Posts Tagged ‘pornography’

Can I borrow your laptop?

Suppose, on the spot, I asked to borrow your laptop for the evening. Would you let me? Or upon my request, would you begin to mentally scroll through the web history?  Would you kind of hem-haw around to buy time to go erase your web history before you loaned it (by the way, that actually hides nothing)?

Or how about this one…. What if you die tonight?  And your wife, or kids, or friends, or parents, later surf your computer to reminisce about you and probe to discover what interested you and brought you joy? What would they discover?

I think about that a lot with my own laptop. But I was especially confronted with the thought when I ran across a New York Times article about Osama bin Laden’s porn stash on his computers. Dr. Albert Mohler has a great blog about the hypocrisy of Osama bin Laden in relation to the porn stash discovery. Read here.

The thought of what a friend, staff, my sons, my wife, or volunteer(s) at my church could find on my laptop holds me greatly accountable when temptation comes over me. Christie has free access to my computer, as does my administrative staff, and volunteer tech guys at my church. Of course, accountability is only a band-aid because I could secretly access another computer. More than accountability, I long to worship the Lord Jesus with my eyes, love Him with all my heart, and do the same with my wife, kids, and church family.

Do you?

How’s your heart? Do you give family and friends free access to your computer? If not, what are you hiding? I encourage you to go ahead and confess and repent to the Lord what’s on your computer. And then, confess and repent to your wife and/or friends.

It’s better to expose the stash now, rather than the stash expose you later.

Porn’s bait: Just one more look.

“The crystal-meth of sexual obsession is internet sex” (13 Ways, p. 45).  Would you believe that porn addiction is more powerful than drug and/or alcohol addiction?

“When pornography is combined with sexual release, as in masturbation, and the naturally occurring [endorphins] are set free all over the brain, this is a high reward for the brain. Because it is not a chemical imitation, it’s even more addictive.” (1)

If that addictive, is one more look truly worth it? In addition, what measures can you take to avoid this addiction? Porn is not the ultimate issue. Masturbation neither. Lust is the issue.  So what do you do with the lust?  The Bible says, “Kill it” (Colossians 3:5). Put a shotgun to lust’s head and pull the trigger.  In other words, deprive the lust of its power. And this could lead back to porn among many other things (movies, magazines, conversations, etc). What is empowering your lust? Whatever that is, get rid of it, avoid it, even run for your life from it (1 Corinthians 6:18)!

And ultimately, keep this in mind:

“When the ‘one more look’ drags you toward the sexual sin, take ten long looks at the cross of Jesus. Think about Jesus’ stunning sacrifice, His great love, His awesome freedom, and His gripping grace gifted to you when He saved you by His death on the cross. You are free from addiction and free from struggle and free from sin because He beat it all on the cross. You are no longer a slave to your lusts. You are a son of His love and glory. So embrace the truth and live it by constant repentance and faith” (13 Ways, p.54)

For more on this subject, check out chapter 5 in the free download of the 13 Ways to Ruin Your Life book.

What practical ways can you share with our readers of how to kill lust in the heart (deprive it of its power)? Please share in the comments section. Thanks!

(1) “Brain Pathways” by Douglas Weiss, PhD.

Should a woman be her husband’s accountability partner?

The below is a blog from my friend, Luke Gilkerson. Luke is the general editor and primary author of Breaking Free, the corporate weblog of Covenant Eyes.

I highly recommend the Covenant Eyes and the Breaking Free blog! Awesome stuff.

Stellar article below! Be sure in click on the link to the resources and authors. Great material out there.

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With the advent of movements like Promise Keepers, accountability has been a buzzword in male Christian community. Men are regularly encouraged by friends, pastors, and mentors to find good accountability partners in their struggle against lust, masturbation, and pornography. But often women will ask me this question: Should I be my husband’s accountability partner in these areas?

Sometimes a husband believes his wife would make an ideal accountability partner. After all, she is around him all the time and knows him in ways no one else does. She is his confidant, friend, lover, and soul-mate. Why not throw “accountability partner” into the mix?

