Home » Porn and the Christian Guy » Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 1 My Story

Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 1 My Story

One of the upsides of being a sinner is that when I have talked about my sin with others, I have found that they feel more comfortable discussing their own sin with me. There is a real grace to when we “confess our faults one to another.” I have many times talked about my struggles with pornography with people as the occasion permitted, but I have been reluctant to go public with my sin.

This has changed now. This is not a story of unbridled victory. It is the story of a foolish man who knows that porn is chocolate covered death. You know that dog that returns to his vomit, that’s me.

But this is not really my story alone. This is my wife’s story as a victim of my sin. It is my family’s story of not being really loved by me because I was too distracted by my sin. But most of all, it is Jesus’ story. I have often reflected that Jesus may love me, but only because he must have very poor taste. Praise God for God’s poor taste. I would be screwed otherwise.

I was an awkward teenager. I remember watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and I had a crush on Deanna Troy. It was innocent enough, but I started masturbating to thoughts of her. This was the middle 90s so the internet was really spreading throughout the US and became affordable for us living in East Tennessee. It turns out that the pornography industry had jumped on the web faster than just about anyone else and I accidentally discovered it.

Back then, there were no content controls on the web. To be honest, the ones that are there now are terribly ineffective. So I somehow knew I should hide what I had found. I kept looking on the web whenever I had the opportunity. I learned to be careful as well. There are ways of viewing a web page that made it not show up on the drop-down history in Internet Explorer. At times, I would have to panic when I saw an explicit site show up in the history and I would have to visit ten or fifteen legitimate sites to move it out of view. Even then, I was always nervous that someone would check further down the history and find the site I had visited.

Then, one day, disaster struck. Our internet stopped working. When my parents called the ISP they were told that we were “attacking sites.” My trying to hide a web history had caused our internet to get shut down. My conscience was killing me. Eventually, I fessed up to my parents what I had done. I’m not sure why I did, but I am thankful for it. That decision that the Holy Spirit pressed me to make was very possibly the difference between a life of secret sin and a life of living in grace. God was kind to me that day.

Problem solved. I learned my lesson and never looked at porn again! Not quite. This began a journey of sin, compulsive sin  repentance followed immediately by compulsive sin. There were breaks. I spent several summers on Teen Missions International working overseas. there was victory there. It helped not to have a computer. It helped even more to have a mandatory Bible time every morning. I would come home refreshed and ready to overcome my pornography problem at home only to have nearly certain defeat within a few months.

It amazes me how creative i can be when I want to hide porn from the people I care about. One time I recorded a movie on HBO (ironically, one of the Star Trek movies) with the purpose of recording the porn that would come on after the movie. Another time, I downloaded an erotic story to the computer and put it in some deep file in the computer for future retrieval. imagine if all of this creative energy had been spent at work or school.

But it was never worth it. I was paranoid and anxious about being discovered. I would enjoy it for a short time and then become afraid that where I kept it would be discovered. Then I would delete it or throw it away. I would repent. I would go back to the porn.

The toll on my spiritual life was profound. When I wanted the porn so bad, it comes to a point where life would be easier if God didn’t exist: if rules didn’t exist. I could do what i wanted with no guilt. I am convinced that many atheists are atheists because God told them when and who they can have sex with. It is easier to not believe in God and do what I want. In addition to this, when i would pray I felt an angry face looking down at me. My prayers may have made it past the ceiling, but I was sure they reached a God who was very, very angry at me.

One of the counter-intuitive parts of my journey is that I had to become the prodigal to understand the prodigal son. It is easy to say, “God will forgive anything if you bring it to him.” It is very hard to bring it to him. Does God really look down on me in my profound, compulsive, repeated, and ongoing sin and smile? Does he really love me in that moment?

To be sure, God was angry at my sin. my sin was not just an affront to him, it was me sticking my hand in the air and flipping God the bird! I stuck out my chest and stared into Heaven and said, “You don’t know how to make me happy. You don’t love me enough to give me what would really satisfy. If you really loved me, you would have naked women available for me to ogle when I want to.” I’m sure God was both angry and hurt deeply.

What is astonishing is not just the gravity of the sin, but that the cross is that much bigger. We have a habit as Christians of minimizing the sin to make the sinner feel better. It is a very bad habit. We need to say that the sinner was evil beyond words…and that God loved us enough to give us a rescue that more than overcomes that evil. What I meant for evil, God meant to teach me more about the cross.

My struggle continued for years. I got married and the problem went away for about a year. it helps to have a hot girl to look at and touch. But the hunger inside me returned. I remember my humiliation when Sam caught me looking at porn in our living room once. It was terrible not just because I knew it was wrong, but now it communicated to her that she was lacking somehow. God had given me a lovely and tender lady and now I was crushing her too.

After my struggle continued and I failed several times, Sam suggested that I go to a group for guys that struggle with porn. This was, of course, a ridiculous idea. I wasn’t that sick. Seriously, it’s not like I am a compulsive user of pornography that can’t ever seem to get it under control.

But that was me!

So I started attending a group of guys that meet at Ebenezer Counseling in Knoxville, Tennessee. If grace was a group, it would be in that small group of men. They were like me. They struggled compulsively with pornagraphy (and worse!). They were firm that I should not look at porn and gracious and redeeming when I did. The debt I owe to those men is profound.

For the first time in my life, I was beginning to experience some type of success in resisting porn. What was a times only going hours between looking at porn went to weeks between failures, then months. I was not just involved in helping my own porn problem, I was supporting other guys in their struggle. Finally, some hope.

The years since have involved failures and successes. I write this not as a man who has arrived. I will die as a man who is still weak against temptation to porn. In fact, I write this story in response to a failure. I looked at porn last on Monday, 9/9/13, at around 7 AM. Please, don’t regard me as a success story. Hopefully that will be the last time I look at porn in my life. John Newton said it well:

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am”

In conclusion, I want to publicly thank some people who have not been thanked publicly for their help and support.

Jesus, you forgave me. I’m not sure why you keep me around, but as long as you’re willing to have me, I am glad to stay with you!

Sam, I really couldn’t have asked for a better wife. You have suffered the most to my porn problems and have always been gracious to me. My debt to you is immeasurable. I love you.

Mom and Dad, parents don’t get the flashiest thank yous because the foundation of a person is not easy to see. Almost all the good in me was built on a foundation that lays hidden under what was built on top of it. The conscience that drove me to Jesus through those many years of struggle, you taught me that. The deep felt desire to honor the women in my life, you taught me that. Thank you….thank you.

Pastor James, you deserve a special Thank You as well. That boy that pestered you with questions. The one you went to lunch with at the Gondolier. That kid that probably irritated the crap out of you. He was paying attention. Behind Mom and Dad, you were the most influential person in my life. I once complained that I was a Timothy with no Paul, only to realize that I had a Paul all along. Thank you.

One final Thank You goes to the guys at the group at Ebenezer Counseling. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. God bless you guys. You changed my life. I don’t take your support for granted.

-Chip

For the sequel to My Story, see The Rest of the Story.

Up Next: Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 2 How Did We get Here?

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3 thoughts on “Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 1 My Story

  1. Pingback: Some More Administrative Details | Porn and the Christian Guy

  2. Pingback: Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 6, The Rest of the Story | Porn and the Christian Guy

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