I just left my office after meeting with a 19 year old young man that wants to be done with pornography. He’s just one of a multitude in the last four months who have come to me for help. I know so many brothers going the rounds in this fight that I couldn’t name them all if you paid me. It’s just too easy with the accessibility nowadays to find oneself in this destitute pit of perversion. When I am asked how to deal with porn addiction, there are three basic areas I focus on. There are more, but these are the heavyweights:
First, and most importantly, we need to cultivate a real hatred for what pornography does to the human heart. What it does to the lives of those on screen. The intangible yet very alive souls who have been taken captive in what is probably a career against their own volition. Perhaps kidnapped in sex trafficking, maybe black days of poverty thrust them into a quick dollar. Maybe perversion itself allured them. But ultimately, they are captives. And they have names, with mothers and fathers. They were once someone’s little girl. They have brothers and families and a maker who loves them and gave himself to redeem them. These images are more than mere pleasure agents whose existence was never purposed to satisfy our imagination let alone the meat-grinding industry into which they have been tossed by the enemy of their souls. Without a disgust for all that pornography represents and all the wreckage it leaves in the wake of our lives and the lives of these prisoners of the screen, we will never break the addiction. Such a godly hatred can be nurtured. And it must be cultivated.
Secondly, the barrier of embarrassment has been removed and must be replaced. Years ago, one had to clear the hurtle of being seen entering a smutty video store or purchasing a magazine at a sidewalk kiosk in broad daylight. But now, we just enter the false reality in the secret of our private room with no one but the cyberbots and our defiled consciences taking notice. We willfully shut out thoughts of our Lord whose presence, while unseen, is no less in attendance. Access is a big problem that needs to be cut out of the equation. Good will and self determination are not enough. New barriers need to be put into place, giving the Holy Spirit and our consciences the time needed to interact. The harder it is to reach, the longer it takes and the more time is given for conviction to set in and the soul to respond to God’s grace and prompting. Computers with their browsers and Phones and tablets with their plethora of apps must come under the management of another will, an accountability partner who has your genuine interest at heart. She or he will lock out your access with passwords and filters and if done properly, will follow up with routine checks on your devices.
Thirdly is a living, breathing accountability partner whose purpose is to be more than a name on an ideological list of uninvolved and unhelpful friends. Too often accountability partners are nominated but accountability is nowhere to be found. Addicts of porn need mentors who are difficult to look in the eyes and confess their deficiency to them. And those partners need to be proactive, not just an ear on the other end of the line waiting for confession to come after the wound has been reopened. They must initiate and counsel and exhort and encourage. Intentional meetings need to be put onto the calendar weekly. Yes, it’s a bit of handholding if you want to call it that. But the goal is to get them far enough away from the gravitational pull of this perverted vortex that they are able to walk in freedom and a healthy fear of the Lord who then makes these other steps redundantly unnecessary.