The Pain of Knowing

Our answer to this question centers on the definition of an “accountability partner.” What is accountability, really? Recently I asked Joe Dallas this question. Joe is the author of The Game Plan: The Men’s 30-Day Strategy for Attaining Sexual Integrity and speaks widely on the subject of sexual brokenness. He said,

“I don’t personally believe in a wife being a husband’s accountability partner, but I do believe a husband is accountable to his wife—and that’s not a contradiction in terms. An accountability partner on a week basis asks you: ‘Did you look at pornography? Did you masturbate? Did you flirt? Did you allow yourself to entertain unclean thoughts? Did you handle your sexuality well this week?’ If the wife is the one asking those questions, the husband is going to be imposing on his wife unnecessary pain and detail.”

I asked Amy Smalley the same question. Amy and her husband regularly counsel couples through their Marriage Restoration Intensive programs. She believes when a husband exclusively looks to his wife to confess his sexual struggles, this only serves to trigger a myriad of false beliefs in her: I’m not satisfying enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not good enough for him, etc. Amy said,

“The reason why it’s not best for her to be the accountability partner is because that directly affects her. There’s a message: when my husband views pornography, whether he does it intentionally or not, he will say, ‘Oh, it has nothing to do with you’—you can say that, but that’s not how she feels. She feels like, ‘This has a direct reflection on me.’”

Fred Stoeker, co-author of Every Man’s Battle, gave me the same answer. He believes the sort of raw details discussed in accountability conversations could be very hurtful to a marriage: “The wife is going to be shocked how many times he stumbles as he tries to win this battle, and it will begin to dishearten her. . . . It will actually hurt the relationship instead of strengthen it.”

While Fred knows of some wives who are able to not be disheartened by their husband’s temptations and sins, he says it is a rare thing.

The Need to Trust

That being said, healthy marriages must be built on honesty and transparency. Jesus, the bridegroom of the church, was pleased to reveal to us everything His Father taught Him (John 15:15). Jesus has given to us His own Spirit who shares with us “the deep things” of God’s heart (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). Husbands, we must follow our Master’s example. We must be open and honest as we share our hearts with our wives.

Joe Dallas mentioned this issue in my conversation with him. While a husband does not need to belabor his wife with intricate details of his sexual struggles, a man should volunteer information to his wife about how he is doing in the fight to stay pure. If there has been a breach of trust in the past, or if he has given into habitual lust, she needs to see the fruit of repentance in her husband. She needs a window to peer into his soul so she can see his diligent faithfulness to her. Trust is built only when he builds a track record of trustworthiness.

In my conversation with Dr. Mark Laaser, he affirmed, “The husband is accountable to the wife to stay sexually pure,” but then quickly added, “but I don’t think the wife should be a part of his network such that she’s engaged at the same level other men are going to be. . . He should have a network of men he is able to call.”

Couples need to dialogue about what sort of details she needs to hear and what details should be reserved for other guys who are helping him in his struggle.

The “Need” to Know

Dr. Laaser also pointed out the slippery slope of spousal accountability. Women have often found “they sometimes get into controlling their husband’s behavior.” Amy Smalley was also very attuned to this tendency in women—when the need to build trust turns into an obsessive curiosity. These obsessive thoughts often feed unforgiveness or a desire to control or manipulate. Joe Dallas told me when a wife is engaged in accountability on a deep level with her husband “it puts the wife in a rather maternal position with a husband,” which he thinks is very unhealthy for a marriage.

What is the difference between helpful honesty that encourages trust and unhelpful probing that leads to tension? The difference is in the heart of the wife. Amy Smalley says this is a matter of serious prayer: God, reveal my motives. Tell me when want to know so I can be confident in my husband’s repentance and when just want to feed my bitterness or control him in some way.

The Need for Male Community

When the struggle is with Internet pornography, many people have made use of accountability software, such as Covenant Eyes. When all of your Internet activity is monitored and detailed reports are sent to others who have agreed to stand with you in fight for purity, this makes an enormous difference in how we use the Web.

