Let’s be clear- you cannot unsee what you have seen or undo what you have done. God doesn’t work this way. But you can be made whole and clean again. You can be made holy, blameless and righteous again. This is not a return to before or a turning back of the clock, but rather an acknowledgement of where you went wrong and that exposing yourself to porn was wrong (confession), an apology and commitment to change (repentance) and an acceptance of forgiveness. From there you will find freedom. Accept it and walk into a newer, freer life. To overcome this you need to know who you are, who He is and who you are in Him.
Confession. Confession is about recognition that porn is not how God intended sex to be. Exposure to it is not what he wants for us. He wants to be at the centre of our lives helping us make all our decisions. He wants in on your life and cares about the small things as well as the big. But, more importantly, we must come from a place of realising that what happened was wrong. Confession for me was realising that I fell short of God’s best for my life, that I allowed into my life things that weren’t holy and weren’t of God. It was about surrendering my life and accepting that I need him because I cannot save myself. I cannot absolve my sin. That can be done by God alone.
Repentance. Trickier than confession believe me! This can take time and requires determination and patience. Repentance is an apology coupled with (and here’s the crucial bit) a commitment to change. Your ‘sorry’ must be heartfelt and sincere and your commitment to change must mean turning away from old mindsets and attitudes. It’s putting together an action plan to help move you away from what tempts you. If confession is accepting that what you did is wrong, repentance is the first step towards moving on. He who knit you together in your mother’s womb has more for you. More than this, repentance requires you declaring to God your sin and acting on that apology in order to step into the plans he has for you.
Forgiveness. So where confession is about who you are and repentance is about who He is, forgiveness is about what He has done. The sacrifice He made and the price He paid for our freedom. When Jesus died on the cross he reconciled us to God. He removed the barrier that our sin put in place and allowed us to confess, repent and as a result be forgiven. We no longer are bound by what we have done, by those dirty acts that are burned into our memories. Our status has changed. We have been forgiven, raised from hopelessness to hopeful. Exposure to porn leaves scars etched on our hearts, but forgiveness heals the wound. You may never forget, but those scars will no longer be visible. Receive God’s forgiveness and strive also to forgive yourself. It’s the kindest and most freeing thing you can do. Stop condemning yourself for what is finished.
Finally, freedom. Sweet and glorious is the victory. God gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). For many Christians, this is a familiar verse but contained in it is the explanation for what we believe and why it’s amazing. This declaration of love, so fierce and profound, is the reason I have hope; the reason I overcame this. It is by his grace and because of his mercy that I can, not just live striving and surviving, but thrive. Through the sacrifice I overcame because he overcame. He paid my price and bought my freedom. He bought yours too.
I don’t know how deep your scars are or how painful this is, but I know it’s a tricky and tough process that will need revisiting more than once. I have overcome this and I will continue to overcome this because I believe that what lies ahead, the life I have now is worth far more than a cheap thrill found in an illicit moment. I am no longer scared of intimacy but instead am willing to wait and put my gratification aside for what I know is better for me.