I’m sure so many in churches today were reeling from shock in the aftermath of scandal and your involvement in it. You may have resigned as Pastor, minister, and other church leader or are expected to after the list came out and someone realized you were on it. Or you may be waiting for that hammer to drop. Undoubtedly some of you are too embarrassed to attend and vowed never to return. If you haven’t read my previous post on the appropriate reaction for the church, please do so.
You may feel the trouble at home even more keenly than at church. It may seem completely hopeless to repair.
I want to convey to you that even though things are very hard right now, there is hope. A great light shines at the end of this tunnel. With those who love God, we are promised he will make good out of all things (Rom 8:28) – even our greatest sins. I know he has mine. And now that some light has been shed in the darkness, there is a much better atmosphere for real change.
Believe me, I know it’s hard. I struggled with an addiction to Playboys for more than thirty years. Though I admit, there was much more giving in than struggle. It was my dirty little secret. I was looking at those magazines even at ACU, where I majored in Bible and minored in N.T. Greek and continued both in graduate school. At 19, I got married, sure that this struggle would end, yet it continued. It continued in full time ministry. Oh, I felt terribly conflicted and wearied of the constant cycles of indulgence, confession and repentance – only to feel helpless to start the cycle all over again in a few weeks or months. I got out of full time ministry but continued being very involved with churches…and the cycles continued. It was like the most extreme roller coaster, one I could never get off of.
I eventually found myself in a place I never dreamed I would be – having had an affair, filed for divorce, and remarried. Pornography didn’t cause this destruction alone, but it certainly contributed. With the new marriage, at first pornography was out of sight, out of mind. But with short separations, I found myself getting back in the Playboys, again!
This time as I threw the magazines out, I got truly desperate. In tears, I literally begged God for help. There was little point in my trying without something miraculous. Read the association of desperation in Luke 11 with asking, seeking, and knocking. I don’t believe the Lord was being petty, withholding real victory ‘till I begged hard enough. He merely was waiting for me to be in a place of full cooperation, ready to receive his amazing gift of victory. Perhaps you are there now.
Plus, I vowed to do anything God wanted me to, whatever it takes. Because of this He shone more light on my secret life. I spoke out publically at men’s retreats and Bible studies and privately with two men who shared my struggle, getting real. We met weekly for a spiritual review. God called me to get honest and admit my sin, the extent its hold had on me and the damage it had done in my life. I urged men (and myself) to get serious with God about sin. I prayed for them and with them and received support, encouragement and prayers in return.
I became thirsty for God though his word. I wasn’t in college anymore but I was studying many hours – almost exclusively, for half a year – on sin, the enemy, the world and especially on victory and the armor of God. Incrementally, a good amount of victory came after the desperation. I wasn’t buying the magazine anymore or even picking them in the store and rarely messed up on the computer. And yet it was not enough, Kent.
So, Caught, it’s the perfect time to get started in your recovery. 1. Begin by confessing to God – admit it all. Ask for forgiveness and his help. Tell God you will do what you need to do. 2. Pick someone you trust and share about it. 3. Get rid of any inappropriate relationship(s) and porn, start with committing to it for today.