I work for Covenant Eyes, and recently we surveyed some of our members and found that about 30% of them have their accountability reports emailed to their wives. For many couples this is a token of real transparency and honesty, as if to say, “My life is completely open to you. I have no secrets. I love you.”

Still, many guys have the same report emailed to other men in their accountability network. These are the men who hear the nitty-gritty details: the lustful glances, the fantasies, and the temptations we face on a regular basis in our sex-saturated world. This is the brotherhood that encourages us to flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace in our world and our relationships (2 Timothy 2:22).

In my conversation with Amy Smalley she said how assuring this can be for a wife, to know her husband is meeting regularly with another guy or a group of men who are engaged in the battle with him. It is freeing to a woman when she knows and trusts the men who surround her husband with encouragement, prayer, and correction. Amy’s message to husbands is for them to find accountability among other brothers:

“Covenant Eyes is a great way for men to be accountable to other men. That way, first of all, there’s some compassion there, because it’s another man who’s hard-wired the same way that you are. And two, it someone that you feel has a connection and that will love you no matter what but really kick you in the pants when you need to, and talk to you the way a man needs to talk to another man.”

If you want to listen to these conversations, please listen to our podcast on the Covenant Eyes blog.

Luke Gilkerson is the general editor and primary author of Breaking Free, the corporate weblog of Covenant Eyes. Luke has a degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Bowling Green State University and is currently working on his Master of Arts in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary. Before working at Covenant Eyes he spent six years as a Campus Minister. He lives in Michigan with his wife Trisha and two sons.

Video Blog: GRACE OVER PORN (Not Behavior Modification!)

This is in my video blog “More to be said” series. In this little series I share thoughts that I didn’t get a chance to share in most interviews about my book 13 Ways to Ruin Your Life. I hope you find it encouraging whether you’re dealing with sexual sin or any sin.

I would like your feedback too. Is it better for you if I write these thoughts or do you like the video blog better or does it matter?  Please let me know if you get a chance in the comment section. I truly want this to serve you, the reader/watcher.

Video blog: “More to be said: Beetles”

Post 700 Club Interview

What Really Matters–Forgiveness & Family

This is the fourth blog within the last couple of hours or so that I’ve written in regards to TODAY’S Matt Lauer’s interview this morning with former New York State’s Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, about his sexual affair and exposure with a high-priced call girl. See the previous three blogs for more info.  Actually, I’d like you to read those before you read this blog if you have the time.

One last word in regards to this little series based off the Lauer and Spitzer interview:

Forgiveness.  As a Christ follower, we understand the word as “Grace.”

Here is what Spitzer said in regards to his family’s response since he was exposed: ‘I’m a very fortunate guy…. I have a spectacular wife, three daughters who are wonderful. I’ve been forgiven. There are moments when you realize those are the things that matter.’

In terms of his family relationships he found grace. I pray for those who are exposed in sexual sin can be granted the same such grace by their family. I’ll deal with this more in a moment.

But here’s the key note:  We have a spectacular Savior. In Him—Jesus—we find grace, forgiveness, and restoration.  He, above all else, is what and whom truly matters.  In Him you are not hopeless and helpless in sexual sin. And you are not a pervert for crying out loud.  You are not beyond grace.  The grace of God has no end in Christ.  To know this, believe this, empowers you to conquer sexual sin.

For example, one of the motto’s of my life is the following: “I don’t have to obey to be accepted and loved by God. But because I am radically accepted and loved by God in Christ I want to obey Him.”  That’s what grace is and does.

Do you believe it? Will you slow down, retreat, pause, reflect, and meditate on it.  You don’t have to perform. You don’t have to impress God with how long you can go without looking at porn. He’s actually not impressed. He’s impressed when you have faith in what He’s done for you and who you are in Him.  He’s delighted when out of His grace, by faith, you live it out in obedience—fleeing sexual sin.

I’m hoping I’ve made sense. I deal with this more at length in 13 Ways.

For those whose husband, father, mother, wife has been in sexual sin and confessed and repented of that sin…. here’s my encouragement: If Eliot Spitzer’s family grants grace, without any mention of our Savior, how much more should we as Christ followers then, who have experienced God’s grace, grant grace to our loved one who is seeking forgiveness and help for his or her sexual sin?

