For those who have struggled with pornography, a feeling of helplessness is all too common–it’s easy to feel like, on our own, there’s nothing we can do to change and nothing that will break the cycle we’ve found ourselves in. And on our own, that’s largely true. It’s that “on our own” part that’s the problem. There are many who’ve tried to do it alone, and I’m sure you’re familiar with their stories–maybe you’ve lived one of those stories. It’s often been said how much easier it is to break the addiction with the help of community–friends who will support you. Why then isn’t this help sought out more regularly?
Simply put, we’d rather no one know about it. Having an addiction to pornography is not usually something that people like to broadcast about themselves (or even admit to themselves). There’s a reason it’s called a “secret sin,” and most people like to keep it that way. I know that was true for me.
I never wanted anyone to know, and it was largely due to a mix of both pride and fear. I didn’t want the people I knew to look at me differently. I was afraid of what they would think. I was afraid of losing friends. I had an image that I had to maintain–a certain way that I wanted people to see me, and if they knew what was really going on inside, I was convinced that would all change.
If we really want to change, we’ve got to get past the pride and the fear that hold us back from reaching out to others. Sure, there are those out there who don’t really care to change and are unwilling to take this step, but if you really do want to break the addiction, then how you appear to others can’t be your first concern.
It’s about SO much more than appearance. This is about LIFE–living this life the way God intended it–freely, joyfully, and authentically. God wants us to be able to maintain a close, loving relationship with both him and all the others in our lives. When was the last time you felt like you were living your life with this freedom, joy, and honesty (with yourself and others)? When was the last time you felt like you could be close and open with God, your spouse, your friends, your family?
Isn’t that so much more important than appearances? What good does it do to appear one way to everyone around you, and yet be completely different internally? Yeah, we may be able to fool some people, but in the end, we’re the ones that lose.
Take the examples of Saul and David from Scripture for instance. Saul was intensely concerned about what the people of his kingdom thought of him; David cared only about what God thought of him. Yes, both disobeyed God–as all of us have–but it was their reactions when confronted with their disobedience that defined them.
Even as his kingdom was being removed from him, Saul’s request was to be “honored before the elders of his people and before Israel” (1 Samuel 15). David, when confronted with his guilt, only replied: “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12). His response was repentance, and God honored that. He wasn’t worried about maintaining an image.
When it comes down to it, we’ve got to ask ourselves what’s most important to us. Is it our appearance? Is it that image we’re trying to maintain? Or is it true change and life to the fullest? Will you take the steps necessary to break the cycle? May we all be willing to do so, regardless of the cost.