How to Help the Truth Stick in Their Hearts


Do you ever get frustrated because your husband can’t seem to hold on to the truth that will free him from his addiction? All around you people are finding freedom, but, at home, every hint of progress seems to quickly evaporate. Why can’t he get it?

It’s certainly not because he’s dumber, lazier, weaker, or more sinful than the others.

My husband and I started working with sex addicts in 2003. We’ve seen all kinds of people—from business owners, factory workers and salesmen to first-responders and ministry leaders. In retrospect, it is clear that their occupation, education or IQ wasn’t what determined their success.

The ones that took hold of the truth, and are still enjoying an addiction-free life years later, all have four things in common.

Interestingly enough, as I was re-reading the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 this morning, I realized that those four things are evident there, as well.


This parable talks about a farmer sowing seeds. Some of those seeds fall on the path and the birds quickly fly in and eat them up.

Other seeds fall on rocky places where there isn’t much soil. They spring up quickly, but with little dirt, their roots can’t grow deep and once the hot sun begins to beat down on the tender plants they wither and die.

As the farmer tosses out more seed, part of it falls among the thorns. They germinate and start to grow, but before they gain any stature, they are choked out by the more robust weeks that surround them.

The remaining seeds settle onto good soil. They take root, thrive and, subsequently, produce an abundant crop.


This simple story illustrates what happens when the seeds of God’s truth are sown. Later in the chapter it goes on to describe the dangers that cheat us out of experiencing the fullness of that truth.

When someone hears the message, but doesn’t fully understand it, the enemy swoops in and snatches the life-giving words away before they even have a chance to take root. It’s just like the birds picking the path clean of seeds. But . . . it doesn’t have to happen that way.

When we pro-actively come against each of the dangers, the seeds have a better chance of growing.

An Experienced Mentor Can Affect the Outcome

Having someone who has found a measure of understanding and is willing to share it, changes the story for someone just starting out. As the new seeker’s understanding grows, their vulnerability decreases. The seeds of truth have an opportunity to sprout and grow under the watchful eye of an empathetic teacher.

Strong Supports Enhance Growth

The Bible says that the seeds on the rocky ground represent those that receive the truth with joy. At first they are excited about what they are hearing and gratefully embrace it. They begin to sprout and change, but it doesn’t last. Life’s pressures wear them down before they have developed healthy ways to deal with them.

They need “gardeners” to stand with them and help strengthen them when the storms come. These people will fertilize and mulch around them as they struggle to grow. Deepening connections with God and others will provide the accountability they need to keep growing, in spite of their less than ideal environment.

Recovery cannot be done alone. Developing a strong support network is essential for long-term success. It is also one of the most challenging steps for most sex addicts.

Improving Life Skills Reduce the Addiction’s Power

Addiction becomes a way to “deal” with life. Addictive activities help them avoid the real issues in their lives. They re-direct their thinking, block out things they don’t want to feel or acknowledge, and provide a rush of feel-good chemicals that temporarily elevate their mood.

Unfortunately, this quick fix encourages the addict to become an expert at avoiding the real issues in their life. They never learn to deal with problems in a healthy way.

To find freedom, they must effectively address the memories, fears and perceived inadequacies that their addictive behaviors have numbed.

They must find positive ways to resolve stress, fears, old baggage and current relationship issues. They have to leave their “comfort zone” and risk reaching out, speaking out, and working things out.

If they don’t, the thorns of addiction will overtake them and kill whatever truth has seeped in.

Unrelenting Tending is Essential for Growth

Once they have a mentor to guide them, a network to support and encourage them, and new tools to deal with the issues they’ve always avoided, there’s still important work to do.

To really get the truth to stick in their hearts LONG-TERM, they need to be diligent in tending their garden. They must continue to practice the things that they have discovered move them in the right direction.

If they get too comfortable or complacent and forget these priorities, they will find their recovery beginning to wither. They risk becoming vulnerable to slipping back into dangerous patterns and unwanted behaviors again.


You can’t do recovery for him, no matter how willing or motivated you are. You can, however, gently encourage him to seek out, and remain committed, to the right workers and tools that he needs to properly tend his garden and reduce the dangers.

And, finally, don’t forget . . .

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” — James 5:16

Don’t minimize the power of YOUR prayers on his behalf.

Especially pray that the people that come alongside him will be a “lamp unto his feet” and that he’ll have the courage to risk stepping out of his comfort zone to take hold of the truth that will set him free, permanently.


TODAY’S CHAT: What is the biggest roadblock you encounter in trying to encourage your husband in his recovery?


Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field