A Familiar Story

The other day I sat across the table from a friend as he shared with me his story. And part of the story is a similar one I have heard from far too many men over the years... when they first encountered pornography in their lives. He shared with me how he was merely seven or eight years old and rummaging through his dads closet when he stumbled onto a "hidden" stack of Playboys. He can vividly recall how he flipped through the pages, seeing what he saw for the first time, then trying ever so carefully to put them back just as he found them. He was, from that moment on, captured! It was in that moment that his innocence was stolen.

As he shared with me, my eyes watered with pain, and anger, and shame over what my own eyes have seen. I was angry at the dad for not protecting his son, and instead loved his own selfishness more than his son's heart. I was angry at the loss of innocence. I was sorrowful at how my friend immediately went to deception and hiding, which only increased over the years. And, I was remembering the weight of shame in my own life of when I first stumbled upon porn as a young child. I can remember the moment... the moment innocence was taken.

Since we have been in quarantine world, I have heard a number of times now how pornography has significantly jumped up in use. That is stunning to me, considering it has been so pervasive even before the lock downs. And, it tells me how many are being entangled in the deathly riptide of porn. I know, too - there are many in the church, in our church, who are entangled. I know there are many couples who are carrying the weight of shame in their lives by what they have engaged in. I know too that there will be a number of young ones who will stumble across porn and have lost their innocence immediately.

Friends, I know too this is a heavy topic, but one I am compelled to write because of how rampant it is. I want to offer hope and encouragement and ways to find freedom.

First of all - if you are wondering what the harms are to porn, what sin it is, then let me point you to an article from Tim Challies. He is a skillful writer, and I found this one particularly helpful. You can read it here: 8 Sins You Commit Whenever You Look at Porn.
Next, let me urge those of you who have children at home to please, please, please get software protection on all of your devices. One I have seen as specifically helpful is called Circle. This helps with screen times, gives parental controls, allows you to set limits, check activity and far more. If you do not put protection on your devices, your children will find porn! Please protect them!
Thirdly, I encourage everyone to get Covenant Eyes on all of their devices. I have had this protection on my devices for years and if anything, it helps me be above reproach... besides a significant deterrent from swan diving into the abyss. I don't want it in my home, in my life, anywhere. And I need to not just "hope" I won't fall, I need to proactively put blocks in place. Like putting locks on doors to protect from someone breaking in, so is this software.
Finally, I would plead with those entangled to not hide, but share with another of what's happened in the dark. My wife, Angela, leads a Hope group for wives whose husbands have engaged in porn. It's only six weeks long but a wonderful place to be encouraged and practical ways to move forward. Also, we meet with people, together and individually, and we know others who would love to walk along side you in your weaknesses. That's what the church does, it walks alongside the broken and hurting - and we go to Jesus.
Jesus is oh so gentle, He is so caring. And He wants to heal us. Talk to me, let's go to Jesus together.

I love you church, and I love being with you. I am praying for you and your families. We have such hope in a Savior who always moves toward us. How utterly remarkable!

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