Joe’s Story

I love hearing stories about those who are in the trenches, overcoming lust.  It seems like almost anyone at any stage of life is vulnerable to this sin.  Lust is relentlessly “deceitful” (Ephesians 4:22).

Today’s story takes the form of a short but thought-provoking email exchange I shared with Joe—75 years old—who lost his wife and is intent on “finishing strong.”  To do this he needed to get his head straight about lust.  (He has given me permission to share this.)  Here is Joe’s story:

(Initial message) Joe <>wrote:

Have you written about widowers and masturbation? I am a widower. My wife was the only woman I ever had intercourse with. How can it be wrong for me to remember relations with her and masturbate? If your answer is “Yes, it is wrong,” please explain to me why it is good to remember everything about my wife except intercourse.


(In reply)—- Jim VanderSpek < > wrote:

Hi Joe,

Thank you for writing.  I do not think that what you are doing is sinful.  The Bible does not speak about masturbation and I have written only a little about it.  I urge you to read my article about understanding lust. If your heart does not condemn you, I think you are fine on this and that the need for this will decline.

The issue is lust and all other sin that drives us away from God.  I encourage you to draw close to God.  Any sin that stops you from doing this must to be overcome.  May God bless you and give you peace.

In Him,
Jim Vander Spek

(In reply) Joe <> wrote:


Thank you, my brother. Although one godly man had told me that since death had broken the marriage bond, for me to remember having intercourse with Gail and masturbating was sinful because she was no longer my wife.

I thought, how can it be wrong? She’s the only woman I’ve had intercourse with and at 75 years old I’m not interested in crawling in bed with another woman. I knew I wasn’t lusting for another woman when I was remembering beautiful intimate times with her. 

And I didn’t feel guilty afterwards, but I certainly wanted to live a life pleasing to God. He has taught me so much about Himself since He’s had me to myself. And I’m thankful “He did not deliver me into the hand of my enemy, but He set my feet in a broad place” with the help of a godly counselor named Roy.

Again, thank you for responding to my question. I’ve signed up for your blogs and I look forward to reading more of your counsel / advice. I want to finish strong whatever years God has left for me.


I strongly identify with Joe’s desire to “finish strong.”  Is this your desire?

If you would like to add to this discussion, please comment below.

(Joe contacted me initially via the contact box like one that appears way down below on this page.  You are welcome to share your story as well.)




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