Here's a subject that many people talk about, but few people really deal with! It's popular among Christian circles to address the idea that porn is bad and you shouldn't be involved with it in any way. What most people won't address is the real issues it has created for so many people. It is toxic and it will destroy!
I know first hand because I dealt with an addiction to pornography for many years. It began when I spent the night at a friend's home when I was 9 years old. They had Cinemax and we watched porn regularly. Then I found myself trying to watch the fuzzy channel on cable late at night. In the years that folowed I had friends who's parents had porn and we would watch during sleep overs. As the years progressed the internet made porn more available, and my addiction grew. I even ventured into an adult bookstore. These were things I never dreamed would be part of my life.
This issue continued into my adult years. It stayed persistent even after I married my wife. Too many guys believe the lie that after you're married you'll be free....it's a lie. While I was deeply in love with my bride, I was addicted. I have always deeply enjoyed intimacy with my wife. But, my mind was warped and my desires were broken. What's worse is that I spent many years in ministry with this addiction. I carried the heavy shame and guilt of teaching God's Word each week, all the while knowing I had a deep sin issue. I didn't believe I had a safe place to confess and deal with my sin, so I hid it!
I wasn't until years later that my wife found me looking at porn that I realized the depth of the issue. My shame, embarassment and fear was insurmountable! The very thing that was supposed to be cherished, prized and exclusive for my marriage was polluted and devalued. I felt the weight of what I had done to my wife and my family. I was destroyed in every way. I could not figure how I had let it get so far. How had this thing been so controlling in my life that I was on the verge of losing everything? I was in a deep, dark place. My marriage was shattered, my ministry was compromised and my family was paying the price. I was lost and felt hopeless. While I had never physically cheated on my wife, I had lustfully done it. Jesus called me an adulterer in Matthew 5:28. Honestly that was the hardest for me to realize. I am a messed up, sinful guy!
As a result of my addiction, my view of sex and intimacy was unhealthy and damaged. Honestly, I didn't believe that would ever change. I really wasn't sure God could restore that portion of my life. While I've been a Christian for almost 20 years, I'd strugled with porn even longer. The issue predated my walk with Jesus, and I all but assumed it would remain an issue! I wasn't sure it could ever be conquered, but I was determined to give it my all. In truth, I wasn't able to simply shut it off in my mind. I struggled with my thought life for a while. I had to create barriers. I had to create honest communication with my wife. I had almost 20 years of addicition that needed to go....But I didn't know what to do.
God did miraculously protect me from this addiction. I can truly say that I have been free from addicition since the day the truth came out. The Bible is right, the truth will set you free! Plus, God brought wise counsel and wise people into my life and my wife's that helped us walk through the process. We found people who had experienced the same struggles, and conquered it. They encouraged us, challenged us and stretched us. I had men who would absolutely press into me and not let up! I had a wife who was brave enough to ask hard questions, no matter how much the answers hurt. We worked hard to rebuild trust, intimacy and security. It was HARD WORK. In time I was able to work through my struggles and begin the process of healing from my addiction. It took time, but with diligence it happened.
If you are struggling with this addiction in your life, I have a few words of advice. But first, I want to say, I understand your pain, your struggle and your conflict. You do have a tough, hard road ahead.
- Confess...Find people who truly love you and confess your struggle. (As a pastor this can be tough, but it is a MUST! We have to model confession & repentance if we want others to do the same.)
- Find hope in God's Word. I found great strength in Galations 5:16-24 & Philippians 4:13
- If you're married, involve your spouse in your recovery. They want the best from you & for you! And, that's the one person who needs you to be 100% transparent in the process. He/She has to heal as well.
- Don't give up! It is going to be tough, take a while and require LOTS of humility
- Remember...God has not given up on you!
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