Before I gave my heart to Jesus in January of 1980, I used to think that pornography really didn’t hurt anyone. Even psychology painted a picture that it could be helpful to detour rape by giving an outlet—and, boy, that sounded good and right to me, until Ted Bundy did his interview with Dr. James Dobson.
I had hoped it was a good thing because I was drawn to it. Men are hardwired to be visually stimulated. God made it to be that way. God created godly marital sex to be an intimate bonding—a wonderful, exciting moment between husband and wife. Fornication includes all forms of sexual sin like adultery, premarital sex, multiple partners, pornography (fornicea), homosexuality, and masturbation. It destroys God’s beautiful purpose for sex.
Pornography is not harmless but hurtful. The first one it hurts is God. Joseph said to Potiphar’s wife when she was trying to seduce him, “How could I do this thing and sin against God?” King David said, after being convicted by Nathan the prophet of his sins concerning Bathsheba, “Against God and God alone have I sinned.” We all have sinned against others and have had others sin against us, so we deserve what we get. But God deserves to be honored and revered, so any sin is firstly against Him. Secondly, we hurt our wives, our children, and ourselves. We also support an industry that supports all sorts of ungodliness, including human trafficking. One thing God used to get my attention was this question, “How would you feel if you were to open a porno magazine or watch a porno DVD and see your beloved daughter? The ladies seen in these magazines or films were somebody’s ‘baby girl’ and made in the ‘image of God.’”
God says in His word that sin is “pleasurable for a season” but it will ultimately destroy us. Sin is not bad because it’s forbidden, it’s forbidden because it’s bad.
On a personal note, I was exposed to pornography at a very young age. I wasn’t looking for porn at six years old, but it came looking for me. I wasn’t addicted immediately, but through other circumstances (I’ll blog about that at another time) I became addicted, and it was instrumental in causing my two divorces. Porn is a fantasy world—not reality. It’s staged and posed and doesn’t portray a true picture of reality. It’s generally perverse and a definite deviation of God’s plan.
Even after I gave my heart to Jesus I didn’t see pornography as a sin, because it wasn’t real—only fantasy. It’s not like I was having an affair. I didn’t understand what the word fornication meant. I didn’t read through the Bible completely until 1997, and it was probably five years later before I heard Jesus’ teaching about lust being adultery. Even then I tried to convince myself that I really had no interest in any of those women personally. And until recently, churches just didn’t address pornography until it was an epidemic in the church. Once I was convicted of my sin, I couldn’t seem to stop.
Finally, after my second wife filed for divorce, I followed the words of James 5:16—I confessed my sin and began the process of deliverance. About ten years later when I was depressed, like an alcoholic returning to the bottle to self-medicate, I started slipping back into porn.
As God would have it, a little company in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, developed some material to address porn and sexual addiction. And again by the providence of God, my brother-in-law was approached by this company to come on board to help promote the product. Then he sent me the material to get my opinion. The material was called Freedom Begins Here. This material convicted me of backsliding, but more than that, it made me realize I was not alone and that there was hope. Like any addict, I always have to be on guard because pornography will always be a strong temptation, but with God’s help and materials out on the market and churches that promote transparency and seeking help with our issues, there is a future and a hope.
When you hold your marriage up to a mirror what do you see? What should you see?
The image I pray to see is that of the image of Christ and his relationship to the church. He set the example for us to follow. Unselfish sacrificial love and devotion is the height of the bar.
The book of Ephesians in chapter 5 puts it in God's words. Some of the words your about to read have fueled our culture to become quite upset. Sometimes the truth is hard to take, but it's still the truth.
Here we go. Eph 5: 22-24 "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."
What proceeds verse 22 in 21 is this; "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
Ok, husbands pay attention. God has a command for us. Eph 5:25-27 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."
As a NEW YEAR begins, many will take time to reflect on the past twelve months; the joys, the growth, the changes, the challenges along with the tears, the regrets, the losses, the hurts and the pain.
Although a new year is dawning, many have hurts from yesterday that will carry over.
