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Monday, December 2, 2013

My Response to 'Married Men:Your Porn Habit is an Adultery Habit'

I started following Matt Walsh’s blog based upon his post entitled, “Abstinence is unrealistic and old fashioned.”  It was an encouraging post.

However, I had some additional thoughts in regards to his recent, “Married Men: Your porn habit is an adultery habit.”

Mind you, I don’t disagree with the truth of his post.  I agree that society can placate porn addicts to think that, 'ogling is no big deal, just a bit of innocent fun.  We aren’t actually touching anyone, boys will be boys after all.'  I agree in his scriptural references and interpretation basis of what sin is.  I know first hand how the heart of a wife feels betrayed.

However, if you are going to call Christian porn addicts to action, he was telling nothing they don’t already know.  I can pretty much guarantee that porn addicts sitting in church Sunday know that viewing pornography is a sin and that it has the potential to destroy marriages.  They know the naked bodies in pornography might be enslaved in sex trafficking and might even be a child.

And yet, the porn addict can’t pull their eyes away.  Good godly Christian men and women know the destructive grip of porn, and yet they can’t just will their addiction away.  (According to CovenantEyes.com, 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to pornography.)

Shame and humiliation are not effective motivators.  They are temporary motivators.  When the sting of shame and humiliation wears thin, what other tools does the addict have to fall back on so that he can resist temptation? 

Shame and humiliation just compound the addiction.  It’s the equivalent of the Head Coach yelling, “You pansies, get out there and work harder!  If you are going to win this game you need to have better control over yourselves.”

First of all, the addicts are not pansies.  They are wounded warriors.  For addicts, porn is a coping mechanism to heal pain.

Upon first glance, people don’t realize this.  Most think porn is about flesh and sex.  No, porn is about fulfilling a need in the wrong way.  A porn addict’s brain utilizes the lust mechanism because our brains are bathed in big explosions of chemicals when porn is viewed.  Some addicts have been using the coping skill since elementary school.
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin.  Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical act,” 1 Cor. 6:16 (the message).
Second of all, to win this game, The Lord has to be Lord of EVERY AREA of your life.  It’s never a matter of you having more control of your life.  It’s a matter of constantly handing your brokenness over to Christ and allowing him to heal the puss-filled wound.  It’s daily handing Christ your temptation.  

It’s also finding godly people to help you on the recovery journey.  Don’t let Satan continue to win by believing you can overcome by yourself, solo, alone.  Isn’t that how you got here in the first place?  Solo and alone.  That just perpetuates this lonely cycle.  You will successfully overcome only with the help of other godly people to lean upon.  The secrecy of this problem is Satan’s biggest advantage.  There is no condemnation in finding a support group.  I guarantee that a thriving group will welcome you with open hearts.

Find a support group where you can confess this monster of a problem and let them share their stories with you.  Let them pray over you.  Let them be Christ’s hands and feet to you.

Addicts have to do some hard work.  They have to be honest with themselves about their childhood.  Why are they wounded?  Allowing old pain to resurface to examine it, is torture.  But, it’s a healing balm and part of overcoming pornography addiction. 

The pivotal key in overcoming is when the addict realizes that porn has taken the place of God in their heart.  “An idol,” writes Timothy Keller, “is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give you.”

Addicts may be resistant to all of this.  It may take a spouse who is adamant without arrogance to stand for what God wants in a faithful marriage, no porn.  Being adamant, we live in expectant anticipation of what God will restore in our husbands.  We can look forward to whole and healthy men who are mentoring others to health. 

Can you see the domino effect?  Healthy men and women, healthy marriages, healthy families, healthy sons and daughters who stop the cycle of sexual addiction, a more complete and full Kingdom of God.

It is time we ‘man up and get real about pornography,’ but as Christians, we must go farther than Matt Walsh insinuates.  We need to go beyond the Just-don’t-do-it strategy of sin management.
“We begin our journey from slavery to freedom when we expose the [Satan’s lies] counterfeits at the root of our brokenness and admit our thirst for the real thing [intimacy with God and with real people in our lives].  It involves shifting our focus from the external objects of temptation (i.e., women and porn) and, as I said earlier, taking an authentic look at the spiritual roots under the surface,”  Michael Cusick, page 59, Surfing for God.
If there is a pornography problem in your house, I HIGHLY recommend, “Surfing for God,” by Michael Cusick.  (Purchase it through this link to benefit The Generous Wife & Husband Ministries.)

If you are a women struggling with pornography, please follow beggarsdaughter.com.  This is Jessica Harris’s blog.  She is a recovering pornography addict and has great thoughts and resources.

Relevant tweet:  @upwithmarriage – the enemy of your life and marriage seeks to stop you from completing the good works God has planned for your husband.








8 comments :

  1. Hey, Bonny. I agree with everything Matt said...and everything you said. I felt like his post was talking more about admitting you have a problem. And having struggled with promiscuity before marriage, yeah, I knew that was wrong, but it really helped my internal rationalization process to have so many people around saying that it was no big deal to sleep around before the I Do's. Had there been more shame involved in what I was doing, maybe I would have been less willing to go there. At the same time, you're totally right that you can't leave that life alone. You don't just wake up one day and say, "I'm done" and then live a porn-free (or single-and-abstinent) life. It took the Divine help of my Heavenly Father for me to walk the right path, and I trust that it takes that same leaning on the Everlasting Arms for husbands to kick a porn addiction.

    Thanks for weighing in on this! Your words are a beautiful plea for marriages to come clean and find healing through Jesus Christ.

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    1. Thanks, J, for sharing this. I guess the Holy Spirit will convict each individual in the most effective way. I am so thankful for those Everlasting Arms that we can fall into and rely on to give strength.

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    2. You both have good points :)

      I think the truth is needed, yes, but there is a difference between the truth in love and the truth in condemnation. Christians should never be the instruments of shame. We should be the instruments of grace. That doesn't mean allowing people to keep living in sin, but it also does not give us license to damn them either. If someone is going to speak up against a sin, they need to have the ability to 1) back up and 2) follow up. As the old saying goes, hate the sin but love the sinner. It's that love thing that people keep missing. All too often the conversation is, "That's gross. That's wrong. God judges those people, so stop it." And then it ends there. No tools, no resources, no fellowship, no grace, just shame. Those people aren't helping. While shaming might feel like a good motivator, it is far from a Godly one.

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  2. Hi Bonny,

    I follow your blog with some interest as I am married to the love of my life, a post-menopausal woman who is age 60 (I'm 11 years younger than she). So, we have been navigating the adventure of love and sex after menopause, especially with the age difference.

    In reference to your topic here, my question is this: What is pornography specifically? And how do you define pornography for yourself?

    I am asking these questions, not to play "devil's advocate", but more specifically for this reason: It is impossible to avoid what one can't define.

    I cannot think of anything else in Christian circles that is more universally condemned but so poorly defined.

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    1. Ed, this is a great question. It is so great that I am going to answer it ins blog post.

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  4. Well written Bonny Pearl, I think you are right. Ultimately, it is about getting close to God and learning to allow God to meet our needs!

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Any thoughts? I'd love to hear them.