In this post we will help you define porn addiction, understand the biology, psychology, and theology of porn addiction, and then share the best resources available to help you break free from porn -- for good!
What Is Porn Addiction?
Let's break down the terms:
Porn -- sexually explicit media, whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal.
Addiction -- the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
So, porn addiction is an enslavement to viewing sexually explicit media that causes arousal.
In years past, one might have argued that viewing porn was simply a personal choice that didn't have any empirical effect on one's body, mind or behavior. But research is showing that is simply not true.
In order to understand porn addiction and its effects, it is important to address the whole person: body, mind, spirit.
Therefore, we need to explore the biology, psychology, and theology of porn addiction.
The Biology of Porn Addiction
What happens to the body of the porn addict? Or more specifically, what happens to the brain of the porn addict?
Everything you do with your body is processed through the brain. It is like the "CPU" (Central Processing Unit) of the human body. To wiggle your finger or smell a rose, the brain is vitally necessary.
Your brain is full of neural pathways. These pathways are what "carry" bits of information from one place to another in the nervous system. They are formed whenever you learn something new, and they grow stronger the more you repeat that thought or action.
So, if you view porn over and over again, you are forming very strong neural pathways that eventually become "unconscious" because of the repetitive behavior.
Your brain, in a sense, becomes "hard-wired" for porn. This is why porn addiction can be so difficult to overcome -- biology is powerful!
Before you feel hopeless at this news, let me encourage you. New neural pathways can be created that can "override" the old pathways. This is called neuroplasticity. Your brain doesn't have to stay perpetually "stuck" in old patterns of porn-addicted thinking.
As you focus your mind on what is true and good and beautiful, you can create new neural pathways that grow stronger than your old "porn pathways." Over time, you can "rewire" your brain away from porn to healthier thoughts and behaviors.
One other notable biological aspect of porn addiction is the "feel good" chemical that is released in the brain when viewing porn: dopamine.
Dopamine acts like a chemical reward for pursuing thoughts and behaviors deemed pleasurable. In some ways, dopamine could be described as the "want to" drug of the brain that develops an appetite of "craving" the more it is released.
Therefore, when you look at porn (or even think about looking at porn) your brain releases dopamine. Simultaneously, neural pathways are carrying bits of information along a "track" reinforcing the behavior. Repetition of this activity strengthens both the dopamine release and neural pathway development.
Over time, the "craving" for porn biologically intensifies.
The Psychology of Porn Addiction
While the biology of porn addiction looks at the brain and neural pathways and pleasure chemicals, the psychology of porn addiction focuses on the mind and emotions. What emotional and mental factors play into porn addiction?
In years past there seemed to be a pretty consistent psychological model applied to porn and sex addiction: early trauma in childhood followed by introduction to sexual stimuli, topped off with weak or dysfunctional family relationships.
While this model still applies today to many who develop a porn addiction, a new model is emerging: high media consumption reinforced by cultural normalization of porn, topped off with little to no experience with emotionally bonding to another person.
Research is showing that the ubiquity of consuming digital media is actually reducing our ability to read emotional cues from others (i.e. facial expressions). And when you add porn into this mix, it only magnifies desensitization toward human connection. The mind and heart eventually grow cold and numb.
One of the most common refrains we hear from men who attend our Gateway to Freedom 3-day workshop is that porn "numbed out" their ability to feel empathy or compassion or even desire toward anyone.
Another psychological factor in porn addiction is shame. Shame is the core belief that your value is equal to your performance. In other words, you are only as good as your behavior.
Shame can create a mental "spiral" of thoughts that are highly self-condemning. It's as if there is a perpetual microscope analyzing every minute detail of thought and action.
Shame creates a standard you can never live up to. You are never enough, never wanted, never known. Always less than, always left out, always hidden.
The use of porn only increases the unhealthy shame thoughts because porn never truly satisfies and therefore reinforces the shame lies. Addiction is a vicious cycle of self-destruction.
Porn addiction doesn't just take a toll on your biology, it diminishes your heart and soul, too. Relationships inevitably take a huge blow because of porn addiction.
