In this colossal issue of porn addiction in our world, those of us who claim the mantel of “Christ Follower” live in a unique place. We are a people called to love, forgive, and even heal the broken and addicted and ashamed. It is the way we were intended to live by our loving Creator – it is our purpose. Our sacred writings are even filled with teaching that indicates that if the world experiences us as hateful, then nothing we do or say matters at all. It’s all resounding gongs and busted guitar strings.
Yet this issue is just as bad, if not worse, inside the church as outside of it, and most of the world seems to experience a great deal of judgment emanating from our direction in regards to any and all issues of sexuality. It’s clear that we are missing something. (Tweet This!) So let’s get helpful—here are three simple steps any person can take toward actually and authentically loving someone who is struggling with a porn problem.
1) Understand that you can win the argument, or you can win their heart – but not both.
One of the above—the argument (whatever form that takes) or the person’s heart—must be tossed into the fire. If you are unable to release your argument in your attempt to win someone’s heart, then no matter what language you use, they will only hear judgment and condemnation, though you are claiming all the while to love them. Open your hands, take a deep breath, and release any responsibility you think you have to make that person change. (Tweet This!)
All of us Christians have been taught that sin, in all its forms, is a part of this human experience. We know that being addicted to control, work, or shopping is no better or worse than porn addiction, but we often feel, deep within our bodies, that porn addiction is a violation of a darker sort. But is it? Or is it really just a medication for a different wound? Our addictions—and how they manifest—say a lot about the various wounds we carry. Your obsession with perfection or work or control or sports is performing the same function your spouse’s or friend’s or pastor’s porn addiction is; it’s just serving a different wound. Coming to a place of love and understanding of these people is to have your eyes open to your own unconscious pain and how you are medicating it.
3) Understand that forgiveness is not a thing you do but a place where you arrive.
It’s okay to be angry. Allow that anger to have its say. And after you’ve raged and cried and moved it through you and have come to the other side of it, then steps 1 and 2 will begin to settle down inside of you. Forgiveness will start to wash over you. Your eyes will open and you will be able to see them clearly, just as we are seen by Christ: as human beings who, in their moral failings, are given the opportunity to find the truest essence of the Divine—unconditional and relentless love.
Trusting the porn addict is a topic for another day, but just know that we can find that, too, and even before that person is completely free. It has more to do with what we seek inside ourselves than it does with someone arriving at a moral standard that we perceive as “good enough.” Blessings on this sacred journey to all who seek to find out what love really is and to let it transform them.
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