What would you do if your son, daughter, husband or wife approached you and said, "I'm addicted to pornography... I can't quit. I want to, but I can't." Would you know what to say? Does it seem impossible that you'd ever hear that from a loved one? Thoughts?
I'm not going to lie; I watch a lot of TV. It's just something I enjoy... I like the stories that the writers can tell in 30-minute episodes of Scrubs... and I enjoy the drama and suspense of Law & Order... I don't care how fake their tactics are - I enjoy watching it! One thing that ALWAYS makes me wonder though... On SVU (Special Victims Unit) they handle the sexually related crimes. All of the criminals have backgrounds that started with abuse, addiction, or mental illness... Now, I realize these are fictional characters and this is all over dramatized for shock and awe on TV, but I still wonder... these individuals would probably not have been welcome into a church... where they belong. People would not have put their arms around them and offered love and encouragement. Instead, people would smile, look away, and think in the back of their heads "My kid isn't going near that person." It's the sad truth. I always feel for these "bad guys." Sure they're labeled as "sick" - all the more reason to show them love. It's something I struggle with when I see "To Catch a Predator" on tv... these folks need help and not humiliation on a national tv show. It seems like a double-edged sword and I don't know if it's right or not, but something in me says they are doing more damage than they know.
We can be there to offer all the help in the world when we see these people... but really, why are we waiting until their struggle has progressed to the point of acting out. Why can we not start living in accountability and support before it all crashes down. /end rant.
As an FBH team member, I can first testify to the great difficulty we have experienced in getting media coverage for our project. It's not that people aren't interested, or that the story's not newsworthy. It's just the very important detail that porn is pornography and that 50 percent of Christian men and 20 percent of Christian women are dealing with a addiction to it. If a news source validates the problem with a story, a blog entry, or some other "published" mention, they are tacitly agreeing with the statistics and sadly don't really want the heat in their backyard.
Enter the Brown Bulletin, the alumni magazine of John Brown University. Their Summer 2008 issue features the Freedom Begins Here story as their cover story. Check it out.
(In all fairness, seven of our team members are JBU alumni. However, the weight of the story and subject matter required more than just an editorial gut check -- I believe it was a display of courage in the epic battle of helping the Bride of Christ, His Church, prepare Herself for the coming Bridegroom. Thanks for being so brave!)
Fox News recently did an article entitled, “8 Signs Your Partner Is Addicted to Porn” written by FOXSexpert, Yvonne K. Fulbright. Sexpert? Huh?! Anyway… the article reads more like “Is he cheating on me?” and less like “Is he, she, or even AM I Addicted?”
What I found most intriguing is the blog connected to the article… entry upon entry of placating a behavior that wounds. It wounds us, and the ones we love. One of the defensive responses that we hear when we breach the topic of porn and sexual addiction is that it doesn’t hurt anyone. I think anyone who has struggled with this can recall the inner voice of “reason” explaining the “coping-method” concept, the “not-a-physical-affair” argument, or even the “it-will-help-my-relationship” justification. It’s just NOT true. The pain of pornography IS real. So who does it hurt… REALLY?
Homo simul iustus et peccator :: Mercy, not condemnation
I Corinthians 9:24-26
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.
I ran a 5K race this past Saturday. The race was small; only about 70 other runners competed. I am not a fast runner but I am a consistent runner. The small races are fun for me because I feel like I am really in the mix of the elite runners.
The sun was out and it warmed up into the 70s by the start of the race. A 5K race is just over three miles long - not a long race. By the time I reached mile two, I felt the sun on top of me and the heat coming off the pavement. About that time I turned a corner and faced a hill. As I got to the top of that hill, I made a left turn and faced another hill. All in the last mile.
Facing those hills, I was glad I had gotten enough sleep that week and have been diligent in my training. I have been running long enough to know the value of speed work and long runs. Healthy eating makes a difference as well.
When I am training I know a need to do certain things to do well (regular training, good diet) and stay away from certain things (junk food, staying up late). I have a goal in mind. I am aiming toward my goal.
It’s the same in my personal life overall. I need to do certain things (prayer, living in right relationships, times of rest) and stay away from certain things (living for the flesh to serve my own needs and desires).
In my life I want to run a race that honors the Father. The rewards will be eternal.
We all know the effect social networking has had on our culture. Everyone and their mother (literally) is now able to have an online presence... What does your presence look like? We are so naive to think that the pictures we put online are only viewed by our friends. Think about the images you're making available to the world... and to people that could potentially be struggling with an addiction to pornography that could be triggered by a "revealing image." It seems like everywhere you look there are triggers and I have a suspicion that while the majority are supposed to act as triggers, many are not.
If you have a Facebook, or Myspace, or any other online presence please take a moment and think about how you're presenting yourself. Be a light to those in dark places...
I mean, who honestly likes clicking on a link to a myspace page and then waiting 5 minutes just to see half naked pictures of some random person? All you wanted to do was see if you knew the person, right? And what's up with all those "rear shots" used in spam friend invites? There are at least 3 a day that I have to mark as spam. Sex might sell in advertising, but if you ask me, sex is killing social networking!
Check all that apply… I don’t struggle with porn. I know that my pastor doesn’t struggle with it either. I really don’t know anyone who views pornography. I have a great family and a great marriage. I am a Christian. I am very blessed. I can say “yes” to some of those things. Now flip the coin.
I am struggling through this life. I can’t sit in front of a computer for more than 5 minutes. I’m unable to stay alone in a hotel room with cable TV service. I can’t even drive through that one part of town. I am so broken. I am so alone. I will never make it. Do you know this voice? All of us do (Romans 3:11-18). Even if you’re a Christian leader or pastor, all of us have stumbled. Some still bear the scars from our falls. Maybe it wasn’t sexual temptation, but we have all felt broken and alone.
The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther used the Latin phrase “Homo simul iustus et peccator” to explain the state of all believers in a new light. Man is at the same time saint and sinner. What a paradox. I am a saint and a sinner. I’m not perfect, just forgiven. PBPGINFWMY. Say it however you like, but it is the transformational power of the gospel. It is the light of hope shining into the darkness and the darkness cannot hide from it.
So what does God require ME to do about this whole porn thing? If you think you are a saint, think again about YOUR need for a Savior. If you think you are a hopeless sinner, consider YOUR Savior and the mercy He extends to all. There is a beautiful answer to that question in Micah 6:8, “Do what is fair and love kindness. Walk without pride with your God.” I can be fair and kind to those who struggle. I can humbly come before God to find freedom.