[Note: On Fridays we post new rants from one of our writers, edited only for typos and spelling.This new series is not for those easily offended or for those who only like to play nice. So read this before you start posting your comments.]
Some Christians hate swearing. I am not one of them. I love a good swear word. Swear words are not the worst thing in the world. Swear words can really get to the core of how you are feeling. When no other word will do, a perfectly placed f-bomb can really get the point across.
I know some people are offended when someone swears but what actually offends me much more is “Christian-ese,” which is often a great example of what is NOT the best way to talk about porn addiction. (If you don’t know what Christian-ese is, here’s a quick beginner’s guide)
The thing about language that it is really important to remember is that words have meanings, but sometimes when those words are used over and over, they very quickly lose their meaning. Meanings can even change over time. Words can have incredible power for good and destruction, but sometimes we use them to protect ourselves.
Think about the word “Lust.” What does that really mean? When you say, “I struggle with lust,” what does that mean to you? How do you struggle with it? Do you not do it very well? I’ve never really struggled with it, personally. It just came naturally.
We want to talk about porn and we want to be brutally honest and finally get to the root of all of this, but we can wind up cloaking it in words that really don’t mean anything anymore. Case in point. Tell me how reading this next paragraph makes you feel:
“I like to look at pictures or clips of naked women having sex with men or with each other. It turns me on and I masturbate while I do it. I lie to the people closest to me, including my wife and kids, but I don’t really want to stop. Not really. I hate myself more every day and I sometimes wish that my life would just end. Or that I just didn’t exist anymore. Sometimes, I enjoy looking at images of bondage and clips of things that I wouldn’t in a million years dream of doing to another human being. But I can watch it and get the pleasure of pretending I have power over someone.”
Did it feel weird? Disturbing? Too honest? Not honest enough? Gross? Did it turn you on?
Now compare it to this paragraph:
“I struggle a bit with looking at stuff online that I shouldn’t. And I will act out when I do. Nobody knows. I don’t want to do this anymore because I feel so bad about myself when I do. I want to disappear. I look at some images that are worse than others, but it makes me feel good for a little while.”
Which of those did you prefer reading? How did it make you feel to read the first paragraph compared to the second paragraph?
No matter how it made you feel, sit with that feeling. What do you do with that? Ignore it or try and push it down?
The important thing is not to run and hide from that feeling. Both these accounts about someone who is clearly addicted to porn could be from the same person. The only difference is that one version of the person isn’t afraid to be brutally honest and hold anything back. You see, with porn, we cover up with words because we don’t want people to think we’re bad. At the same time and with the same breath, we are reaching out for help.
It’s like being stuck in a burning building and asking for help by saying, “It’s not really that hot, I’m fine. When you have a chance throw a ladder up here, I’d appreciate it, but don’t go to any bother.”
The reality is much different, but we don’t want people to look down on us. But screw that, I say! I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of pretending and covering up the real pain I’m in by cloaking my relentless addiction to porn (or social media, or food, or…..) by calling it “my struggle with viewing images online.”
We say we’re free, yet we don’t feel free enough to plainly explain what we’re experiencing.
We say we’re loved and accepted as we are, but we don’t experience that, which is why we water it down to gauge a reaction first.
We say we don’t want to look at porn every day, however….we look at porn every day.
The most important question isn’t, Do you look at porn? The real question is what are you afraid of if you were to talk plainly and openly? Don’t be afraid. No-one is going to reject you. You’ll create a sense of relief if you just say it as it is. Look at that fear, seek to understand that, and you will eventually get to the root of your “struggle with lust online.”
So swear if you need to! Get angry. Cry.
But don’t lie to yourself.
Because that’s exactly what’s keeping you stuck.
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