Eyes of honor
One of the issues that men face in the 21st century is the easy access to the addictive world of pornography. Men of all ages from all walks of life including guys in church are being caught up in the insidious affects and consequences of such addiction.
Increasingly pastors and church leaders are seeking advice on how to help men and their families through such scenarios when the truth comes out, with the resulting unravelling effects of this dilemma for marriages and families.
You no longer need a computer for accessing such material, as the smart phone enables people to be allured by the slide of a finger on the screen of the device. More teenage guys have a smart phone than access to a dad!! When we place a smart phone in the hands of young people some as young as aged 10 we are potentially placing unfettered, unfiltered “porn in their pockets”.
Mark Lyndon-Jones, MPower’s National Director was discussing this issue and its effects with Pastor Clyde Thomas of the Elim Church in Cwmbran who has his own testimony of breaking free from this addiction.
Clyde stated “For several years, I was addicted to pornography. Some of this was during my married life. I am thankful for a Pastor who believed in me enough to work through my mess, for a God who never let me go and for a wife who did all that and more! These were some of the darkest years of my life, the shame, the guilt, the lack of prayer, the lack of power, the constant desire for pleasure but no satisfaction. The feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness often overwhelmed me. I would scream at God, 'I'm a Christian, get me out of here!
As a Men’s Pastor over the last decade MLJ has listened to many guys share their story of the effects of pornography in their lives and has sought to counsel and pray with guys from the place of confession right through to victory in this area. Clyde has been walking in freedom from porn and sexual addiction for several years now and shared with Mark Lyndon-Jones four steps that helped him. We hope these will help others too, whether you’re an addict yourself or helping those trapped by the misery and guilt that pornography inflicts on men and their families.
Honesty & Confession - Living with a secret world is more damaging than we realise. We may think we've pulled the wool over people's eyes, but oftentimes our nearest and dearest already know what is going on, creating an onslaught of mixed emotions and fears in them. Break the deceit today, most marriages can live through anything except lies. For singles, break it now before it breaks you! If you confess, there's always a chance it won't be received well, but if you don't confess then disaster is certain. The odds are stacked against secrecy.
Secure strong accountability - Everyone needs accountability, I would suggest at two levels (electronic and relational). One level of accountability is the use of Internet accountability software, such as covenanteyes.com. This is electronically based, it will deal with the symptoms, in that if you look at porn, your accountability partner will be alerted. The second level needs to be much more relational, such as pastoral support from someone who gets it, to help deal with the root causes and allow for open, frank disclosure.
Renew your mind - It would be wonderful if we could renew our minds in a moment, sadly it takes a lifetime. I can still recall images in my mind that I once drew pleasure from. I may never get rid of those memories! I can, however, change my mind-set about those images in the catalogue of my mind and I can commit to letting my mind only feed on what is true, lovely, just and pure (Phil 4:8).
The Bounce Principle - In the excellent book, 'Every Mans Battle' authors Fred Stoeker and Stephen Arterburn speak of a process which they call the 'bounce' principle. The idea is that in order to live pure in our culture we need to learn to guard our eyes. It starts with making a covenant with our eyes to stay pure (Job 31:1); it is worked out by bouncing our eyes away from anything sensual and reminding ourselves of God’s word.
MLJ knows that we are not designed to do life on our own. Pornography will take you to a place of isolation and leave you vulnerable to the enemy. I encourage you to follow MPower’s Mission and get together with a bunch of guys on a regular basis creating a safe environment to hold each other to account in all aspects of life and see God breakthrough, “As Iron Sharpens Iron so One Man Sharpens Another” (Prov 27:17).
Remember the Bible is clear about the benefits of doing life with a Band of Brothers because, “Where Brethren live together in unity it’s a place of commanded blessings” (Psalm 133).