An Open Letter About Porn to Christian Husbands, Pastors, and Husbands-To-Be

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Note TakingDear Christian Husbands, Pastors, and Husbands-to-Be:

The topic of porn use is not often the subject of sermons. That is my point.

As a twice weekly church goer most of my life, in different churches over a span of 55 years, what I have predominantly witnessed is an hypocritical united stand against behaviors in the LGBTQ community, while the use of pornography, sex outside of marriage, and serial marriage go largely unaddressed. It’s the negligent or deliberate excusing of supposedly “lesser sins” that stinks.

(NOTE: My history is with Evangelical and Reformed churches. It is impossible for me to write knowledgeably about what goes on in mainline protestant or Catholic arenas. It is important to note the wide range of church disciplines and applications of scripture across the Evangelical and Reformed realms. I can only speak from my experience and perspective. ALSO: Wives sin too, this article is NOT intended as man-bashing. My focus is on Christian marriages and the effects on wives of porn use by husbands. )

Fanciful Grace

Christian circles tend to embrace spiritual brothers who say they are sorry,  especially if they cry. Tough truth is, Christian men who use porn may feel remorse and put on a show of regret, and stay unrepentant at the same time. (By unrepentant I mean unchanged). The harm caused to families is patched up with a swipe of the hands and an “All better!” 

Follow-up with the confessor’s wife ranges from little to none at all. An insidious mindset prevails that a Christian wife is to be patient, forgiving, and available to her man no matter what.  When she asks for counsel, a subset of ideas fuels the care she receives. This includes, if wives love their spouse well, he will not “need” porn.

This is not vastly different from the unchurched world, and that’s a problem. Christian husbands are called by Christ to a higher standard of love, a faithful love, a sacrificial love. 

Christian men are to love their wives as Christ loves the church.* That is a lifestyle of unselfishness and setting aside the instant for the worth-waiting-for.  Meanwhile, Christian men who watch porn live in make-believe, growing intolerant of the realness of their wives.

Unlike in fantasy where a man can be a totally selfish and everyone still wants him, his wife wants respect. Her heart longs for deep connection at every level. For my blogs that go into more detail on relationships, click these links:  Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse  and More on Is Watching Porn Emotional Abuse.

Collateral Damage

Sadly, one Christian wife whose Christian husband chose divorce over giving up porn, said she believes there are two kinds of men in the world- those who use porn and those who admit it.  Is she wrong?

Certainly, her ability to trust has been damaged. Husbands who take their role seriously do not make it difficult for wives to trust God, other people, and their spouse.  Christian men are commanded to nurture, not destroy the inner being of the one God gave them. Love your wives as Christ loved the Church.

Matthew 5 tells us that if a man looks at a woman lustfully (obviously the foundation of porn use), he has committed adultery with her in his heart. A wife may recognize this is happening, however often is blamed, ignored, or told to be patient if she brings it up. She is held to a painful and impossible standard – be like the women in the movies. Be content with the affection an adulterous mate offers when he feels like it.

Yet still in modern times men who watch porn are excused in the church. Do you ever see the immoral brother cast out from the church until he repents? No, porn use is not considered bad enough for that. Immoral brothers include preachers, worship leaders, Sunday School teachers, church planters, missionaries, ushers, elders, and deacons. What could motivate them to say, “enough!”  

Instead, men form accountability groups, Bible studies, and write self-help books about every man’s battle. Maybe these efforts work. Yet a pastor once said, “Pornography is not sin, it is an addiction.” Where is the warrior who quakes at God’s Word and changes his ways completely? Who stands up for wives? 

 Let’s Get Real

Husbands tell their wives they struggle against pornography.

Men, no you don’t struggle against pornography. You love it. Your struggle is against righteousness. Your mind is focused on how difficult porn is to give up, how maybe if you cry out to God in sorrow and remorse he will forgive you and continue to use you in ministry.

Your love for pornography causes you to turn from the relationships you say you want. You are willing to give up right standing with God. You are willing to hurt your wife and steal from her the ability to trust. You are willing to bring sexual immorality into the home and fail to protect your children. No, you do not struggle against pornography. You struggle against righteousness.

You will drop righteous and healthy living at a moment’s notice because your eyes saw something you want, you experience body sensations, and your mind tells you lies. You don’t live the life of courage it takes to love your wife as Jesus loves the Church. Spiritual leadership over your family is easily sacrificed on the altar of fantasy and lust. You don’t struggle against porn; you struggle against righteousness.

