It often frustrates me that we are unwilling to talk about the dark struggles we have as people. Typically it is some sort of addictive behavior that we desperately want to escape from, yet we do not want anyone to know. Hate to burst anyone’s bubble but we all have struggled with some behavior that causes embarassment and shame, or hurts our relationships, it is part of being a human being. Anyone who claims not to have struggled is a liar, plain and simple, or is unaware of the need to resist damaging behaviors. Whether it be alcohol, control, drugs, sex, anger, lying, violence, or pornography, everyone has struggled with something.
We see public figures attempt to deny these struggles when they are exposed. We see the false persona that has it all together. When people in the limelight embrace their weakness and acknowledge the dark struggles, they gain respect. This is because we know the truth, we know the facade is a lie. When the media senses that someone is hiding something, they chase it with a dogged determination. Eventually it comes out and there is forced humility, forced acknowledgment, forced apologies. Intelligent people know a fake apology when they see one.
These struggles often relate to some lack in those that raised us. While this may be the truth, it is ultimately our problem to deal with. There is a straightforward way out of these addictions and I will address that in a moment. What I want to talk about right now is the lack of transparency with which we approach others regarding ourselves. This is most painfully obvious with pornography and its effect on men the world over.
There have been a few men I have known that claim they have never looked at a woman inappropriately. These men usually claim they have never looked at pornography. Most of them have been proven to be liars over time. It comes to light in a circumstance of infidelity or they are simply caught in the act. My experience says that a normal man will be drawn to these things. They just simply will. This is not something to be ashamed of struggling with, it is normal. It is something to address head on with honesty so it can be overcome. If a man truly does not struggle in this area at all I would suggest they consider a life of celibacy. Otherwise, face the truth and deal with it.
If you are building a house, can you do this best alone? Will you be more successful if you have a team that works together? The answer is obvious and applies to any task we take on. Teams accomplish goals, individuals labor alone. This sounds a bit trite but teams can accomplish much more challenging goals with greater stability than an individual. I have seen too many men talk about change and find themselves in the same place they were five years before. The concept of teamwork applies to overcoming addiction as well. The best way to get the upper hand on a pornography addiction is to engage other men in your life. Chances are, all the men you talk to will understand because they have been guilty of the same thing. This is a universal struggle for men. Like death and taxes it is a certainty in life, not something to pretend does not exist.
I am focusing on pornography because of the damage it does to all of us. I have seen many lives ruined and consumed by it. There are some that claim pornography is no big deal. Consenting adults allow themselves to be photographed and filmed, that is their choice, right? Pornography affects so much. It causes men to become more animalistic. It causes them to look at women as simply a source of pleasure, not the intelligent, vulnerable, and valuable people they are. It also damages relationships. How can you be intimate in your marriage relationship if that intimacy is expended elsewhere? How can you find or nurture that lifetime relationship if you are hiding in fake intimacy? The answer to both of these is simply that you cannot. As people we only have so much to give, if we spend it where we should not then we are out when we need it. It also opens children up for abuse. A prime example is all the “sexy” advertising these days using minors. Like many other things in our society, the use of minors in a sexual connotation is abuse, plain and simple.
Don’t let an issue like pornography own you. Find your best friend and talk to him. Look to your Creator and talk to him. If people shun you then it can be assumed they are not truly your friends. Find other men or women and talk, share struggles, and hold each other accountable. Live a real life acknowledging the truth about ourselves. We were made to overcome these things together as a team, do not fall into the trap of going at life alone.