By Don Gentry
It Started Small
I was eleven years old, attending my first Boy Scout overnight camp experience. My friend & I were up in the woods playing during our free time. We were on top of a hill underneath a pine tree. It was there I was very innocently exposed to my first “girlie magazine”.
What I didn’t know at the time was the world of shame and guilt that day was going to usher me into.
With what I know now, I thank God I was raised in an era where we didn’t have the Internet. From the age of 11 to 21, I had to be very sneaky and intentional if I was going to find any explicit material. It was during this time of growth and spiritual maturing that I would enter into cycles of temptation, permissive behavior, self-loathing and debasement, purity, promises, and the cycle goes on.
I have been a Christian since I was three years old and I knew my behavior was very displeasing to God. I chalked myself up to being a horrible, despicable person, and a lousy hypocrite. I was going to college to be a pastor and here I had this awful secret sin. It was spiritually debilitating.
The Boiling Point
At the age of 21, we had a true revival sweep through our college campus. During one particular chapel service, hundreds of fellow students stood before their peers and confessed their secret sins. As you can imagine, well over half of the male enrollment stood before a mixed audience confessing the use of pornographic material.
In the days that followed, there was a lot of turmoil in the student body. There was no help for the male students to know how to deal with the shame and embarrassment of what they just expressed to their peers.
I helped start over three accountability groups for healing and freedom from sin. This was the beginning of an amazing journey of freedom and forgiveness in my life. Overcoming the shame & the guilt was huge, and experiencing Christ’s forgiveness was amazing!
Failure Led to Fracture
Fast forward six years: I am married now, I have two amazing children, and an amazing wife. I have just experienced another fracture. I had purchased a Publishing and Marketing business in Minnesota and things were going great … until the sales dried up.
Being young and dumb, I registered my business as a sole proprietor and lost everything (And that is another whole story of shame, self-loathing and forgiveness). At this time I found myself slipping into an old pattern of behavior. Pornography was rearing its addictive, ugly existence back into my life.
I sought professional help from a Christian counselor this time. My behavioral fixes were not sufficient this time to heal the wound. He helped me to see the pattern of my addiction and how I truly viewed myself before God. My counselor helped me to see “why” I chose pornography as a remedy for my emptiness.
Fortunately, I have an incredibly supportive and amazing wife who helped me through this addiction. I found even greater forgiveness and healing. I had always attributed my struggle with perversion and it was nothing of the sort (I am not justifying my struggle, but misunderstanding the mind is what keeps most men from ever dealing with this sin at its root).
My Journey Today
That was 14 years ago, and I can’t say I am never tempted, but I can say I am healed.
I’ve put several measures in my life to help me overcome temptation. I have multiple accountability partners that have permission to be as nosy as they want. I have a completely open and honest relationship with my wife who I know will support and love me no matter how our conversation goes. I have learned what my triggers are and how to properly identify when I am weak and vulnerable.
I have seen God use my story to help bring healing and understanding to many about the power and nature of sexual sins. I have seen relationships and marriages healed. Most importantly, I have experienced the healing and grace of Jesus Christ in an incredible way.
If you struggle with the same sin, if you need help repairing the fracture, my door is always open. Ladies, my wife is the epitome of what it takes for a man to be willing to discuss moral failures with his beloved. Our lives are an open book to help bring healing and hope to those who have experienced the pain of a fracture. There is truly no fracture that is too big for God to heal.