Fear and False Intimacy

Fear and False Intimacy

Fear is the enemy of love. Fear is the enemy of trust, honesty, sharing of oneself, and thus the enemy of intimacy.

In his book False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction, Harry Schaumberg defines this concept of false intimacy as essentially a selfish strategy and self-created illusion for a person to avoid the relational pain inherent in real intimacy by pursuing sexual experiences—whether through fantasy, solo sex, or acting out with another person. False intimacy reveals a deep commitment to controlling or managing actual or potential emotional disappointments or pain and seeks emotional comfort, security, peace, and autonomy over the best interests of another person.

How does Schaumberg’s idea relate to the fears and unbelief in your past or present struggles? Fear is the enemy of love, but love is the enemy of fear. Love and truth fight fear and unbelief. (Does this sound like Yoda of Star Wars or a Haikou poem?) If love is a verb, and living in truth means confession, vulnerability, and self-disclosure, then how are you doing in loving God and others, with truthful self-discovery and honest self-disclosure with others? “Heart work” is the hardest work of all. 

Since God accepted you and me when we were still enemies (Romans 5:8,10), what have you been so afraid of? What has distorted your vision of God’s goodness and trustworthiness? How are you seeking honest relationships now?

False intimacy—and the fear that drives it—is endemic in our culture, and not just because of porn, which is an extreme variety of avoiding real intimacy and controlling emotions by using real people. Someone has said that the three rules of a dysfunctional family are 1) don’t talk, 2) don’t feel, and 3) don’t trust. Yet we are called to be true brothers, the real family of God, a community of true honesty, acceptance, and mutual support. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35, ESV). Jesus is against the fear of false intimacy. “Perfect love cast out fear” (1 John 4:18). And, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). The true meaning of Christmas is to set us free from the fears that enslave our hearts.

Updated 5.22.2017
Dan Wilson
About The Author
Dan Wilson is the STUDENT OUTREACH Coordinator for Harvest USA. He’s also an ordained minister, and has served as a youth minister, education minister, pastor, with para-church ministries, and taught New Testament at Bryan College, Dayton, TN. Before moving to the national office in Philadelphia, Dan served for nine years with Harvest USA’s Chattanooga regional office. Dan is now excited to lead the STUDENT OUTREACH because its mission is to educate, equip and resource parents and youth and college ministry workers to disciple students in biblical, Christ-centered sexuality. A native of Memphis, Dan has a B.A. in History from the University of Memphis, a M.Div. and Ph.D. in New Testament and Greek from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Cordova, TN. Dan is married to Heather, his lovely wife, and they have four children ages 17 to 8. He loves Kingdom theology, and is a huge U2 fan.

There are no comments yet, but you can be the first



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved. Developed for HarvestUSA by Polymath Innovations.