start thinking and evaluating those places and relationships in your own life? Let this week be amazing as you begin to take that fantastic journey.

I was in the remote parts of Orissa to spend the weekend with some poor children. Just came back to the Bangalore. 350 kids live on this campus and there are committed people who are working as teachers here with them. We are looking at helping these kids in some tangible ways.

OLD way! NEW way!

Attention! Attention! Attention! I was a ‘go get involved’ kind of a kid. I was involved in everything. You name it, and I was most likely part of it. I loved running around, made the most of the recesses, played and sometimes fought with friends. Even so, I was quite weary of overdoing it, because my step mom who was teaching at the same school would come to hear of it. Then, it would be an outpour of beatings on our return walk home. 😉 So, I held myself back many a time.  

I was a hands on fella, would get muddy and dirty like a pig. Yeah! You got it! My step mom would be fuming. She was especially concerned about the white pair of uniforms. The poor lady had to wash all our clothes with her hands, she would soak them in soap and then beat them against a hard washing rock and then squeeze them out to hang them to dry. It must have been awful for her, especially to whiten my browned uniforms. I do get it now, but at that time, I couldn’t care any less. I loved my freedom and made the most of it. I was brilliant, did well for myself, but hardly ever focused on studies. I couldn’t concentrate. I was a great dreamer, loved day dreaming. Yes, of course all kids dream, but I think I was a little obsessive about it.   

In everything, I was trying to get attention and on that route trying to find my identity and security. The school I was attending had a tie up with the Compassion Child Project and guess what, the beauty about that was “Free Food”. Wow! I knew the weekly menu by heart. Couldn’t help it, I loved food and that is an understatement. My plate would be piled up with food and I ate everything, the tiniest morsel too. But why? Well, I was being practical. You see I didn’t know what the situation at home would be in the evening. So, it just makes sense to fill my stomach when I could. I also proudly showed everyone that I could eat so much. Again I was trying to figure out my identity. 

At the end of each school year, at the Annual Day Prize distribution, I would receive about 15 to 20 prizes. You do remember that I participated in everything. Why? Well, again that was one way I could find my identity. It could be elocution, essay writing, poetry, acting, singing, anything and I was there. I was pretty good at acting and singing.

Then there were these sports events and I always came first in them. Sports were my heart beat, I would always win prizes. Triple Jump, Long Jump, High Jump, Shot Put, Athletics, be it 100 or 200 meters sprint or the 4 x100 meters relay, Kho Kho, Volley Ball, Throw Ball and Kabaddi, I put my heart and soul in them. Although these sound professional and glamorous, remember the school I was studying at was very, very poor. There were no facilities, no play grounds, no tracks, no jumping pits, no running shoes, there was nothing. So, for the sprint, we would run touch the wall at the end and run back. High jumps were on sand and the back would hurt badly. But, you know what anything was better than what was happening at home.        

With all those prizes, did I practice? Of course, I did. I jumped open drainages, open sewage gutters or jumped over barbed fences (I tore the skin on my thigh once). I would throw huge rocks and cement blocks, practicing my shots for the Shot Put. My imagination was vivid, so for practicing at sprints, I would imagine being chased by a gang and would run as though for my life. I did have a running commentary though to go with it. I ran on deserted roads to improve my speed.

Today, I sit back and realise. Ahhhh! I was so desperately trying to find my identity. The environments I grew up at home, left me confused and hurt. While these above things seem great, there were also these other things that I did that were not so great.

Why? Well, they brought me attention and helped find my identity.

The dictionary defines a “masterpiece” as “a person’s greatest work of art,” or a “consummate example of skill or excellence.” Now, when God describes you as His masterpiece, what comes into your mind? Do you accept His assessment, or do you think, “Well, He must surely be talking about someone else…if He really knew me, He wouldn’t think that!”

Your personal identity—how you see yourself—is often shaped by your early experiences in life. Maybe your parents said things to you as a child that made you doubt your worth. Maybe you were rejected or abused. If so, I can relate to what you have been through, because I experienced every kind of rejection and abuse as I was growing up. I was sexually, verbally, emotionally and physically abused by different people from the time. I then carried those emotional wounds into my relationships and work. I would go on thinking, others need to change and then it struck me, “ahh… I need to change. I need to be secure.” 

Even when I met and married Manju (my wife)—a wonderful, loving woman—I didn’t know how to give or receive love. I was controlling, manipulative, angry, critical, negative, overbearing and judgmental. All I had grown up with, I had become. My problems were deep inside me, caused by years of abuse, a wrong mindset and my wounded emotions.

I had to take one step at a time. First, find my security, then my purpose. I will conclude with four questions that you could ask by pinpointing your purpose and finding true meaning and identity.

1. Things I won’t (List them. Spend time thinking and write carefully. Your strong convictions and resolutions that you have now kept and practiced)

2. Things I Can’t (Things you have learnt and got burnt from, in the past. You know it is a mistake and are determined not to do again)

3. Things I Must (Things you are working out right now in your life. Things that are becoming your perspectives and convictions)

4. Things I can (Things that you learn from others that you need to improve, you are good at etc. Things you need to work on and try)

Try to be aware of why you are doing what you are doing. What are you seeking to get out of it? Are you seeking to get someone’s attention, approval, appreciation or applause, or are you doing what you are doing, because you like doing it? Doing things seeking attention from others is childish it’s what we see toddlers do. 

You should rather be doing things that you want to do, things that you know are right and should be done and they should be done the best way possible.

As far as possible try not to seek your identity in what you do, rather seek your identity and purpose in who you genuinely are. That my friend, is the key. 

God has made you very special and unique. There is no one else like you. Engrave that on your heart’s tablet 🙂

Your Security is your PURPOSE! Your Purpose is your SECURITY!