Over half of all divorce cases "involve one party having an 'obsessive interest' in pornographic websites." The psychological, social and familial cost of porn use can be very high.
But porn addiction isn't only about biology and psychology. There is also a theology to porn addiction. God cares about how you use the body He gave you.
The Theology of Porn Addiction
Does God's Word really have anything to say about porn addiction? Yes!
Regarding pornography, Jesus said, "Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has committed adultery in his heart." (Matt. 5:28)
To look with "lustful intent" fits the definition of porn: "whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal". Jesus said this is a sin of the heart, not merely behavior.
Pornography is not only about behavior ("biology"). It is an invitation to draw your heart away from what is true and good and beautiful, and instead incite you to lustfully devour with your eyes the flesh of fellow image bearers of God.
Elsewhere the Apostle Peter said:
"...For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved." 2 Peter 2:19b
This clearly fits the definition of addiction: "the state of being enslaved to a habit."
God did not create us to be enslaved to our sexual urges and desires. His design was that we be free to love and be loved in the expansive boundaries of His created order. Sexual expression is reserved for the context God designed: covenant marriage.
Freedom from porn addiction is not merely about tweaking brain chemistry (biology) or seeing a therapist (psychology); your sexuality is a deeply spiritual thing because God created it.
Your sexuality is a beautiful and wonderful gift from God. You were made male or female on purpose -- with a purpose.
God's purpose for your life is not to be addicted to porn. And the good news is you don't have to be! (see below for resources)
Where to Get Help for Porn Addiction
We have looked at the definition of porn addiction, the biology of porn addiction, the psychology of porn addiction, and even the theology of porn addiction.
But now it's time to turn our attention to getting you the help you need to be FREE of porn addiction.
As we have noted in this article, you are made up of body, mind, and spirit. Therefore, in order to get the best help possible for overcoming your porn addiction, you need help physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually.
Here are some of the best resources available in each of these categories:
Physical Help for Overcoming Porn Addiction
We recommend you get a check up with your personal doctor to assess your overall health in light of your addictive patterns. Oftentimes other issues like depression, anxiety, or dual addictions can present alongside a porn addiction.
Here are other resources that might also help you better understand and address the physical side of porn addiction:
Mental & Emotional Help for Overcoming Porn Addiction
For help finding counselors and other professionals skilled in treating porn addiction, consider these resources:
Spiritual Help for Overcoming Porn Addiction
There is a growing number of resources available for addressing the spiritual needs of overcoming porn addiction. The following links can help you pursue freedom from a biblical framework:
Help for MEN with Porn Addiction
Help for WOMEN with Porn Addiction
For help finding support groups for porn addiction recovery, visit Groups.Bebroken.com or download the Live Free app at LiveFreeCommunity.org.
For additional resources to overcome porn addiction, visit PureCommunity.org.
Written by Jonathan Daugherty
Founder of Be Broken Ministries
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Hundreds of free podcast episodes at PureSexRadio.com.
by Gerard Terry
Last night we had a fantastic men's group. We focused on the teaching of Brennan Manning, particularly where he said that when struggling with an addiction, a good starting point is to understand that God loves us as we are, not as we should be. I agree and know the strength one can draw from the confidence that the God of the universe is for you. This offers us security. The question which arises involves next steps. Where do we go from here? And, what is the goal of our Christian life once we know God loves us as we are?
The Basic Problem of Pornography
Pornography offers comfort for hurting men and women. Rather than take a pill or grab a bottle, we turn to its comfort as our go-to remedy to dull the pain of life. Since pain is everywhere, after a while our porn use becomes a habit. Although this habit does not tear us from the love of God, it has consequences. It distances us from hearing God's voice which offers comfort in difficult times. Porn hurts our wives, suggesting that quick sex is all women are good for. Porn robs us of time with others and kills our ministry to them. God's plan is that we be in a powerful relationship with Him through His Holy Spirit, truly love our wives, have meaningful fellowship and use our time here on earth to influence others toward Him. When done right, this is sufficient to overcome life's difficulties.
