Q: “Hi, I am 16 years old and explored pornography in the 8th grade, I believe. I have never had sex and hope to save myself for marriage, although I have already made the act impure. I am a good person and try my best to give good advice and I volunteer and I know I have a good heart, until temptation comes along. It was a pretty bad problem for a while and then I let it go, and then I did it again, just to see if it still appealed to me, and it all started over again. I have had so many chances and opportunities to turn away from this and the other day I was on my knees fighting the urge to do it, but I gave in and did it anyway, and I did it again today. I actually drove home from the library to do it, how pathetic is that? I try to set limits and goals, but the urges don’t care what day of the week it is. I feel that since I began at such a young age that it will be nearly impossible to stop and some days I feel hope slipping through my fingers. I feel like I have asked God for forgiveness way too many times especially since I keep on giving into temptaion even when there are times when I know I could have turned away. I feel like he will not want to forgive me anymore and that I am going to be stuck on this path forever, and that is not what I want. I know that there is so much more to life and I want so desperately for God to be my source and I want to submit to him, but I keep failing and feel like I am running out of options. I just want to know that there is a way out, and that there will be a day when I can give all control to him and know that my life can be back on track one day, because I want him to be proud of me, not disgusted by me. I want to know that he will always love me, despite my disgusting mistakes. Today I came to grips with the fact that I am a pornography addict, who no longer has control over the matter. I need guidance from him and am very scared that he will give up hope on me.”—Lynn
A: Hey Lynn. I’m sorry it too this long to get to your email. Some of the questions get forwarded to me and for some reason, I’m just now reading this. But I do believe in God’s timing and so I will trust that you are seeing this when you need to most.
Let me first say something to you that seems so cliche’, but it’s true: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. This website would not exist if it were not for the fact that so many people are RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE in this matter. One of the things that bothers me most about this type of addiction is that it leaves people where it seems like you are heading: hopeless. It is such a flesh-consuming sin that it causes us to think that our spirit man is too weak to connect to God. No matter what, you are made in the image of your Heavenly Father (Gen. 1:26-27), he loves you (Jer.31:3) and when you confess your sins, he is FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE and CLEANSE US from ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS (I John 1:9). And you know one verse that I cling onto more than most?
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”—2 Timothy 2:13 (NKJV)
This means that he couldn’t stop forgiving you…loving you…even if he wanted to. And here’s the thing: he doesn’t.
I was just talking to someone last week about the fact that I don’t believe we speak enough on the difference between “freedom” and “liberty”. Galatians 5:1 (NKJV) says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” When I was sexually active, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the “freedom” of sexual expression. But there was no liberty. I was spending money on pregnancy tests. I was dealing with being brokenhearted from several men. I was always in the cycle of passion then guilt…then fear…then sadness. Now, three years abstinent, while there are times when I miss the physical pleasure of sex (of course, I do!), there’s a LIBERTY in not having to battle with late periods and STDs and feeling bound to the cycle I just mentioned. God’s laws are not to hinder us from enjoying life but to protect us while we do.
Yet being that you speak a lot of God in your question, I sense that somewhere in your heart you know all of this and so…since the Bible says that our testimony will save us and those who hear us (I Tim.4:14-16), I am going to uncover myself just a bit and provide some practical advice.
Although it was been three years since I have had sex with someone, it has not been that long since I have masturbated or even seen some form of porn (I used to watch the documentaries to justify it). Later this year, I will, for the first time, be a year without either and while I am thrilled about that, I won’t lie to you and say that it has always been easy. DETOX, IN ANY FORM, IS JUST THAT. But one scripture that I hold dearly, one promise from our Heavenly Father, is I Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV):
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Let’s be real with each other. You don’t just “happen upon” porn. You don’t just “happen” to masturbate to it. There are a series of steps before you get that end result. I know this because just last night, some images of porn came back to my mind. Memories of some of my “favorite” scenes and I was tempted to masturbate. I even started to rationalize, “Who’s gonna know?”; “What’s really the big deal?”; “How mad is God gonna be if I do it just one time?”
But you know what, Lynn? God doesn’t talk to us that way. When you start hearing that in your mind, that’s just (and I mean JUST) like how the serpent was speaking to the Woman (Eve) at the tree; trying to get her to question what the Lord had already made statements on. I had to take drastic measures. Get out of the bed (where I used to masturbate frequently). Watch something that would take my mind off. Pray until I got to sleepy to masturbate. Ask the Lord to bring to my remembrance what Week One and Month Three was like in “detox”. Honestly, one of the main things that keeps me from going back is not wanting to go through those seasons again. It always takes me back to the parable of the one spirit being driven out only for seven more to come back (Mt. 12:45). Every time we get stronger, the Enemy’s strategies do as well.
But more than anything (and this is what I really want you to get): Remember that the Word describes the Enemy as a THIEF who comes to STEAL, KILL AND DESTROY (John 10:10). Last night I thought, if the temptation is this strong, the the Enemy must be trying to keep me away from something. No one is tempted, by the same thing, 24 hours a day. If he’s coming, it’s with a purpose. I encourage you to start looking at your life the same way. He wouldn’t be bothering you if you didn’t have something that he was threatened by. Next time the temptation comes, as the Lord, “What do you have for me that he doesn’t want me to have?” He’ll answer. It’s a wise question (James 1:5).
I could’ve spent more time on the porn addiction itself, but I sense it is the guilt that actually keeps you in the porn. A lot of us have been through it. You do it, feel bad, and then do it again to not feel bad…at least while you are doing it. I get it. But that is no life for you.
The choices you have made are impure. But the moment you confess, the Lord works to restore. Being that you are still a virgin, I can already PROMISE YOU that that is one of the main things he is after. Don’t give him anything as precious as that. And yes, even your mind, which especially for women is powerful part of the sexual experience, do not cast that pearl before swine (Mat. 7:6). One definition of “swine” is “a course and sexually brutish person”. Porn is swine. He can (and will) love you through this. But he also wants to love you to something so much better.
We’re praying for you. Keep us posted.