Over the last year, I feel like God has continued to prompt me to do something – anything – about pornography. What this next generation – my daughters generation – faces is like nothing we have ever seen before. The advent of smart phones and the endless supply of twisted material available to younger and younger kids can warp a child’s sense of sex and intimacy before they are even old enough to date. Wives are left feeling betrayed, unable to measure up and terribly alone as their husbands struggle to regain control over their lives. Some wives give up and decide to join in as they look to porn to add excitement to their sex life rather than intimately reveal their own desires.
So I keep knocking on the door of my pastors.
What are we going to do?
Do you realize how big this problem is and how big it is going to be?
How can we extend grace and mercy to those that are in bondage?
How can we support the wives that are completely alone?
This is not a problem for just those that are struggling, but for all of us. It affects our daughters, our sons, our grandchildren and our friends. It changes the fabric of our society and how this awesome gift of sex is viewed. It changes how men view and treat women. It will not just go away and no one else will fix it. We must all be part of the solution….
So what is the solution?
Here are a few of my ideas …..
1. Church must become a hospital for broken people and broken marriages. Our churches are filled with “perfect” people that wouldn’t dare let anyone know what is really going on in their life. Marriages fall apart right in front of our eyes while no one has a clue they are even struggling. We continue to put on our mask and when things really get bad, we disappear because church would be the last place that we share our mess.
Similar to anything, a shift in the fabric of the church would most easily happen from the top down. If pastors would honestly share their struggles then we would follow. But you cannot change your pastor, you can only change yourself. We all struggle with something – pride, judgement, porn, anger, depression….What if we actually talked about those things in small group rather than pretending like everything is ok? Would it help someone else open up? Do we really believe in the power of prayer and that God can transform us? Are we willing to see each others mess and walk along side each other – praying, encouraging, holding accountable and pointing back to God?
2. Get porn out of the closet – Secrets hold so much power over us. I have vivid memories from second grade. Two boys knocked on my door to take me up into the hills behind my house so we could show each other our body parts and whatever else. There was no penetration, there was a little penis pressing against my body. Until 5 years ago when I tearfully shared with my husband, this secret of self imposed shame held amazing power over my life. Speaking it out loud and praying over it with my husband brought freedom.
Getting porn out of the closet will weaken the power that it holds. Speaking it out loud, praying about it out loud, is part of the process of being set free. Bring it into the light and start talking about it, because statistically at least 50% are viewing it.
3. People must be educated about what porn is – How we react to our loved ones that struggle with porn can either perpetuate the cycle of shame and acting out, or it can start the ball rolling towards freedom and recovery. Most people begin viewing porn at a young age and assume when they get married they will no longer need it. But porn is not about intimacy, it is about coping and escaping. Porn is designed to suck you into an imaginary world where there are no problems and you are the center of the world. Husbands do not view porn because they don’t love you or think you are beautiful. Porn is a vice of the devil to create division and isolation. Have compassion for people in bondage and encourage them in how much more God has for them.
4. When you are married, everything is a couples problem -even Porn. I may be an idealist, but if marriage is being fully known to each other, than shouldn’t we understand each others struggles. Could we celebrate triumphs together and help navigate around triggers? Could wives realize it is not a battle against your husband, but a battle against the enemy to face together. Could wives be part of reintroducing intimacy that includes a sacred, holy celebration of becoming one?
I know that we are not responsible for our spouses actions and ultimately we cannot make them change. What you can do, is be the wife that God created you to be – that means extending mercy, forgiveness and grace. That means challenging your husband to be the man that God created him to be. That means calling out the truth even when it is hard. That means figuring out what God’s design for sex is, even while living in a world where it has been very twisted.
The psalms are filled with passages of praising God, but also of asking God to destroy the enemy. Pornography is the enemy. It seeks to separate people from relationship with Him and with others, and it cultivates isolation. It divides marriages and pits husband against wife . It twists the most intimate of acts that God intended to represent our relationship with Him. Pornography is the opposite of God’s design. Shouldn’t we combat pornography with God’s design – being fully known?
Be fully known in church and become a place for the broken. Be fully known with friends and share your struggles with porn or whatever else. Be fully known to your spouse – the good and the bad. Rise up to be the person that God created you to be and extend grace and mercy and forgiveness. Depend on God for all that you need because He is your only hope.