Power over Porn

Not long ago I had the privilege of having a deep conversation with a young man who was attending an excellent local Bible school.

What made this conversation unusual was that this young man began telling me about an addiction to pornography that had gripped him since he was nine. He was one of the oldest children in a large family, so hiding his addiction had been no small feat, but he managed it.

bound-with-chainsSometime in his teens, the grip of the porn was so enslaving that he began to want to be free. He tried, he prayed, but it still gripped him like chains around his wrists and ankles. While he kept the happy face for outsiders, he sank into deep and angry depression, especially angry at God for not freeing him. The depression grew so deep and dark that he began to contemplate suicide. As the addiction continued unabated, the suicide contemplation became a suicide plan. He wasn’t sure when he was going to carry it out, but he was going to do it.

Then he went to the Bible school where he and his first-year classmates studied Romans together. He learned especially through Romans 6 who he was in Christ and the power that was available to him through Christ’s victory over the old man.

Something clicked. The chains fell away. He was freed from porn.

That was around last February, so it’s getting close to a year. He’s free, he’s transformed, he’s unafraid to tell his story, and he’s passionate to help others.

But one thing he said really stuck with me.  He told me he was working on learning how to relate to women as people instead of objects.

Actually, that didn’t just stick with me. It punched me in the stomach.

I talked with him for a while about that and gave a few suggestions. But then I said, “You know, I want to ask you to imagine a scenario for a minute. What if you had met and married one of these sweet girls at this Bible school, but you hadn’t gotten free from porn and had carried that addiction into your marriage. See if you can imagine your life as a porn addict ten or twenty years into marriage. All that anger and depression and those suicidal thoughts and feelings could harden inside you and you could start taking it all out on your sweet wife and children.”

He said, “I can absolutely see what you’re saying. That’s probably what would have happened.”

I told him I was telling him that—with a lot of passion—because I know so many people in these sorts of situations. So many abusers have, as part of the complete picture of their abuse, a significant and often very long-standing addiction to pornography. One abuser told his wife that he had talked with many, many, many men (his context would have been men of the church) who all acknowledged that they were involved with porn too, implying that his own involvement with it—since childhood—wasn’t nearly as big a deal as she was making it out to be.

No wonder abuse within the church is such a significant problem.

On the one hand, if this young Bible school student can serve as an example, a porn addiction can send a person into dark and angry depression.

On the other hand, it presents women as objects.

This is a combination that will act like gasoline on the fires of an entitled mind.

There is power to be freed from porn, through the Lord Jesus Christ. For those who desire freedom and come to Christ to break free, there is great hope.

But because many decide instead to wear the “sheep” mask while they prey on the sheep, there is also much to be done for the rest of us. For us, power over porn may lie in helping some escape and find their own freedom in Christ, from the darkness of abuse.

He is the Rescuer from all kinds of enslavements.

What does it mean to “serve the church”?

serveIn a small group my husband and I were visiting, the topic of “serving the church” came up. Tim and I both began thinking about the people the Lord had brought into our lives, listening to their stories, talking to them about the goodness of God, helping them with day-to-day needs, and reaching out to them in the down and dirty places of life.

But discussion in the group took a different direction.  They began talking about Continue reading

Why do they tell you to “surrender rights” that aren’t even rights at all?

One way abuse victims are taught to give up their rights in Christian circles is by teaching them to give up things that are presented as rights but aren’t really rights at all. (So then they’ll say, “Oh, well, yes it’s obvious I should give that up,”  and then the conclusion is drawn that they should give up RIGHTS. But that’s wrong.) This is from Untwisting Scriptures, a few bits in the middle of the section about NOT surrendering your rights.

– Don’t call them rights when they’re really just desires

Revive our Hearts founder Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth says,

All too often, I find myself annoyed and perturbed when things don’t go my way. A decision someone makes at the office, a rude driver on the freeway, a long line at the checkout counter, a thoughtless word spoken by a family member, a minor offense (real or perceived) by a friend, someone who fails to come through on a commitment, a phone call that wakes me when I have just fallen off to sleep—if I am staking out my rights, even the smallest violation of those rights can leave me feeling and acting moody, uptight, and angry.[1]

Nancy talks about “wanting things to go my way.” But that’s not rights. That’s desires. The relatively insignificant desires she names were never her rights to begin with. And she never even tries to grapple with the issue of Continue reading

In the messy middle of the story

At the beginning of the book of Ruth, Naomi was bitter. No doubt about it. She said she was bitter. She changed her name to “Bitter.” (That’s what “Mara” means.) Preachers and writers often point to her as an example of sinful bitterness.

These are some thoughts from the chapter in Untwisting Scriptures called “I must be bitter.”

When many preachers and writers talk about Naomi they say that she—and you—should instead be like Joseph in the book of Genesis. After he was betrayed by his brothers, he said, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

But there are a couple of problems with this way of thinking. For one thing, when we look at the word bitter elsewhere in the Bible, we can see that the majority of the time, it’s talking about grief.  Naomi was grieving. (Untwisting Scriptures talks about what grief really is and how a lot of people don’t understand it and don’t want to acknowledge it.)
naomi-in-the-middle

And there’s another important point we should observe about Naomi in contrast to Joseph. Continue reading

Behind the scenes at “Untwisting Scriptures”

This post is also being published today at A Cry for Justice.

Hello friends! My newest book has been released on Amazon! I’m glad it’s being released in Domestic Violence Awareness month, since in Christian circles, domestic abuse is almost always interwoven with spiritual abuse. Click on the image to see it on Amazon:

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Click on this image to see the book on Amazon.

I wish I could sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with each of you individually while we talk over some of the Scriptures that have been twisted to keep you or someone you care about in a place of manipulation and control, and think together about Continue reading

Do you see how significant this is?

domestic-violence-1Safe Harbor is a local nonprofit here in the upstate of South Carolina, dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse in a variety of ways.

Until recently, those “ways” didn’t include a whole lot of interaction with evangelical and fundamentalist churches. Until recently, when a person coming out of abuse wanted to find a conservative church that was safe, Continue reading

New book on the way: “Untwisting Scriptures”

I’ve been hiding in a hole lately, working on the manuscript for this book. While I’ve been working on it, I’ve neglected many emails and most of my housekeeping.

But I’m excited to say it’s almost done! I’ll be addressing topics I’ve addressed in blog posts before, but completely reworked, simplified, and expanded. I had to take a hard look at teachings that had been given by respected speakers and writers.

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It’s a short book so as not to overwhelm readers, with familiar topics including  Continue reading

Reflections on my fifty-ninth birthday: a tale

“You have said you are Incapable?” He stood tall, looking down on her.

“Yes,” she stammered. “That’s my name.” She pulled a wisp of hair from her eye where it had stuck because of her tears.

He responded simply. “Your new name is Warrior.”

Her eyes darted up to His. Was that kindness she saw there, or was He laughing at her?

“It doesn’t fit,” she replied with a slight shrug and looked down. How could His garment be so white, so shining?

breastplate of righteousnessIt appeared that He hadn’t heard her. From out of somewhere, He produced Continue reading