In other words, can you forgive? Not just forgive with words, but with attitude, perseverance, commitment, joy?  And I don’t mean forgetting the sin and trauma it brought you and your family. Healing will need to happen. Biblical Christian counseling will need to be sought.  Trust will need to be re-established. Relational joy will need to be cultivated. But isn’t it worth the work for the sake of your marriage and family? And what a testimony it would be to Christ!

Spitzer’s last statement nailed it earlier in this blog. He said,  “There are moments when you realize those are the things that matter.” Those things that matter? Forgiveness (Grace in Christ) and Family.

Ignoring the obvious

In a recent interview with the TODAYs Matt Lauer, Eliot Spitzer shared about his ongoing sexual fling with a high-price call girl ($4300 a session) and the trauma of his exposure.

In the interview Lauer asked if he ever thought about eventually getting caught.  Spitzer replied,  “Getting caught… ‘crossed my mind, but like many things in life, you ignore the obvious at a certain moment because you simply don’t want to confront it.’”

Did you catch it? He said, “[L]ike many things in life, you ignore the obvious…”.  Interestingly how Proverbs 7 deals with that very truth. Indeed, a whole chapter out of the 13 Ways book deals with “ignoring the obvious.”

King Solomon states, “Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent…. WIth persuasive words she led him astray and she seduced him with her smooth talk.  All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter…little knowing it would cost him his life”
(Proverbs 7:10, 21-23).

In the interview Spitzer continues, ‘This is something that has caused excruciating pain to [my wife] and my daughters…. It’s something that I carry with me every day because of the pain I’ve caused. And so I’ve tried to balance: The obligation to speak is vast but also the pain to my family has been enormous.’

Spitzer ignored the obvious. And it cost him dearly.

Evaluate your life. What sin are you ignoring?  Chances are that anyone reading this blog is not spending $4300 on a call girl. Chances are that he or she is probably spending time, and potentially money, on pornography. Porn is “loud and defiant” in its display.  It’s intent—or the producers and porn CEO’s intent— is to seduce you and addict you and get your money. And all the while it is leading you like an ox to the slaughter.

In the words of Eliot Spitzer, sexual sin can bring excrucitating pain to your family.

And it can ruin your life.

Porn Addict Pastor Admits Struggle on CNN

My friend, Ed Howell, passed this on to me this morning. Very interesting. And very encouraging that this pastor came forward about his addiction. Hope you find some encouragement and/or hope through it. Would love to know your thoughts. Also, I haven’t read his book but when I do I’ll share my thoughts on it. If/when any of you read it I would like to know your thoughts.

Embedded video from CNN Video

Porn and Glory

In Isaiah 6, Isaiah saw an epic vision of God.  His response? “Woe is me, for I am ruined! I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King” (Isaiah 6:5)

He saw God’s greatness and was gloriously ruined.  Upon beholding God his first awareness was his uncleanness.  He was impure.  He spoke of his lips.  So can we.  In terms of porn, one could declare “I am a man of unclean eyes, and I live among a people of unclean eyes.” But that which moves us to such confession and repentance is having a grand vision of God.

In the fleeing and fighting of sexual temptation, we must pray for eyes to see the King, and a brokenness and reverence before Him. Pastor and Author, Gordon MacDonald, publicly admitted to adultery in 1987.  I recently read a quote by him that is fitting. He said, “The most costly sins I have committed came at a time when I briefly suspended my reverence for God.  In such a moment I quietly (and insanely) concluded that God didn’t care and most likely wouldn’t intervene were I to risk the violation of one of His commandments.”

Grab a Bible, or click here, and read Isaiah 6:1-8.  Meditate on the sights and sounds of Isaiah’s encounter. Why did God put Isaiah 6 in your life today? Do you respect and revere Him?  Why or why not?  What must you do, or better yet what must God do in you?  How does having a grand vision of God and reverence for Him empower you to conquer sexual sin?

By the way, note Isaiah 6:6-8 especially.  He’s a great God of grace in the Old Testament too.