Sexual Abuse is not Sexy :( Morality is Mandatory :)

“My neighbour friend suddenly started showing me porn clips on his phone.”

“A language teacher, who came home to teach me, started doing things to me that were very uncomfortable. My parents are not at home and I am alone.”

 “My brother’s friend started sending me vulgar text messages and I am very uncomfortable.”

I have been hearing very difficult stories in the last few weeks.

For me personally, it is really sad to see morality and hard kept foundations being compromised in many lives. People who once strongly believed in keeping high moral standards are slowly accepting that morality is relative.

A teenager once wrote, ‘Morality needs freedom in reality’. It is an interesting statement. 

IF we make morality relative, it will cause numerous problems. For instance, if I believe killing is not wrong and you believe killing is wrong (making morality relative) then co-existence of the two of us could get short-circuited. Why? Since I believe killing is not wrong, and you agree and accept my relative view of morality, I could at anytime come over and kill you. 

Did you see that? Apply this to other instances. Other moral issues. 

ahhhhh…. ahhhh… I know you are saying one moral issue is wrong and another moral issue may not be wrong. Possibly you are saying, one moral issue is severely wrong and another is not as severe. But consider this, ‘Wrong is wrong’. 

There is nothing called blue wrong, red wrong, yellow wrong or white wrong, a little wrong or grossly wrong. The very nature of wrong has the tendency to infect and affect. Some of those issues or wrongs that seem less severe may not immediately infect and affect, but it will surely do so on a longer run. It will catch up.

That is why I believe in God’s standards of absolute morality, not our standards. God’s standards have foundations that were laid years and years before. For example, I see Teens debating with me that family can be replaced with other alternative structures. 

Well, I think this could be dangerous. Family is a foundational structure, if it is compromised, slowly but steadily, consequences will catch up. Then this person who debated so much on the right of that issue, may not even have a voice or even life to stand for it, because consequences have hit this person hard.

I wanted to be very sensitive and hence I have chosen statements very carefully. If you are offended, I am sorry. But please give yourself time to think of all this, in an objective way. Not from your emotional subjective position. Just for the sake of good logic and reason, just for sometime get out into the objective place and think.

SO, WHAT IS CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?  

Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. When a perpetrator engages with a child in this manner, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim for years. Such a person is also known as a ‘Paedophile’. The manner of abuse could vary: 

  • Obscene phone calls
  • Text messages
  • Digital interaction
  • Fondling
  • Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor
  • Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate
  • Intercourse
  • Sex of any kind with a minor, including vaginal, oral, or anal
  • Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children
  • Sex trafficking – promising a job or favour and then forcing you to do something
  • Any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare

WHO COULD BE THE ABUSER? 

The majority of perpetrators are someone the child or family knows. As many as 93% of victims under the age of 18, know their abuser

A perpetrator does not have to be an adult to harm a child. They could be anyone the child interacts with, such as an older sibling or a playmate, family member, a teacher, a coach or instructor, a caretaker, or the parent of another child. 

A CHILD CANNOT CONSENT TO ANY FORM OF SEXUAL ACTIVITY, PERIOD. 

According to 1 in 6, “[Child] sexual abuse is the result of abusive behavior that takes advantage of a child’s vulnerability and is in no way related to the sexual orientation of the abusive person.”

Abusers can manipulate victims to stay quiet about the sexual abuse using a number of different tactics. Remember, you cannot be quiet

BRING IT TO THE LIGHT. WHY?????

1. Because the abuser has to change and get corrected.

2. Because if the abuser is not exposed and caught then he/she could play around with someone else just like you. 

3. Because if you keep quiet, it can affect you on the long-run and you need to deal and face it, straight head on. 

WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS????

Physical signs:

  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Bloody, torn, or stained underclothes
  • Bleeding, bruises or swelling in genital area
  • Pain, itching or burning in genital area
  • Frequent urinary or yeast infections

Behavioral signs

  • Shrinks away or seems threatened by physical contact
  • Exhibits signs of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Expresses suicidal thoughts, especially seen in adolescents
  • Self-harm
  • Develops phobias
  • Has trouble in school, such as absences or drops in grades
  • Changes in hygiene, such as refusing to bathe or bathing excessively
  • Returns to regressive behaviors, such as thumb sucking
  • Runs away from home or school
  • Overly protective and concerned for siblings, or assumes a caretaker role
  • Nightmares or bed-wetting
  • Inappropriate sexual knowledge or behaviour

Long term effects of abuse and neglect

  • Emotional difficulties such as anger, anxiety, sadness or low self-esteem
  • Mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self harm, suicidal thoughts
  • Problems with drugs or alcohol
  • Disturbing thoughts, emotions and memories that cause distress or confusion
  • Poor physical health such as obesity, aches and pains
  • Struggling with parenting or relationships
  • Worrying that their abuser is still a threat to themselves or others
  • Learning difficulties, lower educational attainment, difficulty in communicating
  • Behavioural problems including anti-social behaviour, criminal behaviour.

Behaviour you may see in a child or adolescent

  • Has unexplained nightmares or other sleep problems
  • Seems distracted or distant at odd times
  • Has a sudden change in eating habits
  • Refuses to eat
  • Loses or drastically increases appetite
  • Has trouble swallowing
  • Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity, or withdrawal
  • Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues
  • Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places
  • Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child
  • Writes, draws, plays, or dreams of sexual or frightening images

All of the warning signs listed above are general indicators of sexual abuse in children. In some cases, some of these symptoms might take place and in some cases other symptoms. It is quite complicated and depends much on each child’s personality and temperament.

It would be fitting for me to quote the great Mahatma Gandhi as I close, “Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles.”

 ― Mahatma Gandhi (Young India, 22 October 1925)”