Many times we want change, but we don’t want change more than we want to save face. We don’t want change more than we want our sin exposed so that healing can take place. But that’s exactly what’s necessary sometimes. Proverbs 27:5 says “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” And James 5:16 says “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Other times, we’re just spiritually lazy. We can’t be bothered to establish & maintain accountability relationships, or to flee when temptation strikes. And we wonder why we lose the battle for purity time and again. May God give us the humility to entrust our struggle to the right people, and the spiritual work ethic to do what needs to be done.
Russell Moore is President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and a Together for the Gospel Council member. He encourages those who are addicted to pornography to seek help by confessing sin to other believers who will preach the gospel to them and encourage them towards holiness (Source: The Gospel Coalition). I’ve transcribed a short pastoral clip in which Moore reaches out to Christians struggling with pornography. You can’t do it alone, but thankfully you don’t have to.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.John 1:5
You know, I hear your question about succumbing to pornography again. Sounds like, from this question that, it’s a repeated struggle, it seems to you like a repeated failure. And I don’t really know how to answer you because I would need to be with you in order to know how the devil is coming at you, because there are a couple of different ways. It might be that you’re the sort of person who you don’t like the fact that you’re enslaved to pornography but you sort of see it as normal and you see every time that you fall into pornography, a sense of repentance that isn’t really repentance because what’s happening is you just feel kind of ashamed of the porn, but you’re not really willing to turn away from it.
If you’re in that category, I would speak to you with much more sharpness than I would if you’re the kind of person, you very well may be, and I know many people are in this situation, who are genuinely terrified of the slavery that porn has over them and they think somehow that this means that something is wrong with them. What’s wrong with you is that you’re a sinner, you’re living in a fallen universe, you’re living in an era of ubiquitous porn, and you’re living at ground zero of spiritual warfare in your life. So what I would say to you is, don’t do this alone.
The way that porn can really get a hold of you, it thrives in the darkness, and so the more that you keep it hidden, the more that this is going to continue to be a problem for you. And so what I would say is, break the spell. Go to someone that you trust and confess, and say, “I’m handing myself over to you to bear this burden and to help me with this.”
And so what that may mean for you is that you’ve got particular areas of times where you’re more vulnerable to this, that you need to have someone help you shore up. It may be you don’t need internet access in your home, maybe that’s where it is that you’re tempted. Maybe you’re a traveling salesman or you’re a truck driver and the point of vulnerability for you is when you’re out of town. Then maybe, in that case, you don’t need to have computer access when you’re out of town.
It’s hard for you to see because you’re in the middle of it, but what you need is someone else to be there with you, along with a word that says to you both that everything that’s hidden is going to ultimately be exposed, you can’t hide this. But Jesus knows what’s going on in your life. Jesus is not ashamed of you. And what Jesus is wanting to do with you is not to lash out at you, and not to punish you, but to free you from something that’s numbing you, something that is not even giving you what it promises to give you.
So don’t give up hope. Don’t fall into despair. Fall into Christ.