If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know that I’ve struggled with pornography all of my adult life. Long before I was baptized as an adult my pornography use followed the classic addictive cycle: Feeling shame after using pornography, and using pornography to hide from the shame. Needless to say my adult conversion into evangelical Christianity did not help this cycle.
I recently moved from Seattle, WA to Orlando, FL, to start a series of churches in bars. With the stress of the move came an increased use in pornography and an increase in my feelings of guilt and shame, which threatened to lead to a further increase in pornography use. To avoid this vicious cycle I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what my pornography use looks like in the light of God’s grace.
It seems to me that over the last four years I tried to “be good”. I tried to stop using pornography so God would love me. I believed I could “earn” grace through good behavior. I didn’t believe God’s grace covered sexual sin, or at least not my sexual sin. But if grace is God’s unmerited favor why did I try to “merit” it through good behavior?
I claim to believe that God loves me unconditionally as His adopted son. I claim to believe Scripture when it says nothing can separate me from God’s love. I claim to believe that when Christ said, “It is finished,” He meant it.
Then why am I so afraid of my sin?
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not arguing for a laissez-faire attitude toward sin. I don’t believe we should sin more to increase grace…but that’s not my particular problem. My problem is that I have trouble accepting myself for who I am, including my sinful nature. I wonder what would it look like if I stopped trying to “be good” and just moved along the path God has set me on?
Do I acknowledge my sin? Yes.
Do I repent of my sin? Yes, daily.
Will I sin tomorrow, possibly including the use of pornography? Yes, it’s a distinct possibility.
Do I believe God’s grace is able to cover my sin through the blood of Jesus Christ? Yes, I must hold to this hope.
So again I have to ask: Why am I so afraid of my sin? Why am I trying to “be good”? Even though I am not “good”, I am loved. Even though I am not “good”, I am forgiven. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, not just those who struggle with pornography.