Some sisters are still on their arduous journey of healing while others may have just begun. Friend, I don't know where this new year finds you, what hurts you woke up with today, what wounds are gaping open or what thoughts torment you. However, I do know that in the darkness of betrayal, Jesus illuminates that darkness with the light of His enduring love and there He embraces His beloved, broken daughter. Friend, this is where your healing begins!
My love letter to you.....
This is a very hard letter to write, I am struggling to find the words. I know you don't know me but I am all too familiar with you. I hope you will hear my heart as I share with you the impact you have had on my life and my marriage. Please bear with me as I preface this letter by giving you a glimpse of what my world has looked liked........
Even though you may see your husband moving forward on his journey towards deliverance, sometimes it is difficult to see him as God sees him. I can relate all too well. We tend to see through eyes of the past. We see through distorted lenses. We see through the pain, the tears, the memories.
Have you ever thought to yourself or told a friend that the reason you chose NOT to divorce your husband after betrayal, was because you wanted to "please God?" You are not alone. Over the years, I have read where many women have said that very thing, me included. That should be no surprise. After all, as women who have been saved by the grace of God, through Christ, pleasing God should be what motivates us all. However, Even though we may have stayed in a difficult marriage in order to "please God", the truth is we may not be producing fruit in our lives that is pleasing to him at all. Let me explain.
Betrayal in any form can cause deep rooted issues in the heart of a woman. Even though a husband is repentant and moving forward in Christ, wives can get stuck in the aftermath of such devastation. Our pain and wounds can lead to mindsets that we don't even realize we have. If we do not completely surrender our broken hearts to Christ, the pain can begin to produce fruit in our lives that is totally opposite from our initial intentions.
Think about this...do you secretly consider yourself a "martyr" for Christ for giving grace to your husband and not leaving him? Do you feel like your husband "owes" you something because you chose to stay with him even though he did not deserve it? Could it be that you are emotionally creating an unfaithful heart towards your husband by making an idol out of your "sacrifice" to stay married to him? I am only asking these things, sweet friend, because these are the very things that God brought to my attention not too long ago. Tough stuff, I know! Can I tell you that these are very dangerous mindsets? SO, how can you tell if, in your heart of hearts, these mindsets may have taken root? It is really simple...by your fruit.
What is it you are facing today?
What is it that hinders you from moving forward?
What are you holding onto that you know you need to release to God?
Can I tell you that God's grace is with you.
It is His grace
that He bestows upon you everyday
that will help you face EVERY situation
with the peace which surpasses all understanding.
He knows you.
He knows your fears, your insecurities, you pain, your mess.
He is the God that sees you. He sees your tears.
He sees the chains that nobody else sees.
And, still, in all of the mess,
He has a plan.
His grace is enough.
The circumstances that have
brought you where you are today
will create in you
His divine purposes for tomorrow.
Through hands of extravagant love and grace,
Your gracious Father has allowed
you to experience life as you know it
and because He has allowed it,
He will use it in ways you cannot even imagine.
I don't know how and I don't know when
but what I do know is that....
His grace is enough .
Just as salvation was offered to you,
He offers His gift of grace.
Day after day His grace is there.....
but you have to receive it.
You have to intentionally choose
to turn your eyes from your circumstances,
from those who have hurt you
and focus on the ONE who can HEAL you!
You have to embrace this beautiful gift,
handpicked just for YOU.
This precise grace for your life
is grace that is just enough
for what you are facing.
Not any less, not anymore. Just perfect.
Dear, sister...don't face another moment
without allowing His grace
to calm your weary soul.
It is time to make a choice.
Are you going to continue
to be paralyzed by the sins of fear and worry
and be held captive by your circumstances or
are you going to reach out
and take hold of the grace He offers to you?
His grace is what saved you and it is
His grace that will sustain you.
You can do it! There is hope!
His grace is enough.
Today I am choosing to allow
His grace to calm my fears,
to overcome discouragement
and to renew a right spirit within me.
Will you join me?
So let us come boldly to the throne or our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it. Heb 4:16
Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially that sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. Heb 12:1-2