I just finished a truly profound book by Dr. Larry Crabb called The Silence of Adam. I’m certain many of you have already read it, but if you haven’t you might want to pick it up and read it soon (www.christianbook.com). It isn’t a book specifically about beating porn or sexual integrity, but he does talk about why lust, porn, and fantasy are such easy ways of escape for us. By the way, sorry, to my female colleagues in ministry out there, I don’t mean to leave you out, but this book was focused on the guys and our tendency toward timidity, along with our, all too common, outright, passivity.
There’s a section that I thought was truly powerful where Dr. Crabb talks about what happens when a man does speak up to another brother, mentor, or friend and talks about his failure, and sin. Dr. Crabb writes:
“Something happens within a man when he makes known to another man that which is least attractive about himself. When we share our secrets with a brother; something happens that will happen in no other way. Pouring our hearts out before God is foundational. But presenting ourselves as we really are, with every secret laid bare, to one other human being puts us in touch with the liberating power of God’s grace in a manner that no secret-keeper will ever know.” (emphasis mine)
That is so powerful, and so true. He goes on to list these three “life giving messages” that a man receives when he opens his life up to another man. He explains them in more detail in the book but here are the main points of what he’s saying:
1. “Nothing you are or have ever done dooms you to defeat…”
2. “You have something powerful to give…”
3. “There is a calling on your life that no secret can remove…”
Think about the following phrases or words from the paragraph by Dr. Crabb and how they relate to our problem with porn:
• “he makes known” – This is the toughest part, isn’t it? I can remember in the depths of my own battle actually coming to a point where I said, “I would rather be admired than known.” Ever said that? Yet I’m convinced more than ever that we are made for intimacy with Jesus and with others. Becoming known and knowing others is quite terrifying though. But if we are willing to travel that path toward intimacy I believe the power of pornography or “false intimacy” is broken forever.
• “least attractive” – Our problem (addiction) is the thing we come to despise about ourselves making it difficult to even fathom the notion of another person knowing! Who wants to share something so icky about themselves?
• “as we really are” – We eventually become two people. We become inauthentic, and lack integrity so no one ever sees the real person or if they do it’s just because the other “me” only comes out when I’m alone.
• “secret” – For most of us guys/pastors it’s our big secret. It has been for many years and we’re ok with keeping it that way. But it is the secret that may very well be keeping us in bondage.
• “liberating power” – Ironic how pornography makes us feel powerful and free yet we’re in bondage and powerless with porn. True freedom and power is found only through Jesus. “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” I John 4:4
Speaking up about our porn problem is hard to do but it is what we must do in order to be free. So maybe you have told someone, and opened up this secret place in your life, but you still find yourself back in the same place. What I’ve learned is that this intimacy thing isn’t a one-shot deal it has to become a way of life. Once we begin to share the dark places, we must allow God to continue the work of opening us up. In other words we continue to tell our story, we continue to allow ourselves to become known.
For today think of those 3 “life-giving messages” you receive when you start to open up your life to another man. Crazy thing is for me, I sensed all along that God was quietly whispering to me to tell someone. Perhaps I could have avoided literally years of pain and darkness had I simply listened to His still small voice, and had the courage to SPEAK UP! READ Proverbs 28:13, I John 1:5-9.