I believe there are two main reasons we turn to pornography, instead of God, when life happens:
1. We Don't Believe or Trust That God is Sufficient
I admit this is true for me. I don't have confidence that God will rescue me the way pornography does. Pornography is quick, easy, and reliable. It is available on demand. I don't need to wait on God's timing, which can be slow. I live in America and I want my pain relief NOW. Of course, God's faithfulness to me is proven over time. He always comes through. And, waiting on God allows Him to grow and change me during these waiting periods. He also teaches me to trust in Him for small and big things in the wait.
Pornography teaches me nothing and offers no growth. It stunts my development and leaves me as a child. Imagine the 6-year-old who got instant relief to life's problems with a simple fix - like a candy bar. He would stay a child, unable to cope and handle bigger challenges. God's plan is to grow us up so he can use us in bigger and better things as He equips us. Look back over time and see if you don't agree that He has rescued and strengthened you repeatedly. Consider how He has provided timely for your needs.
If you are not convinced, ask for the testimonies of others in your life. Seek out examples from other believers in history. Study the Bible daily - it is packed with examples. God has demonstrated that He is worthy of our trust and that he is sufficient for all we'll encounter. We need to be disciplined to wait on our Father’s timing for relief. Don't demand instant relief.
2. We Don't Know How to Enter Into the Designed Relationship
God desires depth in a relationship with us, not just a quick prayer shot up in desperation. That depth comes over time from three primary sources:
A. Reading the Word of God
The Word of God has long been the primary way He speaks to us. We simply can't draw close to God without reading His Word. The Bible covers all areas of life, including sexuality. God invented sex, still thinks it is a good idea, and speaks in His Word of how sex apart from His plan can hurt us and others. In a tight schedule, you can listen to the Bible every day while you drive to work as it is read on a podcast over your phone. Try the Daily Audio Bible. I download several at a time and always have a few ready to go on my phone.
B. Prayer with God - a Two Way Street
Prayer involves quiet meditation before God, listening to his spirit, and talking with Him. It is not designed as a time to present our shopping list to our loving Father. Yes, He wants to hear petitions for us and others, but that should not be the extent of your prayers. If you are too busy for 15 - 30 minutes of quiet prayer, you are too busy for a relationship with God. I frequently recall the saying, “if the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”
C. Fellowship with Others
Fellowship is fun. Never miss a Sunday after finding a church where you enjoy the worship, teaching and opportunities for friendships. Join a small group which meets midweek. Next, check out the thousands of webcasts where you can hear teaching from top notch preachers. Podcasts are a great way to download daily content in this area as well. Christian books are available on any subject and will provide tools from those who have been there before. Christian radio is a favorite place of mine to listen to teaching and hear encouraging music. Find friends from church or a men's support group and you will have a valuable resource when you encounter temptation. Choose carefully who you hang out with, since “birds of a feather flock together.” I tell my kids to think about who they spend time with, since they will become like those people.
Lack of Sin is not the Measuring Stick
As I mentioned above, lack of sin is not the immediate goal. Getting to know God and developing a heart after Him is our first step in beating the porn problem. He wants a relationship with you. We cannot experience victory over life's challenges, like porn, without the filling of God's Holy Spirit and closeness to Him. He provides the direction, tools and strength to victory as we cling to Him and His plan for our lives. He is worthy of our trust. As you walk closely with Him, you will notice the grip of sin slowly loosening. It will lose its appeal in comparison to the joy found in God's company. Life at its fullest is available for free to those who lean on Him.
God's focus has always been on the heart. Throughout the Bible, stories are told of men involved in sin, who have turned to God with their whole heart. Imagine David, the murderer and adulterer, as described by God to David's son Solomon, "if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did. . .." How did David do it? He invited God into all he did. God wants us to do that too. He invites us to "love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live." Deuteronomy 30:6. He wants us to, "turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." Deuteronomy 30:10. You can best steer your heart toward our Father by filling your time with thoughts of Him.
Seek first a relationship with God. Pursue him. Get to know him as your closest friend. Fall in love with Him with all your heart. Your sinful lifestyle will pale in comparison to fellowship with the God of the universe.
by Gerard Terry
Was Paul’s Thorn Porn?
