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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hooked on Pornography?

Many years ago a Christian man confessed to me that he had a problem with pornography. I told him that he should avoid going by the magazine racks. That was when he told me that he was spending over $400 per month on pornography. He spent it on movies, magazines, internet sites and phone sex. I realized that I didn't have a clue on how to help him.

Since then I have had several men confess this addiction to me. Many of them had over-protective mothers and either physically absent or emotionally absent fathers. They still felt controlled by their mothers and through fantasy longed for women they could control. Pornography provided this fantasy.

However, this was not always the case. Some had fathers who were admired and mothers who supported but did not overly control their sons. Pornography is not just a psychological problem. It is also spiritual.

I believe every healthy man can fall into the trap of pornography. Men have sexual desires which seem foreign to women. Women have no idea what the do to men when they dress provocatively. They like the attention but they do not understand what goes on physiologically, emotionally and intellectually. A man's thinking changes when his sexual desires are aroused. He will do things which he knows is harmful.

Each healthy man must guard himself in this area even if he isn't addicted. It is easy to see something that draws his attention. His lingering look will lead to his desires being ignited. Pornography promises satisfaction but never delivers. It results in shame. He may well condemn himself for his failure after the desire is gone.

Most people say that a man must guard his eyes if he is going to overcome pornography. I must admit that a man's desires are ignited by what he sees first, what he sees second and what he sees third. No other stimulation is necessary. However, I don't think the problem is with the eyes. I believe the problem lies in the heart and mind.

A man's heart is who he is. This is how he sees himself and relates to the world through who he believes he is. He will act differently toward others if he is confident rather than scared. He will cave into pornography if he sees himself as its victim. He will allow himself to get closer and closer to his failure to resist it if he continues to see himself as one who is controlled by women. He is seeking to be man if only in his fantasy but does not know how to go about it. A man's heart must be changed if he is to overcome pornography.

A man cannot continue to be passive and overcome pornography. He must take action in his heart. He must make a break with his mother if he is to overcome his feelings of inadequacy. He does not need to be overly cruel, though she may think he is, but firmly establish himself as one who can make his own decisions. He must continue to love his mother yet not give into her whims or demands which have controlled him. He must "man up" if he is to overcome his addiction.

The change of heart is one that God must give him. God has promised us all a new heart when we come to Him. I believe a lot of us have refused delivery. We are trying to live the Christian life with worldly hearts. It doesn't work. We need to accept the heart that the Lord gives us. It comes through complete surrender to Him. He becomes our life so that we might have life. He gives us a new heart. We act with that heart and our world is changed.

The mind also must be renewed. It must be filled with godly things. It must be renewed daily through God's word. The believer must take time each day to read the Bible so that he makes a connection with God. He must pray and put his day before the Lord. His mind is not changed in a moment but it develops the habit of seeking God's word and communing with Him. This changes his thinking. He thinks thoughts within the boundaries of pleasing God.

A man will have much more control over his eyes when he his heart and mind have been changed. His desire to play closer to the flames will be extinguished. He will guard his eyes because his heart is not pulling him in the wrong direction. He will go back to the scriptures when tempted. He will seek the presence of God. He will ask for strength and he will receive it. He will have victory.

Some men will find that their addiction to pornography will be harder to break than others addictions to heroine or cocaine. They will need a close friend who can pray with them through the moments of temptation. They will need to be completely honest with this friend. They will have to go to him often.

Most addicts get support from others when they confess their addictions. This addiction gets condemnation. That is why so few will confess it. This one really needs a anonymous support group that meets. This one needs people who will help these men overcome the addiction as much as any other addiction needs it.

Everyone who reads this blog today will either have a problem with pornography (yet it is not an addiction) or knows someone who does (but you may not know he does). It might be good for men to share this with each other without making confessions to each other.

It will be good only if it is meant to help.

Proverbs 5:15-20 (NIV)
15 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. 16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? 17 Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. 18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. 20 Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife?

Psalm 101:3 (NIV)
3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.

1 comment:

Luke said...

So true: change in the heart, renewing the mind, bouncing the eyes. These are all necessary steps to take.

"Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death." (Proverbs 7:25-27)