Here at Eternal Perspective Ministries we receive numerous questions and comments from readers. Sometimes a tough question comes through that requires a longer and more in-depth response from a staff member or volunteer, as in this case. If you or someone you care about is struggling with pornography, I encourage you to read through this excellent letter from an EPM volunteer whom I love and respect.
I'm in some pretty serious trouble, and am not at all sure how to fix it.
I have only been a Christian for a few months, and it's been a life-changing experience. It's just amazing to be one of His servants and to be saved by God's grace and Christ's sacrifice.
The problem is this: I struggle with internet-based pornography. I know the normal thing to do would be to get rid of the computer entirely, or at the very least get internet service disconnected or install controls on my computer.
The problem is that I am totally blind. I don't even have light perception. So I have a couple of problems. One is that I'm not looking at images at all, though I do listen to videos sometimes. Mostly what I do is read stories though.
I was never taught anything about sex, and learned every bit of what I know from pornography. I started by forming the wrong pathways, and am now having to pray and ask God to help me rewire them, to give me the power to resist temptation. Inevitably though, it seems I end up giving into it, and then I have to ask for forgiveness all over again.
The problem with getting rid of my technology is that, being blind, it's basically how I access the world. Without my computer and phone, I cannot read the majority of books, can't read money, can’t use my phone to find out where I am when I'm walking alone, and many other things, not the least of which is read the Bible.
I have tried installing controls on our connection and giving the password to my wife. But even when the controls are active, I can always use my phone's hot spot and data plan to access the unprotected internet if I want to. I seem to enjoy finding ways around the controls, no matter how many of them I have my wife put in place.
I don't know what I would do without technology to assist me in my daily life as a blind person. I think I would feel crippled. I wish I could go back to those three months as a new believer when this wasn't an issue, when I was quite literally on a spiritual high.
Thanks for your letter and for expressing a desire to go back to those three months of “spiritual high” you enjoyed as a new believer when the temptation to lust wasn’t an issue. I can see you have tasted the true pleasure of being close to Jesus. There’s nothing like it and all the so-called pleasures of this world pale in comparison.
I can identify with you in many ways because I struggled for most my life with looking at porn. I’ve been freed up from that for the last 10 years and now the Lord is working on many other areas of my life to help me be close to Him and bring glory to Him. I know He can do that for you too.
One biblical principle I think applies comes from the words of Jesus. He said “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you” (Matthew 5:30). You say, “I don't know what I would do without technology to assist me in my daily life as a blind person. I think I would feel crippled.” It would be like cutting off your hand, wouldn’t it? To be without a hand is crippling but Jesus says there are more important things than hands.
In my case I lost my job because I was looking at porn where I worked. I shamed myself, my wife, my family and friends. The Lord brought me low, truly to the end of my rope. I always wanted to stop but never seemed to be able to until I was publicly disgraced and got serious about where I was as a believer in Jesus.
It wasn’t until I was broken that I was motivated to do something. I got into an accountability group at a church in our area where we met weekly. I did some of the things you did with passwords controlled by my wife. Every time I wanted to use the computer I had to ask my wife to log me in and I would only access the computer when she was there.
One thing that really helped me was I found an excellent counselor. In our first session he asked me what part of looking at porn goes with being a follower of Jesus. I said absolutely no part. Then he said, “We need to find out why you do things you don’t want to do.” So we started the hard work of looking at the why. I’m still tempted to lust and fantasize but I don’t get into porn anymore even though I’m on the computer alone now with no password blocks.
In your case you have a unique situation. You say, “I seem to enjoy finding ways around the controls.” The Lord God has placed a major control in your life by eliminating your sight. So you literally can’t look after a woman to lust after her. However, you have found a way to get around even that control.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Find a pastor or accountability group of believing men you can meet with weekly.
- Consider “cutting off the hand” that leads you to stumble. Get rid of devices which make it easy to sin: computer, phone, games, etc. They aren’t necessities. You can still get the Bible and good books on CDs. I’m sure you can use your cleverness to help figure out ways to fill your life with good things.
- Find a counselor with experience in this area. A good counselor can be worth his weight in gold but a poor one won’t help much. Work hard at finding out why you would do things you don’t want to do.
- Seek the Lord with everything in you. I get up every morning and, after brewing a cup of coffee, spend time in the Word. I ask God to show me what He is like. And I invite Him to be in every part of my life. And when I sin I go right back to Him. Two of my favorite verses are:
Psalm 51:3 “…my sin is always before me.”
Romans 8:1 “…There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I hope some of this is helpful. I will pray that down the road you will be able to say with Fanny Crosby, the blind hymn writer:
Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.