I like to think so. It gives my struggles a biblical proportion. And if Paul struggled with pornography or sexual temptation, I would not feel like such an outcast today. Plus, the church would have to preach on the subject once in a while and, like the adulterous woman, I would be forgiven by all. Who could hold porn use against me if Paul was addicted too? It would be a legitimate, mainstream, sin. Let’s look directly at the verse which mentions Paul’s thorn:
In 2 Corinthians 12: 7-9, Paul said:
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
No matter our struggle, each of us wants Paul’s thorn in the flesh to be the same as ours. Maybe that is why scripture does not specify what the thorn was. From overeaters to workaholics, from alcoholics to drug users and porn addicts, we can each identify with Paul’s desire for Jesus to remove our thorns. At times, I helplessly ask myself whether it is possible to beat this thing once and for all.
Origin of the Thorn?
Did Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” come from God? “I was given a thorn in my flesh” seems to imply a giver and a recipient. Maybe it came from Satan, since the verse mentions “a messenger of Satan to torment me.” Regardless, someone gave it to Paul, and it tormented him. I can identify with that. The incessant call and lure of pornography in my life is a constant frustration. At times, I don’t think I can go five minutes without an image on my phone, a billboard or my computer calling my name. I want to break free of this craving. If only God would give me a big, red “easy” button to push to stop the desire – I would push it.
Victory Over Pornography First Involves Surrender
Note how Jesus said strength to handle the thorn will come because His “power is made perfect in weakness.” When I come to the point that my reliance is on God to overcome my thorn, then I will have victory over this sin. Weakness implies a sense of humility. Gone is the pride that I can handle it myself. For victory, I need to welcome the infusion of God’s Holy Spirit to take control of my life. I need to surrender control over myself. Wow! This sounds an awful lot like a Lordship talk.
Paul’s Thorn’s Purpose and Ours
Nowhere in these verses is there a promise of overcoming the thorn, or the sin in our case. That is concerning. Aren’t we assured of victory in Jesus? How we define victory may be related to the purpose of the thorn in our life. Remember this verse from above? “In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh.” I excel in a lot of my undertakings, but in one area I struggle to prevail. Pornography brings me to the end of my abilities.
I think God has me right where he wants me: At a point where I know I cannot overcome my sin apart from Him. This keeps me humble. Yet, I am the first to admit that after a prolonged period of success in this sexual battle, I begin to look down on men still struggling – suggesting to myself that they should just get over it. Pride is like toenail fungus – it keeps coming back (Is this too much information?) It waits beneath the surface until we let our guard down or skip a dose of medicine. Ever lurking, pride is a constant threat to my relationship with God and others.
Pride is a constant theme of the Bible. God opposes the proud (James 4:6). Similar to Paul’s situation, porn and pride have an inverse relationship. When pornography is present in my life, I am humbled by my inability to win the battle. During these times, I am quick to give grace to others in their struggles, no matter what they are. When pornography is absent from my life, pride creeps back in. Just like in Paul’s case, the thorn is present to keep us from becoming conceited.
Consider the Good Purpose Which Pornography May Accomplish in You
We all know pornography destroys families and careers. Can there actually be a positive, God-
given purpose for pornography or other bad habits in our lives? I encourage you to consider the idea. Once you identify this purpose, you should meditate on it. Consider whether there might be another way to address the problem area underlying your purpose. Once you find an alternative solution for your sexual sin’s purpose in your life, you may be in a position to receive an answer to the prayer Paul prayed - for the “Lord to take it away.”
by Ken A.
I met you at a young age. As memory serves, I was around the age of 7 the first time I was shown a pornographic magazine. Little did I know that it would be the beginnings of the longest relationship I have ever known, outside of that with my mom and my brother. From the moment I met you, I was hooked. You had me.
In elementary school, I dabbled in you; steeling glances of my step father’s magazine when no one was around. In junior high we began a torrid affair. I began sneaking those magazines back to my bedroom where I got to know you intimately. It was from you I learned what sex was like. Even then, there were consequences that came from my relationship with you like the time my step father found one of his magazines under my mattress, and grounded me from a party, which cost me my girlfriend at the time. I paid dearly, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from coming back to you.
