Mowing my yard is a bit of an escape. If you ask my neighbors they would probably say I should “escape” more often. But mowing does provide a weird sort of solitude for me. It’s likely related to how the mower manages to drown out the noise of life for a little while. Couple that with the physicality of doing yard work and it’s a beautiful distraction.
“Should I stay or should I go…?” Those are the words to a catchy 80’s song but it’s also the question many women (and some men) grapple with in the wake of learning of their significant others secret forays with porn. In fact I was recently asked this very question by a young adult who decided it would be better to end a relationship after finding out about her boyfriend’s problem. Reflecting on things, she realized she was dealing with a lingering sense of guilt and doubt and wondered if she should have given him a chance. Based on what she told me I assured her that she made a wise decision.
So how do you know if it’s time to call it quits and move on? Do you hang around long enough for him to “wake up” while you endure an endless cycle of his white-knuckle resistance and inevitable relapses?
Here are 7 major signs that can help you know if you should stay or go:
#1 – He’s SORRY read 2 Cor. 7:10 (NLT) this sorrow is more than just an apology. It’s a depth of sorrow that indicates a true awareness of the impact of our sin. Addicts often live with the lie that their acting out only harms them. Real sorrow rejects that excuse and realizes the broader impact.
#2 – He’s REPENTANT read Matt. 3:8 (NLT) John the baptist skewers the religious leaders by implying that their religious vigor isn’t a real indicator that their lives have changed. Instead he says, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” If your guy’s change is the real deal you’ll see it not just in words but in action.
#3 – He’s BROKEN this involves a deep remorse, regret, and an utter disgust at one’s sin. This will be visible in his face, tone, and language he speaks with. It’s marked by a deep sense of how his sin is an offense to God. The best example is king David in 2 Sam. “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’”
#4 – He’s seeking RECONCILIATION 2 Cor. 2:5-10 (NIV) Porn has likely fractured other relationships so this means he’s intentionally pursuing the restoration of those relationships. Calling friends up and apologizing, and demonstrating authenticity and transparency are evidence he’s serious about this.
#5 – He’s CONSISTENT Luke 16:13 (ESV) if he’s on-again, off-again with intentional practices to get better then there’s a good chance he’s not serious. When he adjusts his schedule, prioritizes his group, counseling sessions, and dates with you then you know he’s a keeper!
#6 – He’s RESILIENT Phil. 3:14 (NIV) recovery will come with some relapses, missteps, and set-backs. But your guy shouldn’t stay down long. If he wants to be with you he’ll get back up and jump back into his recovery plan. No whining, excuses, or complaining just get back up!
#7 – He’s HUMBLE Phil. 2:3 (ESV) Humility is a powerful antidote. That’s why a guy will find himself in a place of deep brokenness (see #3). Humility literally means, “lowliness of mind”. If your guy is thinking less of himself and serving you and others more then plan on putting your trust in him once again.
I’m certain I haven’t covered every positive sign but theses are pretty major indicators. Pray for clarity, discernment and decide.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
My name is Matt and I’m part of the team at Ever Accountable. We offer tools designed to help people live above pornography and walk in the light through accountability.
Today I’m very excited to share some thoughts with you on the importance of accountability when it comes to winning the fight against pornography. Many thanks to pastor Bernie Anderson for letting speak to you from his blog – so let’s get into it!
When it comes to pornography, there’s one simple fact to be aware of: it’s a deed done in darkness. And why is it done in darkness? Because that’s where it thrives. If we find ourselves cornered and alone, that’s when pornography tries to tighten its grip. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us that two are better than one and because they can help each other up; naturally, our enemy seeks to tempt us when we are by ourselves, can’t be seen, and are therefore at our weakest.
So that’s the bad news, but here’s the good news: the Bible has an answer for how to have victory!
Ephesians 5:11 advises us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” In the original Hebrew language, the word reprove can be found to mean, “call to account” or “demand an explanation”. So, in other words – to be accountable for our actions! That, my friends, is a powerful key to success in the fight against pornography.
You see, accountability allows us to work together to overcome the temptation to view pornography. By sharing our deeds with a trusted friend, we are exposing them to the light and robbing pornography of its power over us. In this open relationship built upon a foundation of trust, we no longer enable the temptation of pornography to back us into a corner by ourselves. Without darkness and in an environment brightened by the light, pornography simply cannot survive.
The Bible counsels us to not go it alone and when it comes to taking advice, the Bible is one source I’ve learned not to question! So how do we incorporate accountability into our lives? First, we need to find at least one person we trust to who can serve as our accountability partner. This is the person we will open up to and look to for support. From there, we need to make sure that we leverage the tools available to us to make sure we are guarding the avenues to our soul – our eyes and ears.
