Thomas's Story

 

It’s safe to say that many people have some sort of history or relationship in regards to engagement with pornography. It may be a sad reality but it is the reality and for too long people, myself included, have felt guilt shame and fear around this issue which has stopped us from sharing with each other the true extent of the problem. The lack of honest conversation around this issue fuels the problem and keeps it in the dark for too long and causes pain for all.

For me, my first exposure to pornography wasn’t traumatic as such or overly alarming in anyway. I was maybe in my early teens (which nowadays I’d imagine is relatively late on) and got hold of a naked magazine that one of my friends had. As I got older, access to pornography got easier and easier as the Internet became the norm. When I moved away to university I, for the first time, had my own laptop with unlimited and unrestricted access to the World Wide Web and from there my use of pornography skyrocketed.

While at the same time as looking at more and more pornography I was also engaging more and more with my local church and growing in my relationship with the Lord. I know that might sound crazy but it maybe shouldn’t because it’s something that happens time and time again with Christians: God moves despite of our sin - and this was certainly true for me.  Despite my ongoing use of pornography God was drawing me into a closer and deeper relationship with Him through involvement at my local church.

Throughout university I tried a lot to stop looking at pornography. I had accountability with close friends each week to talk about if I had managed to go a week not looking at porn. I put restrictions on my laptop which were password protect by Christian friends. I prayed. I fasted. I asked God to help but time and time again I’d find myself back looking at pornography.

If I’m honest at some point along the way I think I gave up really believing it was possible not to look at pornography until I was married and having sex. I convinced myself that the problem was a physical problem and when married things would sort themselves out.

Fast forward to today: I have been married for 7 years and have a daughter who is almost 2. I can promise you that the sin of pornography is not a physical or biological issue that is fixed by having sex. Pornography is spiritual sickness that in my experience can’t be healed by purely physical solutions (like having sex, creating blocks on your internet or attending accountability groups). It is a spiritual issue so needs to be  addressed spiritually.

Today is the middle of November. In April I attended, with my wife, our first counselling session at Dove. While there I was encouraged to bring what I had thus far kept hidden in my marriage into the light and to share with my wife my still current relationship with pornography. The thought of doing this was somewhat crippling – what would she say, how would she react would our marriage be on rocky ground due to a hidden sin kept from her for years! The enemy was running rampant with lies but God is bigger and stronger and enables us to fight. I shared with my wife the truth and to my amazement her response was Christ like in every way; she showered me in grace and was delighted for me that I had brought something, which was so dark and destructive into the light to be dealt with. From there I attended a separate counselling session at Dove where, for the first time ever, properly tackled the sin of pornography that had been a plague in my life for 15 years. Although I had tried many things over the years I can honestly say now with hindsight that the prayer of repentance I walked through during that Dove counselling was the first time I truly repented of all aspects of the sin and importantly asked for The Spirit of God to fill me with His power. Since then, 7 months ago I have walked in true freedom from pornography with very limited thoughts of temptation. Please don’t hear that and think that my enslavement to pornography wasn’t as real or as bad as you might think. It was. At its worse I was looking and acting on pornography multiple times a day. I share that to testify that what took place during my counselling session with Dove that day was little short of a miracle but from what I read in scripture and who I understand our loving heavenly Father to be it is the freedom available for all those who love Jesus and believe in His power.