I have a very big problem. I have had a terrible compulsion for more than fifteen years, and it has just gotten worse. What happens is that I take advantage of certain situations to engage in very shameful practices. I touch women without their consent on buses or in crowds.
It is a habit, but a very bad one, and it’s very hard for me to quit. I have tried to quit many times, but the longest I’ve lasted without doing it is perhaps a week, and then I fall again.
I need your help…. Please choose my case!
We are very glad that you feel guilty for your actions. Your conscience is working the way God intended. It is not only advising you that your actions are wrong, but it is also telling you that you need help from someone else to be able to conquer these habits. It is true that you cannot conquer this alone. You have been trying on your own for fifteen years, and it hasn’t worked yet.
You say that you have a compulsion. When you use this word, you imply that what you are doing is out of your control, like a disease. We have good news for you: You can learn to control yourself if you are willing to do the difficult work that it will take to completely change your life. So where should you start?
The only way to have a clean conscience is to ask God for His forgiveness. If you are sincerely sorrowful for your actions, God will forgive you, when you ask in Jesus’ Name. Being sorry, however, is not a matter of the words you say, but of the condition of your heart. Do you ever think about how the women feel if they see or feel what you are doing to them? Do you have any compassion at all for their feelings? How would you feel if someone did that to your sister or to your mother?
You may have never thought about your problem from the perspective of how the other person is affected. Almost certainly this would be because you have been influenced by pornography. Continued exposure to pornography leads to the dehumanization of women. They become objects without feelings. If you are truly sorry and if you really want to break this habit, you will immediately stop your relationship with pornography. In Case 7 we gave detailed steps for how to begin to do this.
Another indication that you are truly sorry will be when you take whatever steps are necessary to get help from a professional counselor or psychologist. Normally it is expensive, but you need this treatment more than you need almost anything else that you could spend your money on. No doubt you have many excuses for why it is impossible for you to get professional help. But if you are really sorry and if you really do want to change, you will keep looking for a way until you find one. You will spend your time searching for a solution instead of practicing those habits that are so destructive to yourself and others. You will call hospitals, clinics, and community service agencies to look for help. In one of those places you will find group therapy for men with destructive habits like yours, and in that setting you will find that it is possible to eliminate these behaviors from your life.
In short, you must prove that you are sorry by doing whatever it takes to change. God is always willing to forgive those who truly repent.1 The word “repent” means “to turn around.” If you turn around the direction of your life by completely abandoning these behaviors, then you will show genuine repentance. And God will forgive you not only for these actions, but also for every sin you have committed. He will give you a clean heart and a clean conscience.
It will be extremely difficult, but God will help you if you are sincere.
Linda and Charles
1 Ro 10:9