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Miranda Writes: Are You Dull? Part 2




by Omar Miranda



My street name used to be “Karate Man.” Many years—and many pounds—ago I used to take and teach martial arts. That’s right—karate was my thing! I used to look like Jackie Chan or Jet Li . . . now I look more like the Michelin Man.

Out of all the things I learned and taught, I most enjoyed the katana, otherwise known as a samurai or ninja sword. This was a long, strong, light, and slightly upwardly curved sword. This weapon was mastered—in both making and using—by the Japanese people.

In teaching karate and taking general martial arts—specifically weapons—the most important thing that I learned was this: for your sword to take care of you, you’ve got to take care of your sword. If someone was neglectful and didn’t take care of their sword on a regular and consistent basis, it would fail them when they most needed it.

So what was involved in taking care of your sword? Only three things, really: first and most important, you had to keep your blade clean, oiled, and sharpened/polished. Second, you had to keep your scabbard (the long wooden thingy that holds the sword when it’s not being used) clean and oiled. And last, you had to keep your handle/grip clean and woven tightly. If not, well, the results could be deadly—for you.

Out of those three things, today I want to focus on keeping the blade clean. Now honestly, you could get away with slacking on the upkeep of the grip and the scabbard, but taking care of the blade was indispensable. During training and/or battle, the blade would likely chip, nick, or spur from getting fingerprints, body oils, sweat, saliva, blood, dirt, bone, flesh, and wood on it. Interestingly enough, a lot of body armor was made of veneered pieces of wood attached to some sort of chain male by metal rings; thus, in order to break through armor, people learned to break boards with their hands, feet, and other parts of their body. That’s why they teach that in karate today—I know, I know, I’m a treasure trove of useless information. One day I’m going to clean up on Jeopardy. But I digress.

Periodically during the actual battle and most definitely after all was said and done, the blade needed to be cleaned and sharpened/polished. There was only one method to sharpen (technically, it’s called “polishing” the blade): use a sharpening stone. This sharpening stone had a heavy metallic content. In effect, you are using metal to sharpen metal. The quality, safety, and efficiency of your blade really depended on two things: first, the quality of your polishing stone, and second, the knowledge and expertise of the person doing the sharpening. Poor quality and poor artisanship equaled a poor-quality blade; many times this warped the blade even worse and caused rust and other problems. If you cared anything about the health of the blade and in turn your life, you would choose the best-quality stone and the most skilled artisan.

What in the world does this have to do with sex and porn addiction, which we have been talking about for the past several weeks? Well, I’ll tell you. When you have admitted to God you have an addiction and need His help (confession) and apologized to Him for your behavior, asked Him for forgiveness, and stopped the sin (repentance), the way for you to remain healthy, clean, and sober is to have accountability: regular, honest, intimate, and intentional connection and interaction with somebody who loves and accepts you, but loves you enough to give you tough love and help keep you on the right track.

Whether you succeed or fail in your recovery will depend largely upon the person you pick for accountability. Understand that no one—NO ONE—gets out of the quicksand of sex and porn addiction without the assistance of at least one flesh-and-blood accountability partner! I didn’t do it, I can’t continue to do it, and neither can you. The Bible definitely has a lot to say about this issue of accountability, but I will share just one verse that cuts like a knife (no pun intended): “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV).* We understand this language because we use these terms every day, don’t we? “She’s sharp! I want to be on her team.” Or the opposite of that: “Whoa, he is so dull! I could barely stay awake, much less be interested in what he was talking about.”

Did you catch the importance and the implications of this verse? Remember what I said? If you care anything about your recovery, health, and welfare, and want to give yourself the best chance for healing, you will pick the best-quality “iron” to sharpen you! If you do not, you will not be successful, and you will not be healed, but will become even more chipped, nicked, warped, and rusted. But how do you do that? Well, there are four qualifications for picking an appropriate accountability partner. Here they are in order of importance.
First and most important, you must pick somebody who has a close, personal, and intimate connection with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Second, pick somebody whom you get along with. Have you ever heard the expression “he rubs me the wrong way”? I think it’s interesting that you can take a high-quality polishing stone and rub the sword blade against the grain and cause the same damage as if you were using a stone of poor quality! Pick somebody whom you enjoy hanging out with and who has a lot of the same interests and hobbies as you.

Third, it really makes a world of difference if that person has at one time been an addict, preferably with sex and/or porn in this case. It truly takes an addict to understand an addict. But if you don’t have access to that person, then somebody whom you can be open and honest with will work—the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

Last, your accountability partner needs to be the same sex as you. The issues that you will be discussing will be deeply personal in nature, and this sort of interaction, if shared with a member of the opposite sex, can lead to some problems between you and that person. Furthermore, when you get married it can be emotionally dangerous to be sharing that sort of information with another person of the opposite sex who isn’t your spouse.

There is so much more that is involved. I know you have a lot of questions, such as “How often do we meet?” and “What do we talk about?” In my next installment I will discuss all of this information. I’ll even share my own accountability questions that my accountability partners use to keep me “sharp.” It is important to prepare for weakness in times of strength.
One last thing: Sharpening is a very violent process; pieces of metal and other debris fly everywhere, but if the stone doesn’t make enough appropriate contact with the blade, that stone can’t do its job, which is to take off every imperfection of the blade, reshape it, and make it smooth and strong. So then when it comes time for battle—and trust me, if you’re a recovering addict, there will be numerous times throughout your day that you will have to do battle—you will be able to withstand the blows and thrusts of your thoughts, your surroundings, your culture, and Satan. You will be able to stand strong and pure for God, for yourself, for your family, and for others!

“Wow, Omar,” you say, “that’s a lot of information. I’m overwhelmed, and I don’t know where to start.” Well, you start with a simple prayer to God for wisdom and discernment in helping you to choose your right accountability partner. You need only one to get you started. Which person will you choose—a sharp or a dull person? One who is most like you or one who rubs you the wrong way? I pray that now that you have the information, you will make a decision and run with it. Right or wrong, just do it and get the process started. I promise you, your “blade” will never be the same! God bless you in the beginning of the new and healthy you!

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*Scripture quotations credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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