High school, it seems, you left me alone. I had girlfriends that occupied my time, and I was busy devoting myself to school and to church. I am sure we had encounters, but for whatever reason, that time isn’t as prevalent to me as others. But you were still there waiting for me.
College came, and we didn’t spend much time together, probably because there was always a roommate there to dissuade me from doing anything that would put me in a compromising situation. We dabbled a bit, you, me and my fiancé at the time, but I didn’t need you. You were always there, though, waiting for the day I would come back to you.
After college, we renewed our relationship. I discovered the Internet, and countless sources of pornography to entertain me and keep me company. When I met my wife, you were there. I knew she didn’t approve, but I tried to keep our relationship secret.
When we got married, I hoped you would go away, but you didn’t. You were always there. Calling to me, enticing me. I gave in often. I swore it would never happen again. It did. Over and over again.
I caused my wife so much pain. So much heartache. My wife begged me to stop, prayed for me, supported me while I went to counseling, but ultimately it became too much. Knowing what the consequences would be, I chose you. I always chose you.
You promised so much. Excitement, concealment. No guilt. Companionship. Community (after all, there are only two types of guys in the world-those who look at porn and those who say they don’t). You promised to love me unconditionally. You promised to make me feel like a man. You promised to make me feel proud.
What you delivered was just the opposite. Guilt. Isolation. Shame. Regret. Remorse. A life alone. You lied to me.
Because I chose you, my life and the lives of those around me look very different.
Because I chose you, I am now separated from the 4 people I love the most – my wife of 18 years and my 3 children.
Because I chose you, my daughters have come to the realization that I was never there for them, partially because I was always consumed by you; by the guilt that came from you.
Because I chose you, I have missed prom, dance recitals, baseball games, softball games, National Honor Society inductions, campus tours, holidays, family vacations, bonfires and dinners.
Because I chose you, I have spent most of my life feeling incapable and ill equipped to lead my family spiritually as I have been called to do.
Because I chose you, I have lost track of the number of lies I have told to family and friends to hide my guilt.
Because I chose you, my wife spent our 18-year anniversary with our children instead of me.
Because I chose you, my children spent Father’s Day with their mother instead of me.
Because I chose you, my wife begs me to do the right thing and files for a divorce so she can be free, never having to go back into a relationship of lies, deceit and isolation.
Because I chose you, my daughters have asked me to divorce their mother so they can all start over again.
Because I chose you, my friends have deserted me, tired of being deceived yet again when they find out I have run back to you despite telling them I left you for good.
Because I chose you, sleep doesn’t come until very late most nights, as I lay in bed, pondering my actions, and the hurt they have caused those I love most.
Because I chose you, my wife has spent the majority of our 18 years in marriage on her knees before God, asking Him to help her fall in love with me because she couldn’t do it on her own.
Because I chose you, I have spent my adult life mired in guilt and shame, feeling defective and unlovable by God or anyone else. My relationships have been distant and fragmented so no one would have to get to know the real me.
Because I chose you, my beloved wife, who God gave to me to look after and take care of has been cheated out of years of intimate bedtime conversations where we shared our hopes, our dreams, our fears, all out of my selfish cowardice that I would have to open up and share true feelings and struggles.
Because I chose you, I have had to surrender leadership positions in my church, doing what I love to do most, which is singing and leading people in worship.
Because I chose you, I attend church on Sundays alone, trying to ignore the glances from the people that know me, and trying not to wonder what they are thinking about me right now.
Because I chose you, my wife forbids my son to come to the place I am staying right now because she doesn’t trust that I can provide an environment free from pornography for my son.
Because I chose you, my daughters choose not to have a relationship with me, fearing the pain of being betrayed yet again.
Because I chose you, I have spent thousands of dollars of our hard earned money on counseling sessions that never worked.
Because I chose you, I have made poor financial decisions, hoping that I could buy my guilt away.
Because I chose you, I am unwelcome and unwanted in my own house. I have to leave my house every night after spending time with my son; a reminder daily of the consequence of my actions.