One such tool is our Ever Accountable Android application for phones and tablets. Ever Accountable monitors internet browsing and application usage on mobile phones and tablets and sends clear weekly reports to the individual user’s accountability partners. We are also currently working to add an iOS version of our application along with supporting Windows PCs, those exciting developments are coming in the very near future.
In Romans 12:12, we read the following: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”
Friends, I encourage you to live above pornography and walk in the light through accountability. You won’t regret it!
All the best,
When it comes to home improvement projects, fixing things around the house, or just hanging a frame on the wall I’m about as clueless as they come. Seriously. So when my wife comes to me with a “project” she’s found on Pinterest yesterday my anxiety level immediately went to DEFCON 1. She knows me so well too, saying, “I know you don’t like to do this type of stuff, and it makes you unhappy.” Yep. Pretty much, that is the case. It’s not that I don’t want to do it. It’s that I’m extremely insecure about the fact that I can actually do it and then have it turn out to be something even remotely close to what she’s dreaming. Truthfully I have some real “performance” issues when it comes to handyman skills! I don’t know if there’s a “blue pill” for that but if there is I’d order by the pounds.
After a bit of foot-shuffling I finally conceded and started watching film on the project (THANK YOU YOUTUBE). By the way that’s what us guys do who can’t tell the different between a drill bit and a cork screw, we consume youtube film attempting to gain any possible advantage. So after an hour or so of watching film and making a list of supplies I was off to the most anxiety producing place on the planet for people with my issue – HOME DEPOT.
So, now I was armed with a list and the project was actually beginning to take shape in my mind. VISION I’ve learned over the years is absolutely critical to the accomplishment of anything worthy of our time. But that’s a post for another day. Back to the HOME DEPOT trip. This was no time for wondering cluelessly around the vast aisles of products that have something to do with your house. I shook off my natural male tendency to avoid asking for help, honed in on a guy in an orange vest, and walked right up to him naming off the stuff I needed. Didn’t take long to collect everything, still I scanned and re-scanned my list to make certain I had everything. Funny thing is I’ve always wanted to push around one of those nifty lumber carts with actual lumber on it. Now I had my chance! It at least appeared as though I knew what the heck I was doing. To help with my role playing I even wore a large orange tape measurer on my pocket. Smile.
Back at home I started in on the project. I anticipated that something wouldn’t go right, as is typical for me in these situations. But amazingly things went pretty well. There were bumps along the way and the second half of the project didn’t go nearly as well as the first half. Still, though, it wasn’t quite as painful as I anticipated and I BUILT IT! All that is left is sanding, painting, and hanging. What is priceless is the enormous sense of ACCOMPLISHMENT and the BEAUTIFUL smile this “easy project” (to quote her) put on my wife’s face.
Here’s the message, I really owe my wife and Pinterest a lot of props for calling me out. You see, I’m the pastor who is constantly challenging the church, pushing the envelope, and confronting Christians about moving away from what is COMFORTABLE. Heck, I’m the guy who writes and speaks about PORN all the time! I’m the guy who rails on the church for playing it safe, lacking innovation, and being short sighted. I am the one sure of God’s power, His resources, and His will to accomplish great things in and through His church.
But I’m also the ultimate HYPOCRITE when it comes to stepping out into the unfamiliar and the unknown and my wife and Pinterest exposed me.
Let’s not get carried away here. I won’t be searching the gazillion pages of Pinterest with Christina, looking for some new clever craft to do. I’m still no Ty Pennington by any stretch, but perhaps I’m less afraid to wade into a project UNSURE of my skill and even less sure of the potential OUTCOME.
Perhaps God has spoken quite clearly to me letting me know that you can talk a big game up front, but you better be ready to live it at home and elsewhere.
Oh, and by the way, if any wives out there would like to torture their husbands who suffer from the same “issue” I do with a “project” you can find the $10 Picture Ledges here http://ana-white.com/2010/10/plans/ten-dollar-ledges .
Guys, to quote a line from one of my all time favorite movies, Nacho Liebre, “You can do it!”
