Let’s face it. Pornography is a shameful thing. Most men know it (and women too). But no matter how many times you ask God for forgiveness, and vow never to do it again, you fail again. And one of the reasons why it perpetuates itself in your life is because it is a secret struggle. That’s right. Secret. Most people in your church, at your job, and even in your home don’t know this is sinful problem in your life. And, it is hard for you to talk about it because, well, it’s shameful. You know its wrong. You hate it when you watch it. You feel guilty often for watching it. But guess what? Since no one knows about it, you continue the battle on your own, thinking you can defeat this monumental beast by yourself! And when you do talk about it with others, it is usually spoken about in cryptic form where you kind of mention lust at a glance, without specifics, and without any real plan to confess the poisonous fruit that it is producing in your life. It is because of this, I highly recommend one of two things that should happen if you want to begin the path to liberty. These two are not the end-all-be-all to end pornographic desire, but I guarantee you’ll be moving in the right direction. 1) Get Caught 2) Confess (to your spouse, or a godly and mature saint).
When David desired Bathsheba, he did so in secret. No doubt, David probably thought he was never going to get caught. Sin is just deceitful like that (Ephesians 4:22). And after he had her husband Uriah killed in battle, he probably thought the trouble he got himself into by impregnating Bathsheba was officially buried (pun intended). The Scripture says that God was displeased, and he sent Nathan the prophet to expose his sin (2 Samuel 12:1). It was necessary after exposing David’s sin that the consequences would be listed against him. Then, Nathan says “For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun” (2 Sam. 12:12). David was busted! And it was a good thing too. Get was being merciful to him by doing so. And David’s reaction to this was perfect. He says, “I have sinned against the LORD.” He later pens Psalm 51 in what is probably the best, written example of genuine confession and godly sorrow that leads to repentance in all of the Psalms.
All that to say this. I pray that God will have mercy on you, and you get caught! Not trying to sound mean or harsh, but it’s the best thing for you. Really! If you think for one second that keeping this porn addiction a secret and taking it on by yourself is something you can handle, you’re deceived. And sin, no matter what it is, loves to hide. It likes to keep things secret. That’s where it draws its strength. In the nuturing environment of darkness. John 3:20 states that those that do evil don’t come to light so that their deeds aren’t exposed. Proverbs 9:17 has the adulterous women telling us that bread eaten in secret is pleasurable. Paul cries out to us in Ephesians 5:11-14 to take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them with light because shameful to even mention some of those things done in darkness. The point being, while God can and does use shame to cause you repent, shame is often a dungeon that sin uses to keep people from confession and true repentance. Someone walking in on you while watching porn, discovering your internet history, asking you directly if you watch pornography, or whatever the circumstances that causes you to be exposed is the BEST thing that can happen to you! And I say this with as much love and earnestness I can muster. If you don’t get busted now, your cries for freedom when you’re lying in the pool of your own tears, after once again failing to avoid the one thing that has this immense grip on your life, will grow weaker. In other words, while your desire to turn away from this sin may be genuine, the fact that you are attempting conquer this sin in the very same, secretive environment where it thrives spells certain shipwreck of your faith. You will eventually give in. You will lose.
But if getting caught is not something you want God to do to you, you don’t have to wait to expose this sin. There is another option. But before I dive into that, I want to quickly say something that is of the utmost importance.
The bible says that when we are born again, we will hate our sin (Romans 7:15). Do you hate this sin? I mean, truly? 1 John 2:29 states that one of the ways we know if we are truly born again is that we love to practice righteousness in our life because we are born again. Do you desire to love God and live holy before Him? One of the promises that we are given as Christians is that Jesus’ victory in taking the punishment for our sin is that He destroyed the power that sin has over our lives, and that He that started a good work in you will finish it (Philippians 1:6). Do you believe that? Do you truly believe that Jesus took God’s wrath and satisfied the demands of justice that are against us by enduring a painful and agonizing death so that we can be free from sin? And be given a new nature that loves Him and hates pornography? And that only through the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit who causes you to repent and trust Jesus for salvation that you are granted the gift of everlasting life? The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16)! For our sake, Christ became sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)! If you don’t truly believe this, this battle is lost even before it has begun. Getting caught and confessing your sins to someone else in the hopes of modifying your behavior is a dead gospel. It is in the life-changing work of the gospel of Jesus Christ where true freedom is found. I pray that if you have never experienced the reality of knowing Christ, and the power of His resurrection to justify you and change your sinful nature, that you would go before Him today broken and contrite, so that you might confess and repent of your sins to Him alone who has the power to forgive sins and reconcile you to Himself.
If you’re married, I wouldn’t wait another second to tell your spouse about this sin in your life. Be open and honest with her/him. Don’t criticize them if they get angry, frustrated, or disappointed. Accept the failure. Admit the defeat. That’s what David did when he was confronted about his sin. And if this isn’t the first time you’ve told them, tell them again. Ask them to periodically check in on you. Give them every password. Don’t be alone with any electronic device. Maybe take a long break away from the internet, television, and radio. Pray together. Read together. Seek godly counsel together. And most importantly, communicate! There are a multitude of gates and parameters you both can place in your lives to fortify yourselves against this horrendous sin. But the central and most important key is to not keep this a secret! Even when it is a known issue. Keep bringing it up! Not naggingly, but out of genuine desire to extinguish this idolatrous fire. And if you’re honest with yourself, God sees you every time you watch it. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, watching the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3). And “no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). So while I am exhorting you to abstain from secrecy, remember that if you’re not worried about God and how he feels about pornography, you’re probably not going to give much care to being ashamed and open about it to your spouse.
And if you’re not married, then you must find a godly saint(s) that you trust will pray for you, check in on you, and will provoke you to holiness. Tell them about your failure to be holy. Let them know your desire to no longer fight this alone. Hopefully one of the person(s) you trust is an elder or mature counselor in the church that can provide godly wisdom and a course of action. But whoever you choose, also remember that they are not a suitable substitute for genuine conviction from the Holy Spirit. The idea of an “accountability partner” is not what I’m proposing here. This sin is a heart issue. Period! If someone wants to watch porn bad enough, they will find a way. This is only a means for you to expose this sin in the hopes that you can deprive it of the strength that it so powerfully gains in secret. Just like the most disgusting of creatures and fungus tend to thrive in the darkest and dampest areas, so does this sin fester and thrive. And it isn’t until the area is uncovered, exposed, and aired out do the creatures scatter and the fungus dies.
If you are a man, you know the internal battle we must fight daily against lust. But now this isn’t just a man thing. Women are not facing this issue to. And as I already stated, this is a heart issue. So if you want to gain an upper hand, don’t allow this secret sin to flourish any longer in the dark recesses of your heart and on your hard drive. And since we are dealing with the internet here (for the most part), the data is already collected somewhere when you are searching these sites. So nothing is exactly private no matter what the “private search” option says on your phone or desktop. But what we need to remember is that if it God is who we aim to please, then we must go before Him in confession, faith, and repentance in order to overcome this, with a strong follow up by making no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14). And that we must expose this sin through communion with Christ, gospel-centered fellowship, communicating with our spouses, and availing ourselves of the means of grace God has provided in the Scriptures. My wife and I resolved to take these steps to protect ourselves long ago. By the grace of God, I pray that you will do it in yours.
– Until we go home