For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.
— Acts 4:20 —
My Story: Pastor Bill
As a young child I experienced abuse from two older cousins. While very young, I learned wrong ideas about sex. Guilt and shame haunted me until I heard about forgiveness and cleansing through Jesus Christ. My childhood was relatively normal, except for the shadow of my younger traumatic events. In university I became a follower of Jesus and found great release from my past shame. However, the deep-seated healing I needed was yet to come.
It would be fair to say that the hope given by Jesus was a powerful factor in my conversion and eventually in my sense of call to ministry. Many people in ministry sense a call to ministry out of their own brokenness, but struggle with that brokenness all through their ministry. I did.
As a new follower of Christ I always remained hopeful that the habits I’d developed before would be conquered. Unfortunately, I seemed to stumble again and again into pornography. I had seasons of victory but always found the battle hard and eventually gave in again.
In my ministry journey I went from a parachurch ministry, to seminary, and then into pastoral ministry. All the while, I wanted to serve and please God, but I was carrying this collar and chain around my neck from which I never felt free. My story is very much like the man in “The Chain” story who struggled only to fall again and again. I tried various ways to overcome my unwanted addiction: prayer, Bible memory, healing prayer, accountability groups, freedom ministries, and more. I would be helped for a time, but the pull was still there.
I resigned myself to the reality that the best I could expect would be abstinence from porn, but an ever-present longing to view it, a longing I’d have to battle all my life. Yet even that “freedom” was spotted with the occasional lapses followed by self-loathing.
In all my earnestness and desire for purity I could never understand why victory was so hard and so evasive. And then I discovered why. I had believed a “lie” about myself, one that pervades our whole culture. Unwittingly and with the best of intentions the church has been one of the biggest promoters of that “lie.” It’s the “lie” that our bodies are evil and pornographic in nature, and objects of shame.
Over a period of a few weeks of discovery, reading, and Bible study I learned the truth that our bodies are good creations of God, designed in His image. They are not pornographic. Quite by surprise, as I embraced that truth the draw to pornography disappeared. I couldn’t believe it. Previously I could never escape that subtle draw that was constantly tugging at me. Even though I would resist, it was wearisome to do so. It took constant vigilance and effort. But once the truth replaced the lie, I had zero interest in pornography. No underlying pull. The truth had set me free, which I enjoy to this day.
I’m not proud of my past, but now that I’ve discovered true freedom I want to do all I can to help others become free from a similar past. Perhaps this is why God allowed me to experience the journey I did. I can now be used by Him to free others (hopefully sooner than I was freed).
In His Grace and Forgiveness,
— Pastor Bill