It seems inconceivable that you could meet your wife’s need for faithfulness. It doesn’t seem fair that you have this libido and are expected to ignore billboards, scantily clad women, and TV commercials. You don’t believe you can be a man of God free of sexual immorality, so you rationalize. You beg your wife to understand, and to be patient and forgiving. “It has nothing to do with you” she is told. “I love you, pornography is a release- that’s all it is.”

You struggle against righteousness. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 97:10

You who love the LORD, hate evil!

************

COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

– pic from qualitystockphotos

*Ephesians 5:25

 

11 comments

  • Have you read Romans 7:14-20? I recommend anyone struggling with sexual sin to read this, we often commit sins we do not want. God recognizes this and I think we need to look at the bigger picture that sin can entangle our minds and hearts. Sin is blinding and we need to take this seriously if we’re to defeat this rampant enemy in the church. I highly recommend reading Unwanted by Jay Stringer if you or a loved one is struggling with porn addiction or anything of a similar nature.
    God is the only one who judges us and is also the one who free’s us of this bandage. Some of the men struggling with porn have deep rooted growths of sexual sin that started before they were even men. What we need more than anything is grace and love. With God we get what we don’t deserve, his grace and love. If we choose to embrace it then he will work in us and allow us to let go of our crutches.

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    • The difference between fanciful grace and God’s grace is that His is rooted in perfect wisdom. Our fanciful grace tends to enable rather than heal. Romans 6 has much to say on this matter. Of course, God is the only judge that matters. However, before we face Him in eternity, we are answerable to our spouses, family, and the Body of Christ. Even the unsaved are watching and making decisions based on our decisions.

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  • I am dating this man. A few months into iur relationship, I decided to look at his Instagram and Facebook page to see who he followed and liked. I was stunned. I was sick I could not sleep all night. This man professes to be a Christian. I saw multiple porn style (usually a strip of cloth in places) pictures and people he follows or liked. Now there’s a marring on the regard I had for him. There’s a huge barrier to being able to trust him and feel safe. Once when he was affections to me I suddenly froze and shut off because I recalled that’s what he looked at and I felt unclean and defiled. I felt that was what he has in his mind. I need to know if he has had Godly as orroq and repentance and can he be trusted? I don’t know how.

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    • I can only speak to my experience and stories I have heard. 1) porn users who are ashamed can lie. One man said his porn usage had only been for a short time and was in the past. Meanwhile, he was using and had been for 30 years. 2) Porn usage is addictive. As in all addictions, usage is progressive and gets worse until fantasies have to be carried out in some way. Sometimes this comes out in demands on the partner/spouse. 3)porn users are discriminators. They may deny this, but their lust has overtaken their common sense as I described in the blog. 4)repentance demands more than tears and promises. Because it is addictive, I would want to see a total change for years before believing the person who has been so deceptive. As for a Christian who is so compromised in his/her faith, repentance would have to include a severe change of how time is spent, accountability, and growth with our Lord Jesus Christ. 5) As for you and this man, if he is encouraging sexual activity before marriage, this is also a compromise of faith. As for trust – it is earned, not promised.

      Like

  • Thank you so much for writing this article. I had my husband read it to me and had him repeat a few sentences quite a few times. It spoke to his deep where I could not reach because of my own hurting….thank you, God bless you!

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  • I don’t understand what you mean by “men love porn”. I know men who have struggled with it, but didn’t love it.

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  • My husband pastors a Baptist church and I know for fact that he watches porn. I’m hurt because he won’t be honest about it. Now I dont know what to feel I’m hurt and mad..this is not the first time I have caught him with porn. I ask God to show me how to handle this. How can he get up every Sunday preach the Word and continue to do this behind my back.

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    • Dear Cassie, I’m sorry you are hurting like this. Bottom line, what your husband is doing is hypocricy. He has to rationalize his actions in order to live with himself, face you and his congregation, and stand before God. In that process of rationalizing, he has adopted lies as truth. That is how he can get up every Sunday to preach the Word and continue watching porn behind your back.

      Denial of adultery via lust is a common theme among believers who watch porn. Also, we are commanded to avoid deceit as well as lying. Pretending, hiding, half-truths – these are actions of deceit. Until your husband’s heart breaks over this sin against God, he will not change. He may put down the behavior for awhile, but pick it back up in more secretive ways.

      No one can tell you how to handle this. I will share with you from hard experience, that protecting the image of “happy church leader’s family” at the expense of yourself and his soul, is not worth it and results in much more harm and pain in the long run.

      You may want to find a counselor who understands the effects of porn on families. Go by yourself to start. Thank you so much for sharing this difficulty with me. God bless.

      Like

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