By Colette Aikema:
Last week I had the incredible privilege of attending an international conference in North Carolina that was dedicated entirely to the topic of porn and its effects on society and the church. I met so many amazing people and learned so much that my mind is still reeling.
One of the speakers, Dr. Mary Anne Layden, impressed on us the effects of porn. While I had heard all of this before, I had never heard it all laid out in such a compact, concise way and in such a short time. The statistics never became a blur – instead, I was able to picture each and every percentage as an individual person. A hurting person. A deceived person. A person who needs Christ.
We heard also from a beautiful and courageous woman by the name of Jessica Harris, a female porn addict like me. Listening to her story was like meeting a long-lost family member for the first time. I felt validated, understood, and broken. A beautiful kind of broken…the kind that comes from a diagnosis after dealing with an unknown illness, a diagnosis that brings hope of healing and renewal.
I heard stories, so many stories. I listened to countless people as they shared their journeys – journeys of sexual abuse, porn addiction, sexual acting out, and shame, so much shame. Looking into each of these people’s eyes was like looking into a mirror. What I saw there were memories of pain and sin, but they were becoming distant memories. Because all of these stories ended with light, the light from the Son, our incredible Savior Jesus.
I am convinced that one could never find a room full of people who are more honest, real, vulnerable, and hopeful than a room full of sex and porn addicts. We live in the very simple awareness that we have nothing to offer, nothing to give except a past full of sexual bondage, hours of porn use, days worth of sexual acting out, and years of shame. We come to the cross empty-handed, begging for relief. And when we come together, we share the most amazing story of all: forgiveness. Accountability. And beautiful, glorious Relief.
You are not alone. I am not alone. We are part of something much larger. If, to this day, you have been unable or unwilling to come out of your dark cave and admit your sexual sin, begin now. Freedom awaits. A freedom that lasts, a freedom that heals.