This is a guest post from my friend, Samuel Burger. Samuel is a dear brother in Christ, and one of the godliest men I know. He serves as the Pastor at Chestuee Baptist Church in Calhoun, Tennessee.
Just before I turned thirteen, I was introduced to Playboy magazine by a friend. I had no idea I would face the biggest struggle in my life because of that moment.
As time passed, I began to be dependent on pornography.
Pornography, for me, is like a drug. I was addicted to pornography. Pornography was my escape from the bad things. If I felt lonely, I would look at pornography. If I had a bad experience, I would look at pornography.
I had been raised by very good Christian parents who dedicated me to the Lord. I went to church all the time. I read my Bible and I even went to a Christian school all my life. However, these pornographic images would always pop into my mind during someone’s sermon or during worship service. I was on the pew, but these images were in my mind. This battle was not once a week, but every day.
My life began to revolve around porn. Hardly a day went by that I didn’t view pornography. It was the most major battle I went through in life. No one knew except for only a handful of people, because I was ashamed and embarrassed. I was afraid I would be rejected and scorned. I have never paid for porn because it was easily accessible. All I had to do was turn a page or click a button and I was there. Pornography was turning into my idol.
I believe this brought on depression and isolation. It really hurt me socially and I began to have low self-esteem. I began to question God, “Why do I have to go through this stuff?” I would cry for long periods of time and feel like there was no hope. I would look at a girl on a poster and pretend like she was the love of my life because I actually believed I would never have anyone I could really love as a spouse. Therefore, that gave me more reason to view pornography.
I was a prisoner to pornography all of my teenage years. Nevertheless, God didn’t leave me.
I know some people may believe that God doesn’t hear people when they are sinning, but God was with me in my darkest moments. God has NEVER failed me. I could never escape the extended hand of God’s mercy. This is why I love the verse, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).
I was a believer, but I was in bondage. I was in bondage in my mind. I believed in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, but I battled with pornography. Maybe you have this same problem and you are a believer in Jesus Christ. I want to tell you there is hope for you. Before your addiction and after your addiction, He loves you the same.
I used to think sex was bad because I associated sex with sin (pornography).
The enemy always perverts the things of God. Sex within marriage is a gift from God. Sex is not only physical, but emotional and spiritual. When a husband and wife have sex, they become one. They unite body, soul and spirit.
This may be why there is so much confusion in relationships. A person having sex outside of marriage becomes one with too many people. That’s why pornography is dangerous. You become vulnerable to become one with too many people.
Sex within marriage is ordained of God, and I urge leaders to teach God’s view on sex. If the church doesn’t teach people, then the unholy culture of the world will do it. We must break the barrier down that keeps people in ignorance. God created sex, and we must not avoid the practical theology of God's plan for intimate relationships.
Our culture is inundated with sex. Advertisers use sex to sell their products. It’s everywhere. The enemy has abused God’s gift. I have one question: “What would happen if God’s people started teaching applicable theology that relates to true intimate relationships?”
So how bad is pornography today?
- 90% of children ages 8-16 have viewed porn.
- Porn sites comprise 12 % of the internet.
- The largest consumers of pornography are 12-to-17-year-old boys.
- 70% of men ages 18 to 34 visit a porn site in a typical month.
- 1 in 6 women struggle with porn addiction.
- 25% of search engine requests are for porn.
- 50% of pastors regularly look at porn.
- 38% of adults say porn is morally acceptable.
- Every minute, $184,500 is spent on porn.
- $10 to $14 billion is spent on porn annually, the same amount the U.S. government spends on foreign aid [see sources below].
This has to stop. Did you know pornography and sex trafficking are linked? Atlanta, GA is ground zero for sex trafficking…our own backyard.
God is calling us to reach out to the broken and give them hope. Children and women (as well as men) are victimized because of the porn industry and people are getting rich off it. It’s horrible that people are getting financial gain at the abusive expense of others. When porn is watched, abuse is being supported.
As a former porn addict, I can relate to those who go through this battle. But I will tell you:
God set me free from pornography when I admitted my sin to a group of friends who are believers.
My friends didn't condemn me; they loved me instead. They saw who I am in Christ, instead of seeing my addiction. Transparency was the one thing God used to set me free. And after I admitted to my addiction, I stayed in contact with this group of friends.
So if you are also battling pornography, the key to freedom and deliverance is to:
- Expose what you are going through; transparency sheds light upon the darkness and darkness has to flee.
- Get accountability.
- Have safeguards in place for prevention.
- Rely upon the power and love of God.
- Get involved in ministry to substitute the addiction and help others with the same struggle.
- Renew your mind with prayer and Bible study.
Let me strongly urge you to know the grace of God. God set me free from porn and He can do the same for you. And if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).
If you struggle with porn addiction and want help, you can contact me via email at: samuelbrgr [at] yahoo [dot] com.
If you need help with pornography addiction, you can also contact Focus on the Family.
Samuel Burger is the Pastor of Chestuee Baptist Church in Calhoun, Tennessee. He loves laughing, preaching, and Mexican food. If you want to thank Samuel for his testimony, please leave a comment below!