Because I chose you, I wear the title or badge of “Hello my name is Sex Addict who destroyed his family, and is reaping what he sowed for 18 years.”
Because I chose you, my family has felt that I never loved them, never wanted to be with them. They didn’t understand, and still don’t that I couldn’t love them when I was incapable of loving the disgusting person I had become.
But because I chose you, I have been forced to ponder my salvation and wonder if I am saved. I have been forced to learn what a person broken and surrendered to God looks like. I have been forced to take a good hard look at my relationships with my children, the friends I have left, and with God. And I have been forced to confront my “dependence” on you.
Because of you, I identify with Matthew, the tax collector and one of Jesus’ chosen 12. Matthew was originally named Levi, so he was quite possibly part of the tribe that was supposed to lead the Jews spiritually. Instead, he became a tax collector, one of the most reviled occupations of the time. No doubt, Matthew disappointed his family greatly, who probably had much higher hopes for him than to be a tax collector.
Like Matthew, I had never stepped into the role God had laid out for me. I was to be a father, a spiritual leader for my wife and my children. Because I didn’t, someone else had to. In addition to being mom and wife, my wife had to become spiritual leader, disciplinarian, and so many other roles she was never called to be. Jesus called Matthew despite his sins. He chose him to make a difference. Like Matthew, he wants to use me to make a difference.
I want to make it clear to you, Porn. I choose you no longer. Like my family refuses to believe my promises, I refuse to believe your promises. Contrary to what you promise, You only offer a life of regret, remorse, emptiness, shame, isolation, hurt, financial ruin, spiritual bankruptcy.
I choose light. I choose life. I choose relationship with God and with my family. I choose to make sure that my family knows every day that they are loved and treasured. I choose every day to choose God and live over pornography and death.
You may think you have won for now, but this battle is not over. I will never come back to you. You have caused too much pain, too much destruction. I will never give up fighting for my family, and I will not stop bringing your lies to Light. There are thousands, probably millions of women and children experiencing what my family has experienced for the last 4+ months because men all over the world are choosing you. I will make sure they know my story. I will make sure they know that you are nothing but a liar who promises so much, and gives so little. I will help them win.
You will not win. As a matter of fact, you have already been defeated. You see, I have a God who loves me, and not only loved me so much to send his Son for me, but he left me something as well. He left me his Holy Spirit that lives in me. If this Holy Spirit had enough power to raise Jesus from the dead, this same Holy Spirit will surely give me the strength to resist you. He gives me a way out every time you try to entice me. I will choose this way out. Even if I never get my wife back, even if my children never choose to have the kind of relationship God intends for us to have, I will not come back to you. We are through.
God wins. Every time, He wins. He is undefeated. Mark my words. You are finished. We are finished. Perfect love wins. There is hope in the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus. He wants me more than you do, and I know you want me dearly. It must anger you to know I am leaving you, and I expect you to come at me harder than you have ever come. Bring it on. My family means too much to me. I just wish I had realized it a long time ago...
by Gerard Terry
You should know this up front: I am not a theologian. I don’t even know if I spelled the word correctly. But, in reading the Bible, I love present day application. Take the verse Mark 9:47, for example: “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell...” There is a radical tone underlying this verse, and to the non-theologian (me), it means, take radical steps to avoid sin.
The lust surrounding pornography use is clearly sin and harms us and others in many ways. You and I are both on this website to find help dealing with pornography use. Practical suggestions can make a huge difference. Have you considered implementing radical steps to impede or hinder your path to pornography and lust?
After I told a friend my favorite spot of seclusion to visit porn sites, he asked me why I had not made changes to make it harder to be there. He asked why my monitor was not turned toward the entrance to the room so anyone walking by would see what I was viewing. That simple change impeded my path to porn. For some, taking a different path home from work at night will cloud their desire to stop at a porn shop. Recently, I stopped watching Netflix at night in order to avoid the temptation to watch inappropriate videos. Other men have their wives control the password on their home computer.
