4 Steps To Practicing Forgiveness
Jeremy • Apr 4 2021
Seven years ago, Air Force Chaplain Curt Cizek boldly preached a sermon on sexual immorality and adultery. Today, he remains in an ongoing battle for his religious rights.
In 2013, the Lackland Air Force Base was still reeling from a sexual misconduct investigation. Military authorities had received an initial complaint of sexual abuse in 2009. By 2011, they had opened a full investigation. Upon conclusion of the investigation, at least 60 cadets had stepped forward. They accused a total of twenty instructors of sexually abusing them both during and after basic training. Allegations ranged from soliciting inappropriate sexual relations to rape. Of the 20 charged, five were sentenced to prison.
For Cizek, he had hoped that his sermon would help facilitate healing on this wounded Air Force base. What happened next took him by surprise.
Just days after preaching, a complaint was filed about the sermon. An individual allegedly took offense to comments regarding homosexuality. However, Cizek claims that the only mention of homosexuality was in regards to the hypocrisy that is spreading throughout the church. He shared,
“The church has gotten a reputation for being prejudiced because we often look at one sexual sin (homosexuality) and say that it is wrong but then turn a blind eye to heterosexual sin.”
According to Cizek, the sermon preached to at least 2,500 recruits was Biblically based. He told Fox News that the Scripture he shared was straight-forward in regards to adultery. Though only one complaint was received, it was enough to derail his entire military career.
Following the complaint, Cizek received verbal counseling by the chaplains in his chain of command. He didn’t think much of it, believing that the issue was going to be dropped. But several months later, his performance report was downgraded. He was also removed from working in basic training.
The following year, he received a less than stellar performance review. At the same time, he lost his promotion recommendation. By 2016, he was involuntarily discharged from his position – destroying any hopes of retiring from the Air Force.
Cizek believes that the powerful forces under President Barack Obama decided to bury his case in 2016. He has continued to fight, even appealing to the White House in both 2018 and 2019. Though his case was reopened in October 2020, it was abruptly closed on November 5. The military claims no wrongdoing despite Cizek’s allegations that his First Amendment rights have been violated. For him, the fight is far from over.
For Cizek, this case is about so much more than himself. Instead, it’s about fighting for the First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion.
Initially, it looked like his only option was to open a case with the Federal Court of Appeals. But recently, a new sense of hope emerged. Cizek received a phone call from a senior investigator with the Department of Defense. In reviewing his case, they believe that the chain of command overstepped their bounds. He remains hopeful that his case will be resolved favorably.
Cizek shares, “I simply want to be able to serve God and our country.” He continued,
“The truth of the Bible is also on the line. Cancel culture believes that speaking an inconvenient truth is intolerable. The real bigotry that exists today is preventing people from exercising their religious beliefs and freedom of speech.”
With sexual-based content accessible nearly everywhere, the Church as a whole is now in the fight of its life.
For years, the Church has remained as quiet as possible in regards to issues of sexuality. In an attempt to remain all-inclusive, some have even adopted new policies, procedures, and by-laws that allow those in sexual sin to hold positions of leadership. And though pastors acknowledge pornography as a widespread problem in their churches, few are actually willing to address it. In fact, the Barna Group reports that 88% of pastors admit to pornography being a problem in their congregation. However, only 7% of churches have a program in place to help those who are struggling. In a Twitter survey conducted by Covenant Eyes, 65% of the respondents shared that their church never or rarely talks about pornography.
When is the right time to do something about the sexual sin running rampant in the Church? Now. Is it enough to preach a Sunday morning sermon on the topic? No.
Before you can effectively tackle matters of sexual sin, you have to understand it.
Similar to other addictions, sexual addiction is often a means by which one chooses to medicate the pain they feel in their life. It has a devastating impact on the brain, as shared in the Conquer Series.
This 10-week course explains how the brain responds when an individual sexually acts out. Combining science and Scripture, individuals are learning why trying harder does not work. They are learning about the importance of renewing the mind, which is only possible through Christ. Plus, they are identifying painful moments of their past that are likely contributing to their present struggle. They could be the result of witnessing trauma or enduring abuse. For some, they have parental wounds caused by the absence of a parent during childhood. Some have experienced rejection, abandonment, or neglect. And for others, they have been deeply wounded by the harsh words spoken into their lives.
In these painful moments, Satan frequently authors lies that become the beliefs we live our lives based upon. Only through the healing process do we discover that these beliefs are lie-based. Once identified, the journey to finding the truth can effectively begin. This is a beautiful process, as it helps individuals once again find their identity in Christ.
Remember, offense typically stems from conviction. With less than one month left in 2020, now is the time to begin addressing the issues plaguing the men and women in your church and surrounding community. Thanks to SoulRefiner.com, a new digital streaming platform, churches can begin to offer courses that will provide this much-needed healing.
Lin Wells of Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills shared,
“Soul Refiner is a prayer request come true for our church! The entire platform encompasses support for all those affected by the deleterious effects of sexual immorality in the church community.”
Pure Desire Ministries reports that 68% of church-going men view pornography. This season, will you provide hope to them, their spouse, and their families? Will you stand with Chaplain Cizek and fight to maintain the truth of the Bible? Are you ready to address sexual integrity in your church so that 2021 can truly become a year of discipleship throughout your congregation?
The Conquer Series is a powerful cinematic series which is helping over 1 million men conquer porn and walk in freedom.
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