Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil
Written by Joseph T. Lee
Today, we are picking up where we left off at the ending of Part 1, where we discussed that pornography is an epidemic and an addiction that affects over 40 million people in the United States alone. In ministry, we counsel with people who have made pornography there idol and they are so addicted to it that it affects their personal lives as well as their marriages. Even when pastors and ministers are dealing with this, they themselves are not immune to the addiction. Many who are in ministry lived different lives before coming to Christ Jesus. Many may have viewed porn before they were saved and may indeed have had the addiction before coming to Christ.
Although Christ Jesus forgives our sins, if one is addicted to something, they may have a compulsive behavior and may need psychological counseling to help overcome this problem. Pastor’s and ministers may not have the training to deal with these issues, so it is important to recognize the disorder and refer these congregants to a Christian Counseling Center who implements Biblical principles along with psychological treatment.
As for pastors and ministers, they need to be very careful in what they watch and view because pornography can be addictive like a drug. According to Sam Louie of Psychology Today, “Pornography can be deeply problematic in the general population, so it should be no surprise that it’s also impacting the church communities. Yet how many pastors are willing to come forward with their troubles?”
Louie goes on to discuss the finding from the research study by the Barna Group called “The Porn Phenomenon.” The Barna group determined that 57% of pastors in their control group and 64% of youth pastors in the same control group struggle with pornography, either currently or in the past. Only less than 1% of that group recommended telling their congregation.
Louie wrote, “This makes sense, because it’s hard enough for people in the general population who struggle with sexual or porn-related compulsive behavior to acknowledge the problem, let alone a pastor whose job is to expound on spiritual truths and be a living example of morality above reproach.”
Certainly one can try on their own to overcome this problem. They can wrap themselves in their faith in God. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Perhaps a way of escape is getting help from a qualified Christian counselor who has both the Biblical and Psychological training to help you overcome these temptations. Christian counselors can also be considered as ministers to those who are hurting and have addictions and afflictions.
Louie goes on to discuss the cycle of denial and how people will try to do it on their own. Louie wrote, “It usually takes years (if done at all) for a person who has negative compulsive behaviors to recognize that the behaviors are not only maladaptive but have reached a point of habituation that they are beyond the person’s individual “willpower” to stop.” It is very hard to stop this addiction. It has taken a root in your inner being.
For pastors and ministers, Louie discusses questions you should ask yourself so that you will know if you have a problem yourself. Often pastors are afraid to go to anyone for help for fear they will lose their jobs. It is important though that pastors seek counseling themselves, even if it’s with a private therapist so that they can get the help they need so that the pastor himself can minister to others. It would be hard for a minister to minister to someone else if he or she has the same secret behavior.
Louie wrote, “For pastors and churches, how can you diagnose if there’s a problem? Well, you can ask yourself these following questions.
- Have you intentionally accessed sexually explicit material in the past year? Yes, there’s porn, but there’s much more out there that can sexually arouse a person without reaching the definition of pornography. Sexually charged movies, romance novels, comic books, and magazines can arouse you.
- What is the frequency of accessing these materials?
- What is the frequency of masturbation (both with or without the use of pornography)? This is important because of the fact some people believe they can masturbate without the use of porn and it isn’t harming them. But this is where sexual fantasy and imagery come into play, which may perpetuate a cycle of addiction. This also needs to be addressed.
- Have you lied or been deceitful about this to anyone?
- What specifically are you looking at? (For example, adult pornography would be therapeutically treated differently than child pornography.)
- Trajectory: Is the pattern of sexually acting out improving or getting worse?”
Louie states that churches should create an environment and re-establish themselves as the safest places on earth. Churches are meant to be places of spiritual refuge and safety where people can share their deepest wounds and break the shackles of addiction and shame (paraphrased).
Pastors, are you struggling? You do not have to do this alone. I would encourage you to contact a Christian Counseling Center and speak with a senior counselor whom you may have a confidential discussion of what is going on in your life. I believe through prayer of Christ Jesus and confiding in a Christian Counselor or Psychologist, you will be able to break your addiction. It may not be an addiction of pornography. If may be some other type of compulsive behavior.
Pray and ask Jesus to forgive you and help you with your problems. Admit it to the Father that you are addicted and that you want deliverance. Then seek out a counselor who is a born again Christian and start on your road to recovery.
This is the end of Part 2. If you want to subscribe and read other follow-ups to this topic, please subscribe below.
Louie, Sam; Reviewed by Abigail Fagan, Psychology Today, January 30, 2020, Retrieved August 30, 2020. Pastors and Porn | Psychology Today
Barna Group – “The Porn Phenomenon”
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