Help from men who've been there.
After helping Leadership craft its survey on this subject, I had to admit to the editors that Internet pornography was a personal issue for me.
This was not a pleasant thing to share. You see, I'm a psychologist. It's my job to help people with addictions. And I'm a Christian. I was reared in a godly home with a father who never pursued this vice. But I, his son who knew better, did. I started with Playboy, moved on to movies, videos, and finally, the Internet.
For many years, I binged, going as long as two years without buying a magazine or renting a video, only to give in again. Then my job gave me access to the Internet. No longer did I have to risk buying pornography in person.
I was hooked. I tried to stop. I confessed-repented-sinned again and again. I was distressed but I didn't stop. Several months passed; I knew I had to tell somebody.
After much agonizing I called a colleague, Bill, and asked if we could meet for a cup of coffee. I prayed for God's help. I told Bill my problem. I asked if he would help me be accountable, if he would meet with me weekly and see if that helped. Confessing was painful. I knew Bill respected me professionally, and I risked losing that.
But God enabled me to pick as a partner a man in whom trust was justified. That was six years ago. We're still friends, we still talk and e-mail on occasion, though a job change ended our meetings.
For the past three years, I've been meeting with three guys from my church. We all have acknowledged sexual sins, and we all desire to serve God and be free. We're not perfect, we still struggle on occasion. But looking back we can see real progress; God is bringing us along, helping us to pursue holiness.
I'm convinced that it is a flat-out, radical passion to know and serve God combined with accountability to other men who can acknowledge their own failings that holds the key to breaking the cycle.
For pastors struggling with pornography, I would like to offer help. We can start the process with a confidential e-mail. And for those who have successfully wrestled their own sins and would be willing to share accountability with other strugglers, I would also appreciate your response.
For strugglers and those who want to help them.
Every Man's Battle
by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stokey with Mike Yorkey (WaterBrook, 2000)
The Sexual Man
by Archibald Hart (Word, 1994)
Hidden Dangers of the Internet
by Gregory L. Jantz (Shaw, 1998)
When Good Men Are Tempted
by Bill Perkins (Zondervan, 1997)
by Ted Roberts (Regal, 1999)
by Harry W. Schaumburg (NavPress, 1992)
Link Care Center
Short-term and long-term care in a clinical setting.
Dr. Louis and Melissa McBurney
Christ-centered therapy in a retreat setting.
Stone Gate Resources
Dr. Harry Schaumburg
11509 Palmer Divide Road
Larkspur, Colorado 80118
Counseling for Christian leaders, specializing in sexual issues, in ten-day retreats.
Referrals and Web sites
Pastoral Care Line
Focus on the Family
Colorado Springs, Colorado
877-233-4455 (toll free)
Focus on the Family operates this site for church leaders hooked on internet pornography. The site includes resources, referrals, and a list of Internet-filter services.
Sexaholics Anonymous operates a 12-step program on the AA model. This site provides self-assessment tests and meeting information.
A consortium of major Internet service providers offers guidance on safe surfing, filter systems, and reviews of careful providers.
NOTE: For your convenience, the following products are available for purchase:
- Every Man's Battle, by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker
- The Sexual Man, by Archibald Hart
- Hidden Dangers of the Internet, by Gregory L. Jantz
- When Good Men Are Tempted, by Bill Perkins
- Pure Desire, by Ted Roberts
- False Intimacy, by Harry W. Schaumburg
Copyright © 2001 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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