In the past couple of months I watched two movies that were really insightful in understanding addictions. One was about alcohol addictions and the other was about sex addictions (ironically). Now, I came away from both movies thinking they were helpful in understanding those topics and entertaining. Unfortunately, the more prevalent memory of both was two burning images in my mind that was very explicit in nature. Both movies displayed nudity or explicit sex scenes. I so wish the director had made a different choice. But I am responsible and in my heart was the desire that I had made a different choice
I could have looked away from the scene–often you know when a sex scene is coming or as soon as it happens shield my eyes. Or I could have chosen not to watch the movie based on the rating. Had I done that, these images would not have stayed with me. But, I sinned.
My Sexually Sinful Past
Obviously it’s not the first time I have sinned in the area of sex and it’s probably not the last. As a young woman, I stumbled upon porn while doing research for middle school homework. I was initially shocked and appalled. Then surprised by a physical response to a visual stimuli. That day, sadly led to weeks, months and years of heart-wrenching addiction.
I grew up as a Jesus-loving, young lady who no one would ever have considered that I was struggling with porn. And I did love Jesus, sincerely. But it’s true. I was struggling. In the dark. In the shame. In the guilt. I prayed every alter call, every youth group function, I prayed and repented and asked God to help me. Then a day or so later I was caught up in the same struggle. It was off and on like that for years.
[As a side, if you are a parent, put guards on your child’s phones, computers and TVs. There is no reason to give them the access & opportunity to struggle with this. Check out Covenant Eyes or similar resources for help. Even if there is a cost involved, please make this priority for the sake of your child. Also, I have no affiliation (financial or otherwise) with this company, I just know it can help.]
(Update: Since this post when live I now, I reached out to the company and now have an affiliate program set up with Covenant Eyes. I’d so appreciate it if you’d use my link, please click here.)
How I Got Out Of Porn
I was so full of shame and guilt. I remember reaching out to one friend during the struggle and she was shocked and didn’t know how to respond. Unfortunately, her impulse reaction was an embarrassed “Well, stop!” in a hushed, and hurried tone. That ended the conversation and she never brought it up again. Neither did I. I bet you can imagine that that didn’t help. It added to the problem. Once, I was open about it at a youth group function. One leader comforted me, but other leaders present sat quietly, while I sobbed. I assumed they were judging me, not to mention all the wide-eyed peers sitting around me. The truth is most of them had probably struggled themselves at some point, if not even at that time.
But there was one wonderfully souled lady that I confided in. She was just a couple of years older than me, but her wisdom was vast. We met on a missions trip. She was kind and empathetic and shared a sin-struggle she also had. We prayed for each other and that was beginning of the end to my addiction. But, then the trip ended and I was alone with my computer and the temptations again. I unfortunately struggled alone for far too long.
[Another side: if you are struggling, please open up. This horrible cycle can end. Open up to those who can help you. There is help, there is healing].
Slowly, very slowly, in college the addiction did end. Lots of praying and studying the word of God and being around Christians was a huge help. I heard some brave speakers at the Christian group on campus talk about how they got rid of their sexual addictions. They themselves had struggled and wanted to help others out of it. Thank God, it ended for good. The temptation is not even present anymore and hasn’t been for years. [There is hope!]
So, I came into marriage after having a significant struggle with my sexual sin. I was in the zone of ‘fleeing from sexual sin’ (1Cor 6:18). Before porn, I didn’t know much about sex, at all. My mom was worried I’d start exploring, so she seemed to regard all my childhood innocent curiosities as appalling and never talked about it. (Which unfortunately actually encouraged–not deadened–my explorations). Needless to say I entered into marriage with a lot of mixed messages and didn’t know how to sort them. In intimacy, I felt I was sinning and doing something wrong.
Maybe your story is similar to mine in ways. Maybe there is more (there is more in my sexual sin too, a lot more). Maybe there is less sexual brokenness in your story. At the very least, I bet your first exposures to sexual images was not in the context of your marriage. Maybe your first images of sex came from an R-rated films, porn, a magazine or Google search results. Obviously, this was not the right context of sexual intimacy. Those things were sin. The individuals posting the content sinned and you those viewed it sinned. (Matt 5:28).
The Good News
Let’s not cover sin up. It is important to call a spade a spade. Recognize it was wrong. I sinned. You did. We all have. If this is your story, first thing is first: repent. Ask God to forgive you of your sin.
But, I have an inkling you have done this already (if you haven’t, now is the time–say a heartfelt prayer asking God for forgiveness and then keep reading).
The good news is you are (now) forgiven. Completely. Washed. Cleansed. Redeemed.
- For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. – Heb 8:12
- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. -1 John 1:9
- You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. -Psalm 85:2
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! -2 Cor 5:17
There are many more verses to this effect. If you haven’t gotten the picture: Christ has taken your sin and forgiven it. He has paid the price. He took your sin and your punishment to the cross. He has even forgotten it. (Woohoo!) Now it’s time to start believing you are and acting like a new creation.
It is useless to walk around with your head hanging as though you are still under the bondage of sin. You are not. You are a new person, a new being. You are a daughter (or son) of The King! And He calls you righteous (2 Cor 5:21).
Being forgiven causes you to love God more (Lk 7:47). But, also recognize that there is more reasons as to why you have been forgiven: “he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” 2 Cor 5:15. In other words, Jesus paid your price and now you have the privilege to live for him. He wants you to do stuff. He wants you to live for Him.
Why Does This Matter In The Bedroom
In other posts, I have made it clear that God designed us for sex with our spouse: 6 Reasons You Should Not Feel Guilty About Marital Intimacy & What’s Holding You Back From Frequent Love Making?
But if we are not living into that important sexual intimacy in our marriages–because of our views of sex as sinful–we are missing God’s will. In 1 Cor 7:5, Paul is specific in instructing spouses not to deprive each other of sexual intimacy because it’s easy to fall into temptation after too long. So, if you are not living into intimacy in your marriage because of past sexual sin… I hate to tell you, but you’re still sinning.
You are missing God’s wonderful desires for your marriage. He has got amazing purposes He’d like to do through your healthy, strong, and sexually fulfilled marriage. But if you’re caught up on previous sin, darling, you’re still doing it. (Now may be the time to re-read “The Good News” section above).
Our God Is The Best Father, Imagine This
I want to make this easier to understand our Father’s heart in this. Imagine you were playing with your toddler son. He was supposed to build a castle with you out of blocks. Instead, he knowingly, used his blocks inappropriately. He threw them at the most expensive vase in the world, which of course broke. You were disappointed and had to shell out $100,000 to fix what your son destroyed. Now, he came to you in tears, regret, and genuinely asked for your forgiveness. You love him dearly and were glad for his authentic change of heart. You completely forgave him and were so excited to play together. But then, he had the blocks and refused to play. All he could think about was that moment he made the wrong choice. He sulked and regretted and could not get over it, even though you were sitting there ready to make castle with him and have a glorious time together.
Can you imagine how frustrating that would be for you? You already paid the price and forgave him! Why doesn’t he ‘get it’? In this example the toddler doesn’t understand. But you do!
God has a purpose in His sacrifice for you. You sinned, yes. But He forgave you. He wants you to fully engage in this life He has given you. He forgot that you did anything wrong, because He wants you to walk in righteousness and freedom! He purposed you to have a fulfilling and vibrant marriage for many reasons. So, you can go ahead play!