Struggling with pornography as a young adult Christian
This one is a taboo, yet a pandemic among us. The detrimental effects of pornography can last for a lifetime, but the Good News is that even if we fell into it, by “His Stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5) therefore we are not hopeless. Pornography is an addiction that I suffered from for about 3 years before totally abandoning it by God’s Grace.
For the most part, to me, pornography felt like what apostle Paul describes in Romans 7:15 – I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do [which for me was to stop watching pornography] I do not do, but what I hate [watching pornography] I do. This is the effect of sin, particularly addiction of any kind: though you recognize that what you are doing is evil, you cannot seem to stop yourself from doing it. But Paul adds in Romans 7: 25 “Thanks to God who delivers me through Jesus-Christ our Lord.” I started watching pornography in my last year of high school when a cousin wanting to tease me showed me a video of two people having a coitus. It seemed like a joke at the time because I closed the window of the website and told my cousin to not do such things as we laughed it away. After weeks, my mind kept replaying the horrendous scene of what my eyes had seen. I had a phone, so late at night when everyone was asleep, when I was isolated and had no one to tell me what I was about to do would be damaging to me (like any other sin), I started watching porn. That was the beginning of a horrible cycle that lasted 3 years.
I would finish my data bundles and still find a way to get some more bundles to watch more. But every single time after watching it, I deeply regretted doing it. E.V.E.R.Y S.I.N.G.L.E T.I.M.E (Romans 7: 15). So, I eventually felt like I could not pray, worship or fellowship when I needed to, because of that regret and how I thought God would see me. This resulted in more isolation (the devil loves it – 1 Peter 5:8). I’d spend longer times watching it and then I would decide I had to “stay clean” (not watch porn) for many days to be worthy to enter God’s Presence – this is a lie that devil instils in us when we sin, to think that we are not worthy to be in God’s presence and to believe that it is solely by our own efforts that we can get out of any sort of addiction: sadly I did not know about this technique of his. God had been patient with me. I thought that watching porn only affected me – because I believed I am the only one watching- but many of those videos promote gender-based violence, sex trafficking and child abuse. For some strange reason a lot of people around me that I loved started suffering (sickness and life-threatening conditions) and I felt guilty. More importantly, watching pornography affected my standards for what a relationship should be about, it distorted my reality and most times after watching it I felt disconnected for many weeks at times. But I thank God for renewing my mind and removing the patterns of this world that porn promotes. Abandoning porn was a process God took me through. The first step was confessing and recognising it was a problem: this happened at a church camp where I found a prayer partner, we prayed. I then realized how sin hurt Jesus, whom I care about, so every time I felt the urge to watch porn, I would grab my bible, read it and pray. I no longer only regretted watching but I repented, this is called Godly sorrow. It is a work of the Holy Spirit in us: regretting is not enough, we must repent, meaning turn away from our sins and accept Jesus to lead us. I fell back many times, but though the devil claimed me Jesus prayed for me (Luke 22:31-32). By God’s Grace and by spending time with Him, I started to hate what He hates: sin. I started finding pornography disgusting, I hate porn, I have not watched it in 5 years and still counting. God hates the sin in our lives, but He loves us and still wants to fellowship with us.
In conclusion, God hates sin not only because He is Holy but also because it literally hurts His creation and bring a lot of suffering to us – and God takes no pleasure in seeing us suffering. God’s Word printed in our heart allows us to stay away from sin and to long for His Righteousness through Jesus-Christ. With regards to feeling like sin separates us from God, here is a verse, a truth against the lie of the enemy: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” You are Jesus-Christ’s, and He is always rooting for you.