Wasteland Kings

One of the hardest parts of my porn addiction came from my denial.

I knew that I had a problem with porn and that I ‘struggled’ with it, but I NEVER wanted to admit that I was addicted to it. Admitting that I was an addict seemed like the end of the world. I rationalized and used a thousand comparisons to make sure I never thought of myself that way.

I wasn’t scared of what I thought of myself. I was scared of what other people would think. I assumed that being an addict meant I would be judged, rejected, and shunned by those around me.

I lived in constant fear of this possibility. The fear of being labeled an addict increased my emotional instability and made me run to porn more often. Ironically, one of the only places I felt truly comfortable was when I looked at porn.

Some days, I only truly relaxed when I looked at porn

I don’t say all this to blame others for my fear of rejection. My problem didn’t come from the fact that people find porn revolting (it is by the way). My problem came from the fact that I was an addict and I thought admitting that to anyone would be the end of my social life.

I Thought I Was Disgusting

I used to experience this terror anytime I thought about sharing my porn addiction with anyone. Even telling my accountability partner and small group, made me shudder with fear. I thought deep down I was disgusting because porn is disgusting.

I’m not going to include how often I looked at porn back in the day. That’s not important. Some days I told myself that I wasn’t an addict because I went a little while without falling to temptation and other days I defended myself with the fact that others looked at porn more.

Analyzing how often you look at porn can either feel like a justification or condemnation. Either way, both are wrong. None of us should feel justified because we don’t look at porn very often and no one who has been saved by faith in Christ ever needs to worry about condemnation.

The point is that I looked at porn for years and I was straight up addicted to it. Even though I hated it, I relied on it to find a release and distract myself from the loneliness that I felt. Admitting to myself and to others that I was addicted proved to be one of the biggest turning points in my fight against porn.

We Call it a Struggle

We use the phrase ‘struggle with porn’ far too often. We use the phrase to describe anyone, including ourselves, who looks at porn even though they know it’s wrong. That isn’t actually a struggle.

If you fall into that category, I get that you feel an internal conflict. I get that you feel the pull of porn fight against the pull to obey God’s Word and do what is right. The simple existence of that internal conflict does not mean you are struggling with porn.

You only struggle with porn when you are actively fighting against it. I am sure that plenty of people felt morally convicted about slavery during the 1700-1800s. I am also sure that plenty of people in the South felt morally convicted during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

I would only use the word struggle to describe the people who did something about.

The same is true for pornography. The question isn’t whether you should feel morally convicted. The question is whether you want to actively fight against the pull of pornography.

Losing the Fight

My fight didn’t really begin until I admitted that I was addicted and that I couldn’t handle the problem on my own. Admitting to that second part was really hard. It’s really easy to justify not telling anyone because you think that you can deal with the problem on your own.

I kept this problem to myself for years and I learned that keeping it hidden will ensure that it continues or rears it’s head later on.

Neglecting to admit that you are addicted and thinking you can handle it by yourself will really hurt your ability to take your problem seriously. Just calling it a ‘struggle’ and thinking you will get past it one day will only make you sink deeper into your addiction. If you don’t actively fight against your porn problem, it will only get worse.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Don’t kid yourselves. Porn is not a casual problem that will get fixed once we get a girlfriend or wife. Our struggle against porn is a fight for our hearts, our marriages, and our families.

Way too many of us are losing this fight because we’re treating it like a bad habit and not the monster that it is. I get that admitting that porn is disgusting makes us feel like we’re disgusting. I really do understand the fear that comes when we take an honest look at our porn problem.

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The Power to Make us Clean

That fear will haunt you until you face it head on. Even cutting out porn from your life won’t solve the deep feelings of shame and fear that comes from looking at porn. We all have to face the ugliness of our sin and bring it before God and our community in order to experience Christ’s love and forgiveness.

Only Christ and His forgiveness can separate us from our sin and make us clean no matter how many ugly things we do. Even though you may do something disgusting, it DOES NOT mean His power can’t make you BEAUTIFUL. This powerful truth is not something we can just understand in our heads.

There’s a difference between being forgiven and really experiencing that forgiveness. Probably the biggest turning point came from me telling my small group and accountability partner about my porn problem and experiencing Christ’s grace and love through them. Even though Christ had already forgiven me, experiencing a physical representation of that love and forgiveness gave me more peace than I thought was possible.

That peace only came after confessing to God AND my small group.

I was in denial about my porn addiction because I worried that God and other people would judge me and look down on me. This proved to be the opposite of the truth. Bringing my addiction to the light has brought me more freedom than I thought was possible.

Even though I knew in my head that God loved me and that my friends accepted me for who I am, I had to see it in their eyes and feel His peace wash over my heart. Before then, the fear of coming to God and my community held me prisoner because I assumed they were waiting to judge me. I would’ve never imagined that God and my community were actually waiting to embrace me in love.

None of us will really believe that until we stop denying the problem, drop to our knees, and open our hearts to His forgiveness and love. I understand that is the definition of hard. I also know from personal experience that beautiful freedom is on the other side.

I fought the good fight, leaned back on God, and now I can yell from the rooftops that I’m free and you can have that freedom too.

You just have to keep your eyes on the one who loves you regardless of what you’ve done and what you’ll ever do and put one foot in front of the other. Jesus desperately wants to give you the healing and peace that you long for. You just have to ask for His help.

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Matthew Rial



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