At a restaurant with a friend for lunch, I asked if he had seen the gorgeous, short-shorts wearing beauty who came in a few minutes earlier. He replied, “yes I did, that is why my glasses are off sitting on the table.” I then took mine off and the temptation to gawk at her faded.
The Anti-Porn Agent
Sometimes, filling our minds and time with positive influences is a good anti-porn agent. In the car, I listen to the Daily Audio Bible podcast every day. Guess what I don’t think about during this time? Plus, I am on my fourth year of listening to the host read through the entire Bible.
We all know how porn hurts our wives. Why not invest in playing games with your wife rather than watching TV or surfing the internet? When my wife and I play Mastermind, Backgammon, shoot some pool, or go for a walk, I invest in our relationship and I avoid porn. Time spent with my wife builds up our marriage while porn tears it down.
Don’t literally pluck out your eye. Instead, make radical changes to install obstacles to porn use. Fill your time with relationship-building activities with your friends and spouse. Let’s not look back after the next thirty days and regret wasted time spent on the man we wish we were not. Instead, start today to build the man you want to be.
How can a person fully describe the places their sexual brokenness has taken them? There is the spiritual reality of sexual brokenness; a reality that speaks of the condition of our soul; a condition wrought by another's sexual brokenness or by our own; even the condition of a soul as it learns to allow the Almighty to mend their brokenness. There is also the physical reality of this brokenness. For many this reality comes in the form of the strange beds they find themselves waking up in -- strange places in even stranger situations. For me, it is a reality of which I am far too easily reminded every waking moment as I sit where I sit -- concrete walls, steel bars, and razor wire.
My name is Dennis and by invitation of Be Broken Ministries I share my story. It is a story that, when my world first started crumbling, I thought was unique. I felt alone, singled out, and scared. It is also a story that, as I become more involved in healing and connecting with other broken people, I see is far more common than I first could have imagined and is becoming more common every day.
If you and I had met between 2005 to 2007 you might have walked away thinking to yourself, "Now there is a young man who has got it together. He's got a beautiful, smart wife, a lovely home, a promising career, a sprouting music ministry, and a very bright future." If you had asked me, I would have only confirmed your thought and added, "Yes, I'm living my life-plan exactly as I have planned it. Life is good!"
And life was good -- at least on the surface. I was a young 30-something. I had married my college sweetheart. I was an established professional musician and private instructor. I had started a career as a public school teacher and real estate agent. I was living in a new home my wife and I were purchasing. On the surface I was a pillar of the community, a future leader. Yes, I would have told you, "Life is good." The world was my oyster and I thought I held the pearl of great price. My curriculum vitae had been established and I was living it. Today, I scarcely can remember what that life-plan was.
Late in 2007 the "good life" ended for me. My sexual brokenness had come to a breaking point, my sin laid out in front of me, my family, and the world. It started wit the FBI banging on my front door at 6:00am in the morning and by the end of 2008 I was indicted on child pornography charges. I lost my career, my home, my wife, my reputation, my very freedom.
I remember during this process crying out, "I am a broken man!" I was financially broken, socially broken, emotionally broken. All caused by my sexual brokenness. I had been content to ignore my sexual brokenness -- up until the breaking point. I was busy living my life-plan. But God had a different plan for me.
In 2010 I reported to a Federal Correctional Institute to surrender myself for a 100-month sentence. For 100 months I will sit in my physical reality: concrete walls, steel bars, and razor wire. Yet I rejoice because my spiritual reality, though once broken, is on the mend.
I still struggle to surrender all the world tells me is good. I struggle against the temptation to write for myself a life-plan that is outside what the Gospel tells me my life should be. But I recognize my brokenness. I pray that your brokenness never brings you to such a place as my current physical reality, but that instead you allow it to show you where your spiritual reality is deficient and begin, by the grace of God, the process of healing.
For me the first step in healing was saying, "I am a broken man." In recognizing and embracing my brokenness I also recognize and embrace the One who can mend me and make me whole.
Be broken, but be encouraged...
