Most of my struggles with pornography began when I obtained very easy access to the internet, which was mainly throughout my 20’s. I lived in that cycle, you know, the one of temptation, anticipation, failure, guilt, shame, a promise to never do it again followed by building temptation. I did all the things that you are supposed to do when you are trying to break this type of a habit, I told my wife about my struggles, I installed a program on my computer that emailed my best friend a list of all the websites I went to each week, I installed all the road blocks. Yet, I still could not get past the idea that the problem was not gone. I knew that if the roadblocks were to be removed I would fail again. This was difficult for me because ultimately I knew the real problem did not rest in the effectiveness of the roadblocks but the true condition of my heart.
I hated that my feelings of spiritual self worth were directly tied to how long I had gone without a setback. It was a house of cards constantly collapsing and being rebuilt and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t break the cycle.
I would grow angry with God for not taking this struggle from me, especially when I would do everything I was supposed to do, I repented, I confessed, I prayed, and pleaded. I hated who I was and after awhile, it was just easier to try to keep the secret rather than having to face the shame of telling someone again.
My big breakthrough finally came when I stumbled across John 8:34: Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. (NASB) I had read this a thousand times, but for this reason, it sat differently. I didn’t like being a sinner, but for some reason the idea of being a “slave” struck me in a completely different way. It awoke a sense of defiance deep within my masculinity that refused to be a “slave” to anything. I began to look at all sin differently, I realized that it wasn’t so much about good and evil or right and wrong, it was about being a slave or a free man. The funny thing about sin is that it is it’s very own prison. When we engage in it we are literally placing the chains upon ourselves and securing our own cells, circumstances that we can leave at any time should we choose to. God does not have to “free” us from sin because He already has, it’s already been done. We have a free will, which means we have to choose to sin. We have to make the decision to imprison ourselves. Nobody forces us to do it, nobody says we have to, we just do it to ourselves.
I was tired of being held hostage to secrecy, shame, guilt, and worry. I was tired of fearing someone find out and ruin my reputation, I was tired of covering my tracks and I suddenly felt stupid when I realized all I had to do to stop feeling those terrible emotions was stop entering the prison. I stopped focusing on what I “didn’t” want to do anymore and started focusing on all that I did. Now I’d be lying if I told you the temptations don’t still arise on occasion, but when they do, I think of being a slave, and it makes me angry. I refuse to be a slave anymore!
Will Hathaway is an Ordained Minister, Author, and SWAT Negotiator. He can be contacted through his website: will-hathaway.com