Yvonne and I have really labored over the content of this month’s article. However, with the recent development that has rocked the world and the Church: the Ashley Madison Scandal, we felt strongly that this issue needs addressed.
I feel like this issue is one that a large percentage of the Church doesn’t want to talk about. A recent survey among Pastors and Church staff said that over 50% struggle with this issue. So, it’s a REAL and harmful issue that MUST be discussed, brought into the light and find solutions so, it can be dealt with and defeated.
Y and I said early on, that WE ARE GONNA BE REAL. This article is about as REAL as it gets.
So here we go….
What major issue is plaguing marriages, The Church and destroying BOTH?
It’s the viewing of graphic sexual images.
I heard a term a few years ago called “Sexual addiction.” It’s the idea that the person who finds himself fascinated by sexual images and content by viewing somewhat innocent material and the desire for more provocative visual stimuli “creeps” up on them.
The same way that a pill will eventually lose its effectiveness to treat an illness, so a stronger type of medication will be sought. It’s the same with looking at sexual images and content. The more you look, the harsher the material..and eventually you can find yourself TRAPPED in the addiction.
How do I know this?
I know because I have struggled with this issue in my past.
It’s not easy to admit. However, the only way to battle this demon is to first admit that there’s a problem.
See, every young boy is curious. Years ago (before the internet being in our homes and offices) it was more difficult, but NOW these images are INSTANTLY accessible at our very fingertips.
It’s accessible and it can grip you like a python around the throat.
So what does viewing these sexual images do?
1) It degrades. It degrades women and it portrays women as mere tools for our satisfaction.
2) It distorts. God’s design for our attraction is to be for our wife/mate. When your wife or girlfriend discovers that you’ve been viewing these images, it SHOUTS to them that “You ARE NOT what I find attractive.”
3) It desensitizes. Looking at sexual images and content causes our brains to need for more and harsher material and images.
4) It demands more! This “progression” might eventfully cause you to sign up on websites for more provocative material or to take the next step of “hooking up” with an old flame or someone who’s willing to provide actual physical contact.
5) It destroys. Marriages, families, relationships, careers and ministries have literally been devastated by the ripple effects of someone viewing sexual content and being unfaithful to their spouse.
So how does someone take charge over this killer?
You must first seek God. Daily. It’s an addiction and will be battled daily. Ask Him to help you EVERYDAY to help guard your heart and your eyes. Yes, God WILL help you, but YOU MUST do your part.
Remember that your commitment is to God AND to your spouse.
1) Train your eyes. There are Internet programs where you can install on your computer and tablets that won’t allow you to access certain websites.
If it’s a convenient store or gas station that sells those magazines, STOP going to that store! Don’t allow yourself to be put in a position where you will be tempted.
Sadly, someone doesn’t have to LOOK FOR these type of images…It will find YOU. TV, movies, billboards… And NO where is safe. However, You KNOW where and when you are at highest risk. Be smart! You CAN train your eyes NOT to look.
2) Be accountable.
Allow your spouse or (same sex) accountability partner FULL access to your mobile device or computer for COMPLETE transparency.
3) Fill your mind and your life with God’s Word. Download Bible Apps on your mobile devices. When you are alone, (or the moments when you are tempted) READ God’s Word for strength.
I would highly recommend the book: “Every Man’s Battle”. It’s very insightful and offers REAL spiritual advice from a biblical perspective.
Men: YOU CAN WIN this battle. You don’t have to be a victim. Man up and take charge.
My heart is heavy over the brokenness and heartbreak of so many women. It seems that the Ashley Madison scandal could not be more timely and in line with the heartbreak I have heard and witnessed close to home. Bryan and I have witnessed this destructive tornado tear through marriages and relationships of family members and friends. The timing could not have been more on point. In fact, while writing this article, yesterday we heard of another family in jeopardy. It deeply saddens me.
What saddens me the most is the pain I know each heart is feeling, the questions of “what’s wrong with ME?” to the question of “why am I not enough or worth it?”. My reply has always been “it’s not about you.”. The truth is it has nothing to do with the partner being cheated on and everything to do with the partner lying, cheating and dishonoring their relationship. That’s a very tough pill to swallow. In a woman’s mind, even just looking at another woman too long by their husband translates into – something is wrong with me. Whether it’s weight, looks, not having your “game” face on perfectly everyday ( makeup), being run ragged from raising children or a career, we immediately feel inadequate and unloved. We all want to be the center of our husband’s view. Now, I’m not saying it’s only men, this is just from the view on my side of the fence.
My sadness also comes from viewing and hearing the tragic filings for divorce, children left with one parent, suicide and lastly- denial by the guilty party. God can’t open your eyes to the hurt and destruction you are causing while you are still craving the momentary fleshly pleasure that fades like a mist into the darkness.
Top 6 things your behavior causes your spouse/significant other that you need to know:
1) Shame. You think you’re embarrassed over the situation? Your spouse experiences humiliation that is almost debilitating. It’s crushing that your husband finds needs met by another; whether in person or via magazines and Internet.
2) For every deceptive action you have taken- erases years of truths. They look at every picture and think to themselves ” he’s smiling, we had a great vacation and the whole time he was imagining another woman in his mind or he was flirting and communicating with someone else.
3) Your relationship died the day your spouse found out your secrets. If you are blessed enough to have worked through the trial, realize for your spouse it’s from that day forward. Every day prior is marked with doubt.
4) You may have been committed the crime against your marriage 2 years ago but if she found out a month ago then for her it just happened. It fresh, it’s bleeding and it’s painful.
5) Your reaction will influence her recovery. If you lose your patience or expect her to be over it in a few months, you are insensitive and not compassionate. Most experts say it takes a minimum of 2-3 years to heal. Guess what? Every time you shift the focus off your behavior, try to blame it on this or that situation and don’t completely own the blame, you are ripping off a scab. When you focus on your hurt and the reasons you betrayed her…. She probably wants to rip your throat out. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about her hurt, her pain from trusting and believing in you and you were deceitful and selfish.
6) You are a coward if you share half truths with others who are concerned for your family. If you are talking about your wounds … See #5 … You rip her scab off every single time. If you wanna talk about what she’s done in response to your deceit but don’t be honest about your actions leading up to her anger, then you are a coward. Get over yourself if you love her and truly want to save your relationship.
1) Remember you and your mate are joined as “ONE”. Your eyes are their eyes. Be mindful of content in this manner. It puts a whole different perspective to your vision. You can train yourself not to look at women, print or Internet. It can be done with Gods help.
““I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”
2) Lust of another is of this world- not of God.
“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
1 John 2:16 NIV
3) You can conquer this temptation. Find a true same sex accountability partner. We walk this journey as a church; together.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
Colossians 3:5 NIV
4) This verse is self explanatory.
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Matthew 5:28 NIV
It is a difficult subject. We hope we have addressed it in a sensitive yet straight forth manner. It is our hearts desire to encourage and discuss topics that need addressed. It is only written after much debate and pray. It is never with intent to offend.
Bryan and Yvonne Hutson
Rescue Me Ministries2015