For help in your own struggle with sexual brokenness,
Visit Starting Point
by Jonathan Daugherty
"Little Whiskers" died last week. He was only 15 months old and the news hit our family hard. My youngest, Megan, took the news especially hard, just crying and crying over the loss. The truth is we all cried and grieved. It was a sad week in the life of our family. I dare say that there may never have been such love ever bestowed in all of history on one so cherished as Little Whiskers, our hamster.
I realize that many of you reading this might have chuckled at the conclusion of the previous paragraph. I too was slightly amused (and amazed) at the depth of emotion my children poured out over the loss of this little tiny creature (hamsters only live about 1-3 years, so grief comes often to those who own them). And I would be lying if I said I wasn't also sad when Little Whiskers bit the dust, but I saw something truly remarkable as I observed my children's grief. I saw the heart of God.
God created Little Whiskers, and Jack (our dog), and the squirrels that dance in the trees outside our house, and all the other creatures that crawl and buzz and swim on this planet. God takes great delight in His creative nature, a sort of divine pleasure in His ability to bring something out of nothing. And even though this natural world of plants and animals also suffers because of sin, the imprint of it's Maker is still found throughout it all. Little Whiskers died, and with his death we were given another small reminder of how broad the consequences of sin are that have fallen on all creation.
As my kids grieved Whiskers, even burying him in the front yard and creating a tombstone memorial to the little 6-ounce creature, I saw in their grief God's compassion for even the smallest of His creation. I saw the tenderness and care that the Maker has for all He has made and that not even a sparrow falls from the sky (or a hamster from his wheel) without His knowledge. My kid's reminded me that God cares about life - in all its forms, great or small.
As I witnessed my children channeling this divine care for such a tiny animal, my mind shifted to thinking about how much greater His care and concern is for people, the crown jewel of His creation. God tells us that His care for us is infinitely greater than all else in creation, so much so that He breathed life into us, giving us in some manner the "essence" of Himself. While His fingerprints are on everything else, His very breath is in us! What immeasurable value this brings to all humanity. Life is precious...
How easy it is for me to forget how fragile and precious life is, even as I spend my years in full-time "ministry." People carry problems, sin, opinions, and all other sorts of "issues" that can make it more difficult to see the value and worth of the person tucked behind all that exterior mess. They whine and complain about the smallest, most insignificant things and become irritable and angry when life doesn't go their way. (Notice my strategic use of "they" and "their," as if I am not part of this circle of humanity. Rest assured, I am...) And it is this sin-stained humanity that sometimes makes it difficult to see the "breath of God" flowing through every person on the planet. Life is precious, no matter how much pain and filth is piled upon it.
One of the most obvious arenas in which I see the beauty and value of life diminished is in the world of pornography and sexual sin. Porn reduces a person to an object, devoid of God's divine breath, nothing more than a product to be consumed. As I think about the people who are used and abused in the porn business, my heart is broken, my eyes fill with tears, and I grieve their death of innocence and purity. They are people in whom God's breath resides, a precious image bearer of the Creator of everything, yet this infinite worth is being veiled and crushed by sin.
For those who consume porn or engage in other sexual sin, they too are experiencing the suffocation of life within, confused as to why the thrill and pleasure of sex isn't fulfilling their deepest desires. A death more potent than the physical is what takes place in the one devouring the lies of lust. Anyone who has feasted on sexual sin knows what I am talking about. It feels as if a noose has been securely placed around your neck and with each image or encounter the noose tightens. Eventually, your inner person is dangling lifeless, unable to access the "air" needed to survive.
The good news, however, is that you don't have to go the rest of your life suffocating. God can breathe new life into any person "dangling" in their sin, whether you put the noose around your neck or someone else did. He made you, He knows you and He can revive you. All you have to do is ask in faith. Believe that the One who declared you valuable enough to die for is able to free you from the noose of your secrets and sin. God weeps for you, grieving the death you are experiencing. "Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."
Life is precious. God made it so by breathing it into you. Let us not waste this precious gift by inhaling the lies and pollution of sin. We were meant to live on the breath of our Creator. Anything less is smog. Breathe the fresh air of purity, peace, and purpose today. And as you breathe, share the air. Every person is worth it. The heart of God might just be found in the very air your breathe...
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.