Relapse is a terrible thing. It forces you into isolation and secrecy. Even if the relapse only includes forays into Internet pornography, it damages self-esteem, your relationship with your spouse and most importantly, your relationship with God. Relapse of any kind is just not worth it.
I relapsed into Internet pornography a few months ago. I convinced myself that I could keep this activity a secret. I convinced myself that I was still sober since I had not acted out with anyone else or even myself, but I had filled my mind with lustful images. Once again, I had become emotionally and spiritually unavailable to those who needed me. It was not a good thing. When my wife found out about it, the damage was devastating. We are still in the process of rebuilding trust.
Thinking about going back to porn? I don’t recommend it. Count the costs before you do. Reach out to someone who can offer you support. Don’t have anyone? I’d be willing to talk to you. Feel free to call me.
According to a survey conducted by Pure Desire Ministries (quoted in an ad in Outreach magazine), 68% of Christian men and 50% of pastors view porn regularly. Other research from Covenant Eyes returns similar stats. But let’s face it, statistics don’t change lives. If you are a pastor who uses porn, please know that there is hope for you to overcome this struggle. But it won’t come through greater knowledge, more self-discipline, or stronger will power. Victory is possible only through complete and moment-by-moment surrender to God and genuine accountability to someone who can be trusted to consistently ask the hard questions. This kind of accountability is hard to come by but it’s vital for sustained freedom. Continue reading
Have you ever thought about the effects of pornography on your soul? I was working on a gratitude list this afternoon and realized that now I seldom have sudden outbursts of anger, usually directed against unsuspecting loved ones. Back when I was using porn regularly, these were common occurrences. The anger always seemed to be seething just below the surface and when something or someone set me off, watch out! It was like stumbling on an IED (improvised explosive device). Someone nearby was going to get hurt. Continue reading
Have you ever been caught? Most of us have. Maybe you’ve been caught doing something you are ashamed of like looking at porn or masturbating—or sexual behaviors with even greater consequences like having an affair or an anonymous encounter. Getting caught in such activities brings serious consequences: a broken marriage, loss of a ministry position, or even arrest. Even our most “minor indiscretions” can damage relationships and cause an almost irreparable loss of trust.
For a long time, I thought exposure was the worst thing that could happen to me and that the key to avoiding consequences was to not get caught. This way of thinking drove me deeper into hiding and forced me to great lengths rationalizing behaviors and justifying deception. Continue reading