- Break up…with all those “fantasy” girlfriends you’ve been checking out online and dating in your mind. Make a clean break. Remember they really aren’t that into you. End it, and never turn back to their lies. Don’t be Mr. Nice Guy either. Just walk away. Ignore any advances or even invitations to “hook up”. When you’re weak and lonely reach out to a real person who actually cares about you. “Take captive every thought…” 2 Cor. 10:5
- Boycott media…yeah there’s probably some stuff you shouldn’t watch or listen to! Probably a video game or two you should just totally get rid of for a time or even permanently. It’s likely you’re like me and play that game of, “well it really doesn’t effect me.” You and I know good and well that it does. Even if it’s something as “mild” as the recent edition of the SI swimsuit issue that you’ve managed to rationalize as not being “porn” it’s time to give it the snub. “If your right hand offends you cut it off…” Matthew 5:30
- Band together…it’s awkward I know but there’s just no other way to get free and stay free. We need others. So if you’ve been going it alone and wondering why that hasn’t worked the answer is you’ve got to acquire some allies quick. You may not want the world to know your problem but a small band of brothers needs to know about your problem. A live group is ideal but if you can’t swing that then sign up for an www.X3groups.com through www.xxxchurch.com. “Two are better than one…” Eccl. 4:9
- Buy resources…this issue is so prevalent that there’s ton’s of stuff out there. There’s awesome stuff that’s FREE but you may need to actually redirect the funds you’ve been spending on porn or massage parlors toward purchasing the best resources you can. Most dudes don’t want to take the time to read so get audio books and listen while you drive or work out. I highly recommend saving up the money or selling something to attend the Everyman’s Battle Workshop. It’s not cheap but the return on investment makes it well worth it. There’s also the 30 day online recovery workshop www.x3pure.com. “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways…” Proverbs 14:8
- Bravely confess…it takes enormous courage to be this vulnerable but it is absolutely necessary. Why do you need to confess? Truth is you don’t. You can go on the way you have been, hiding, lying, pretending (I’ve been there) and you’ll never be free. Confession is our commitment to dealing with the reality of our situation. It is professing with our lips that we don’t have it all together. It speaks to transparency, authenticity and our refusal to live in denial. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper…” Proverbs 28:13
- Build barriers…or you could say “boundaries” here. However you want to put it the point is you’ve got to add some structure to your recovery. For instance, tons of guys are vulnerable in the shower, late at night in their rooms with a laptop, phone or other device. Strategize in advance on how to avoid the trap. Limit your showers to 5 minutes. Don’t turn it into a spa session where you have time to drift off to fantasy land and act out. As for devices commit to leaving them device(s) somewhere other than your room. Yes, you can do without them through the night.
- Believe truth…addicts are good at telling lies but far more damaging may be the lies we believe. Such as, “I’ll never be sober,” “you’re not hurting anyone else,” or my all time favorite, “you deserve it!”. It’s only when we start believing truth that we find freedom from the lies. Jesus clearly stated that he was the epitome of truth (Jn. 14:6) so we can believe Him and all that He said like, “If the son sets you free you are free indeed…”(Jn. 8:36) or “For God so loved the world…” (Jn. 3:16) and a very appropriate one for this discussion, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt. 2:17)“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
- Begin NOW…stop putting things off. Stop telling yourself you’ll start next week or next month! Make this day one of a life time of living free of porn. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
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I’ll confess a certain hedonistic tendency. If you’re honest my guess is you’ve found yourself strung out on pleasure seeking from time to time as well. That’s just it, pleasure, the Bible doesn’t condemn it unless it becomes the only thing we find worth living for. Or if it becomes the only way we know how to cope with life. In fact I would say pleasure has always been God’s idea. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” And remember Jesus words in John 10:10, “…I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”(The Message)
Sounds like a thumbs up for pleasure to me. So there’s a reason we’re created with certain pleasure sensors in our bodies. There’s a reason why parts of our brains light up during sex, eating good food, and even when we solve a difficult problem. There you have it! Pleasure is just something we were born for! Let’s eat, drink, and be merry people! (by the way that’s in Ecclesiastes 8:15)
But still, as a Christian it’s easy to be suspect of pleasure and whether or not God is pleased with my being pleased. After all there’s an overwhelming amount of self-denial, and sacrifice talk in scripture. That seems far more inline with how Jesus lived. But could it be that our guilt about pleasure stems from a lingering belief that I still have a debt to pay? In other words, while I understand what was accomplished through Jesus, that “my debt” is paid, and I am “saved”, I still struggle with having it too good. But that really is the point. We have it really good, that’s what the gospel is, really, really, “good news!” It’s good news about freedom, joy, salvation, and yes, even pleasure.
Again, it can’t be overlooked that our tendency is to go overboard on this pleasure thing. That’s why even though we know the gospel, and the good that it brings, there’s the need for caution. Too much of a good thing is still too much. So while pleasure isn’t prohibited for the Christian a hedonistic approach to pleasure is. For the hedonist it’s all about the next pleasure trip. It’s always self-serving, and it has no limits.
That really is the issue. We have to set limits. I know it’s unheard of in our country, where it’s life to the max, but for believers it’s the only way we live well in obedience to God. I love the way Paul puts it in I Corinthians 10:23, “Looking at it one way, you could say, ‘Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.’ But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well…”
So I leave you with these three ideas about pleasure and living well…
- Love Jesus more than pleasure.
- Live the gospel when it comes to pleasure.
- Limit pleasure for the sake of living well.