The Benefits of Speaking Up
When my kids were younger my wife and I would always tell them to “use their words” rather than scream, or whine. I’m convinced that most of us guys want to “use our words” but it’s extremely awkward and we struggle to trust anyone with anything beyond the superficial. You could say that our acting out with porn is a subtle form of screaming and whining. In my opinion our acting out reveals a deep longing for intimacy and connection. The two things that strike fear in every man’s heart and yet both are needed and wanted. I’ve joked that the four most frightening words a man can hear from his wife aren’t “I want a divorce!” but “We need to talk!” I’ll confess that my heart beats a little faster and my throat dries up in anticipation of a major conversation with my wife.
But we need to talk and we need to talk about the challenges we face and perhaps even the failures we’ve experienced.
A few years ago I read a book by Dr. Larry Crabb called The Silence of Adam. It isn’t a book specifically about beating porn or sexual integrity, but he does talk about why lust, porn, and fantasy are such easy ways of escape for us guys especially. Honestly I think he really speaks to the core issue of why we struggle. By the way, sorry, to my female readers, and friends out there, I don’t mean to leave you out, but this book was focused on the guys and our tendency toward timidity, along with our, all too common, outright, passivity.
There’s a section that I thought was truly powerful where Dr. Crabb talks about what happens when a man does speak up to another brother, mentor, or friend and talks about his failure and sin. Dr. Crabb writes: “Something happens within a man when he makes known to another man that which is least attractive about himself. When we share our secrets with a brother; something happens that will happen in no other way. Pouring our hearts out before God is foundational. But presenting ourselves as we really are, with every secret laid bare, to one other human being puts us in touch with the liberating power of God’s grace in a manner that no secret-keeper will ever know.”
That is so powerful, and so true. He goes on to list these three “life giving messages” that a man receives when he opens his life up to another man. He explains them in more detail in the book but here are the main points of what he’s saying:
“Nothing you are or have ever done dooms you to defeat…”
“You have something powerful to give…”
“There is a calling on your life that no secret can remove…”
Here’s a note I received from a guy who spoke up about his struggle with porn at a Harley store and it had a huge impact:
“And it’s interesting how things can get payed forward too… on my way back on my bike from a porn&pancakes seminar in Idaho, I’d stopped by a Harley store and was visiting with some motorcycle ministry guys there. Our talk went to rallies and I mentioned that I’ve got to avoid most of them due to the adult nature of most, and my weakness for the same, but really enjoy the Christian ones, when one of them comes up to me and tells me he has the same weakness. I told him about the xxxchurch thing and when they were leaving, this same guy wraps his arms around me and says “I love you bro” It really meant alot to me, but I guess these things are meant to be shared. By God’s power it’s my intent to acheive purity.”
Lets make 2013 a year where we see the power of speaking up and talking about the hard stuff.