I am an unmarried student…. Unfortunately, during my adolescence I fell into the vice of pornography and masturbation….
I began to attend a church. I thought it would be easy to leave my habit behind. I’ve tried to stop my addiction, but it keeps coming back. The guilt and shame torment me…. I was a man of prayer and Bible reading, and even preached and was a leader in my church, but my conscience condemned me so much that I resigned all of that.
I can’t go on; I have lost my will. The vice of sin defeated me…. I feel like God doesn’t hear me, and that He hates me for being a miserable failure and a hypocrite.
We are so glad that you have the courage to tell us about your struggles! You are brave and honest, and we respect you for resigning your positions in the church. By taking that difficult step, you refused to be a hypocrite.
Many people believe that, if you go to church, you are claiming to be free from sin. They think the church is a club for people who claim to be holy. Therefore, if a known sinner goes to church, they call him a hypocrite.
However, that kind of thinking is all mixed up. The church is not a club for holy people; it is a clinic for sinners. Every one of us who attends church is a sinner. Going to church and studying the Bible together helps us to recognize that we are sinners and that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is the only one who is qualified to forgive us and set us free from sin.
We all pray and worship God, not because we are qualified to do so, but precisely because Christ will accept any sinner who wants to stop sinning. We don’t have to get cleaned up from sin before we can have a relationship with Jesus; we get cleaned up from sin as we get closer and closer to Him.
You were getting closer to Christ, but because your sin hasn’t gone away, you are ready to give up. That’s because some kinds of sin have the power to addict you and cause physiological changes in your brain. If you were addicted to drugs or alcohol, you would likely expect to need a treatment program. Pornography addiction works in much the same way.
Therefore, we recommend that you find a more mature and respected spiritual leader who is known to be trustworthy and wise. Ask if he can promise to keep your conversations private. Confess that you are fighting sin and that you need an accountability partner. You may or may not want to reveal the details of what your sin is, but determine to be completely honest about how many days it has been since you sinned. When you sin the next time, ask forgiveness from Christ and then tell your accountability partner the same day. Having him to share this struggle with you will get it out of your brain and into the light. Accept that this issue will take a while to conquer, and that what matters is that you keep starting over, refusing to wallow in shame.
We wish you well,