My Problems with Pornography
I’m a guy. There’s something about that XY chromosome pair that causes us to draw tremendous amounts of our sexual satisfaction through our eyes. We are all to some degree genetically predisposed to struggle with pornography. And with the wide acceptance of pornography in our society, we are hard pressed to find any man who does not display some attributes of pornography addiction. But I think anyone who has read this far is familiar enough with “You shall not commit adultery” and “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” that I really don’t need to beat that dead horse. In fact, there has been so much written about this subject that I’m not sure there is much new information I can contribute. The purposes of this article are:
- Full Disclosure – I don’t want anyone to say “You’re claiming to be a man of God, but you have done this or that.” I’m not actually claiming to be a man of God, I’m only claiming to work toward becoming one, but that’s another post.
- Encouragement for those struggling with this ‘stronghold’ sin
I’m going to briefly touch on society’s outlook on pornography (again, I think we are all pretty familiar with that, so I won’t spend too much time on that subject). Then I will discuss some tips that have helped me.
I think “Horse Hockey” just about sums that up.
Where Do We Go From Here?
First, talk to someone. A godly man who knows other godly men in your area. A pastor is an excellent choice. There are a few pastors who will respond with all of the judgement and condescension many have come to expect from the church; if you experience that reaction, find another pastor (and another church for that matter – you don’t want to study under someone like that). Most pastors will understand the sensitive nature of the issue and appreciate someone confessing sin and being willing to take the steps necessary to cut it out of their lives. It doesn’t have to be a pastor, but they should have the appropriate disposition, experience, and resources to help. Whomever you choose, you will very likely find that he will be able to relate to your struggle and may mention some steps he has taken to address it in his own life.
This conversation has two purposes. By confessing an ongoing struggle with any sin, you free yourself from much of the power it has over you. One of Satan’s great tricks especially with a sin so immersed in secrecy is one of isolation. We don’t want people to know and fear how they will respond if they find out. Honestly, though, if godly men know where you struggle, they will pray for you and help you along the way (and Satan doesn’t particularly care for either of those). The other purpose of the conversation is to find a mentor you can meet with regularly (once a week or so) for a few months. Really. If that seems too long, remember how long you’ve been tied up in this. If it seems too short, it isn’t if you are serious about addressing this sin and you commit yourself to taking action. This isn’t a meth or tobacco addiction. Pornography does trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that causes a sort of ‘high’, but the real battle involves adjusting habits, not overcoming physical addiction. And habits can be adjusted in as little as three to six weeks. Your mentor partner may or may not be the man you initially approach about this. Your goal is to work with him to find the right mentor for you, and he may not be able to commit to a weekly hour or hour and a half meeting, especially if he is a pastor.
Find a book that you and your mentor can work through. I have used Every Man’s Battle and liked it very much except they don’t get to the “how-to’s” of the battle until chapter 11. The first 10 chapters are very good and should not be skipped entirely, but if you use this book, read chapter 11 twice – once at the very beginning and then again in its proper order (that’s between chapters 10 and 12, but don’t worry – the book’s arranged like that).
Also, install and use an internet monitoring tool Covenant Eyes is the one I’ve run into most, but there are others out there. Net Nanny for example. These usually work both as a filter and by emailing a list of every URL you visit to an email address you specify. Setting it up to go to your mentor is a great idea. Also, take advantage of any parental controls available on your TV. Have someone you trust (your wife perhaps) restrict anything beyond PG-13, and let her keep the password to herself. If you’re not married, have your mentor do it for you. It’s not that you are a child and need to be treated as one, you’re just working to remove temptations for a while until you get a handle on things. Clean out your movie and magazine shelves. Clear out anything that may even pretend to lure you. There will be enough temptations on billboards, commercials, and the side of the street. There’s no need to keep a secret stash.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, remember that you are not alone in this. I’m willing to say that with the exception of a general selfishness, which is the underlying cause of most sin, pornography is probably the most common sin among American men today. It is always very destructive. It’s not new, but it is more prevalent and accessible than ever. Man up. Spend the few months it takes to get this under control. It won’t be gone entirely, but at least you will be winning the battle.