Did you know that the problem of pornography affects not only new or “weak” believers but also mature disciples and leaders in both the global and local body? Did you also know that the Anchor of Hope Counseling Center in Jerusalem has a weekly support group for men who are struggling with the problem of pornography?
Five years ago the body of the Messiah in the land hardly raised this issue, if at all. Thank God, in recent years we have been talking about this more and more. We see the statistics and know it’s an epidemic.
Here is a typical story. David (pseudonym) has been struggling with pornography since he was very young. As a believer he knew it was something wrong and embarrassing, and tried to overcome this uncontrollable urge. He promised God and himself that he would not do it again, got rid of his computer, blocked surfing on his smartphone and did everything possible to avoid the temptation. Sometimes David experienced periods of relief, and it seemed that victory was at the door. But after a while he fell again and again until he became frustrated. After a few months in the support group David changed. His was able to share honestly so his sense of shame greatly diminished. Together with other people he entered a process of spiritual renewal that allowed God not only to heal him from his compulsive behavior, but also helped to restore and develop his inner self.
Evidence from the field and research studies also show that it is difficult to overcome addictions alone. It is much more effective to do this along with other people who are dealing with a similar problem. This support group for men (in Hebrew) is where we help people like David. We meet once a week and use the 12-step model. This program was developed about 100 years ago by believers, and is considered the most effective method of recovery from various addictions.
So why do we return to the behavior we hate as we mentioned in the title? It turns out that we cannot stop on our own because pornography (just as it with alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc.) helps relieve internal pain and stress. Of course, the relief comes only for a moment and immediately after that comes shame, regret, frustration, self-hatred and even suicidal thoughts.
In other words, the use of pornography is a kind of “cure” that we in our despair “take” against hurt and pressure. The problem is not solved, but becomes more severe. Shame increases, and we find ourselves turning to pornography whenever under pressure. In addition, we use more in order to get the same sense of relief. This is because reuse activates the pleasure zones in our brain and a strong craving develops.
So what is the solution? The 12 Steps Program is one of the most effective solutions, and has helped thousands of people.
In our support group, we sincerely admit that we can not overcome the problem on our own, and in fact have lost control of our lives in this area. This confession is difficult and painful, but necessary. But, it reduces shame and helps us overcome the frustration and despair of our failed attempts to solve the problem ourselves.
Instead of seclusion, we begin to transparently divide our struggles with the others. It reduces the humiliation, and connects us with real people instead of the illusion of intimacy that pornography provides.
The addiction may be greater than what we can handle, but God is much bigger than any problem. Next we see that there is no other solution, but to trust that God can release us from our compulsive behavior. We make a decision to surrender to God, and ask him for this release.
But it is not enough to make good declarations to God. We must express our willingness to overcome our wounds and hurtful reactions, and enter into a process. We do so in the next stage by conduct a penetrating and fearless soul-searching, and admit our mistakes and flaws not just to God, but to another person. Why? Because the same mistakes and character defects that we deny continue to cause pain, fear, frustration and resentment, which drives us towards pornography. At this stage we also forgive the wrongs done to us. Having understood the depth of our character flaws, we humbly ask God to remove them from us.
We want to continue in this process of deep restoration, and to this end, we make a list of people we have hurt, and make amends to those we have harmed, as much as that is possible. This is a very difficult, but very liberating stage and brings blessing and renewal.
We are not perfect, so we must continue this process as a way of life. How long? How long do we have so Yeshua can form himself within us until the end of life, right? So let us embrace the truth: we must admit our shortcomings, forgive others and learn to respect ourselves until we meet with Yeshua face to face.
As a result of the process we feel a renewed closeness with God.
Due to our inner awakening and gradual victory over the problem, we continue to live the message, and then hopefully pass this joy on to others. Here the cycle ends. Those who have victory continue to encourage others to do he same.
Over the year, we gathered consistently once a week, we saw changes that were even visible to the external eye. People became more relaxed, worked on not using porn and were grateful for the group support. God is faithful and we can trust that “where the spirit of the Lord, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 13:17)
Join us! Our group, meets at the Clal Building, 97 Jaffa Road, P1 level (opposite the Pavilion) in Jerusalem every Tuesday at 18.00.
If you have any questions you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 054-758-9601. Take the first step!