The question is raised “What do I do when a youth group member confesses their struggle with porn?”
Now immediately for me I want to jump on the deeper issues, the hurt in their heart that may be the root cause of their struggle with porn, this insatiable desire to meet a need.
But judging on age of the given youth, going deeper, reaching the root issue, that may not be possible. I work with a lot of young guys on this very issue, but these young guys are anywhere from 18 to 30, not generally a high school youth student. The reason I disciple young men at that age group is because they are at place in life where marriage is a realistic possibility, and most men enter marriage with baggage, my goal is that they enter it with the least possible. At that age you’re usually at a mature enough place emotionally and spiritually to deal with the root hurts that causes the surface issues.
But with high schoolers or junior highers, that’s probably not the case, that young it may be really difficult for them to one embrace their hurts, or two even recognize the need to embrace those hurts.
So the question is asked, here’s what I have for that. When a youth comes to you and talks to you about their struggles with porn, you got to be willing to get in the muck and grime with them. Sexual addiction or struggle of any kind will require a lot of time and hands on interaction in their lives. You’ll have to make yourself available, because this struggle with porn is to either help with hormonal issues, being young you have all sorts of things happening, and to a youth we’re telling them to not have sex till marriage in their mind they will try to meet their bodily needs with another means, porn.
Or the cause is deep rooted hurt, and in times of loneliness, angered or even bored, they’ll flip on porn and masturbate. This is no different from what the alcoholic does when he experiences some type of stress, except that the alcoholic chooses a six-pack rather than an orgasm. Instead of working through the emotions an understanding what they mean, they’ll short-circuit the whole process by masturbating. When we do so, we are kept perpetually stuck in adolescence rather than learning to process our feelings in a mature, adult manner. But that’s the key, they’re not adults.
You should right there in that moment ask the right questions, what are you doing when you flip on porn? What happened before you decided to do that? What was your first memory of viewing porn?
(Allow the Holy Spirit to be sovereign in that moment, He may give you the right question or a word they need to really hear in that moment.)
Certain key questions will help you get the underlining issues here.
Suggest the XXXChurch accountability apps on their phone and lap tops, suggest getting the computer out of their room, have it in a family room or kitchen where parents are often around. That will start things off right. The question needs to be asked of how much they hate doing it, masturbating or viewing porn. Giving them scriptures on sexual immorality also helps give them the mindset that, hey it’s not just my youth leader saying this, its God. God made sex, and made you, and He knows the best ways and most beneficial ways for it to be a part of our lives.
“You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Scripture says “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” – Romans 10:17
Knowing scripture to throw back at the enemy in times of temptations will be crucial for them in overcoming this struggle.
As well as this next verse; “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.” – Revelations 12:11
By the word of their testimony, we need to share our testimony, our testimony of dealing with sexual sin. If you’re a man it’s more than likely that you have struggled with this very thing, or that you have heard a great testimony of someone who has and whom have overcome it. Share it! Tell these young guys that they are not alone, and that recovery is possible, that they too can overcome.
This last thing I need to add is critical. You need to make time for one on ones. Youth need one on one time, they spell love T.I.M.E. Time for you to listen to them, for you to encourage, edify, and pour into them, speaking life and victory over their struggles. Plus one on ones allow a time where it’s just you and them, where walls can come down, and they won’t have to front like they have it all together like a perfect Christian, like they more than likely do when your youth ministry regularly meets in big meetings. One on ones are critical, if you are passionate about seeing young people’s lives changed for Christ, really transformed it will take time, one on ones, phone calls at 3 am, driving all the way across the city to pick them up or meet with them, they probably won’t thank you right off the bat. But this is what it will take.
So what do I do when a youth confesses their struggle with porn? You spread yourself thin for them, in every area they need it in. From the get go you love them through it, for some victory will come with one scripture, for others with your testimony or someone else’s testimony, and for a lot of them it will take time and you working with the Holy Spirit and them to address the underlining hurts.
I pray this was encouraging, eye opening, and hopefully gave you some tools to really see victory in the lives of the youth that have been entrusted to you.