As we’ve been talking about in recent weeks, shame is one of the greatest weights for a porn addict. To the point where it has the potential to cripple a person’s effort to walk in freedom and healing.
One of the questions always in the forefront of my mind was wondering WHO I could really talk to about my addiction. Would someone think I was weird? Would they think there was something wrong with me?
Until I was asked by a counselor point-blank if I’d ever looked at pornography, I never had the courage to tell anyone about what I was dealing with. Especially anyone in church.
However, I do think we’ve come a long way in the last twelve years helping individuals dealing with sexual addictions, including pornography and other sexually compulsive behaviors. The amount of resources available to a person asking for help today is incredible.
But what about the thousands of people sitting in pews in churches who are secretly being enslaved by pornography on a daily basis?
It begs an even greater question:
Is the Church a place of safety, a place of support, and a place where a person can find the help they need?
Historically, this hasn’t been the case. Of all places you would think you could receive the best help available, the Church was the last on the list.
But, I will say that in recent years, pastors and ministry leaders within the Church have grown tremendously in their knowledge,
understanding, and love for those dealing with sexual addictions.
Much of the credit needs to be given to incredible organizations like XXXchurch and others who have helped over the years to not only inform churches but also equip them with resources as they engage those who are struggling.
So the short answer to the above question is YES. Now, more than ever, I believe in the Churche’s ability to foster a healthy environment for those who are coming in shackled and chained by their addictions.
“Finding a spiritual family where you can foster healthy relationships, receive solid biblical teaching, and participate in spirit-filled worship is one of the best things you can do for yourself in recovery. Remember, you’re building your support structure and getting yourself out of isolation. When you allow people in to see the real you, feelings like shame, anxiety, and hopelessness cannot survive. Your spiritual family can be an excellent source of support along your journey in recovery!”
So how is the Church really stepping up to help porn addicts?
I suggest three ways…
As stated above, when you’re addicted, you’re often isolated. And that means that no one really knows the real you. A church that prioritizes importance on community and knowing each other can be a really healthy outlet for an addict. Truth and vulnerability surface within community.
Secondly, if you happen to believe in Jesus Christ, there’s no place on the earth that can offer you a greater message of true hope and freedom like a Christ-centered, biblically-based establishment. If you’re really open to the message that Jesus came to earth to die for every sin & stronghold (yes, this includes addction), then you can experience incredible freedom.
A solid church will walk with an individual through their healing and restoration, even if that means bringing in other resources or specialists who are more qualified to help an individual. This could be done through referring a person to a licensed professional therapist or even connecting them to a support group or ministry focused on dealing with sexual addictions.
I believe in Christ’s ability to set us free.
I also believe those who serve Him (pastors, ministry leaders, you & I) are imperfect people. We mess up. We make mistakes. A lot. And we haven’t always done a great job at helping people with life-controlling issues find freedom.
But God ALWAYS has. The freedom He offers is unlike any “freedom” we could ever hope to experience in this life. I’m thankful that the Church is stronger than it ever has been in helping hurting people.
In the last 12 years, I’ve benefited greatly from solid, healthy relationships with people who love God so much that it helps me grow closer to Him as well.
I think this is the greatest strength the Church has to offer in 2021: The ability to come around someone with rough edges and a broken heart and help point them to the One who can make them whole.