Once I was teaching about sin at a Bible school when one student raised his hand and asked, “Now which is it: do I have to confess my sins to someone else or can I just take them directly to God?” The question got a bit of a laugh from his classmates, especially when he added, “Because there are some things I’m taking to the grave!”

So which is it? Does confession simply need to go vertical to God? Or does it need to go horizontal to my spouse, friend, pastor, therapist, or accountability partner? This is an okay question but it misses the mark.

Oftentimes in my own life of attempting to conquer sexual temptation or seeing others try to leave the shackles of pornography, it looks more like the Lone Ranger, Jack Bauer, or Spider-Man than the Three Musketeers, the Avengers, or the A-Team. It’s me and God against the big bad porn monster instead of me, God, and a family or a community of friends taking it on.

Don’t get me wrong here, if you try and replace God with a person in your quest to leave pornography, you are setting yourself up to fail miserably. But I also believe that God tells us very clearly to “confess our trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16 NKJV). We will also fail miserably if we use our relationship with God as an excuse to not build relationship with others.

What if God is not only interested in you being free from porn? What if He wants you also to be placed in dynamic, brave, open, and caring friendships that contribute to your fight for sexual freedom? Since you are addicted to sexual sin, this is an opportunity for you to ditch porn so you can know God better, but also a time for you to enter into authentic friendships.