Posted by: Arden Compton | September 11, 2013

Guilt and Shame

As I have visited with those dealing pornography problems, they usually come to me filled with shame and guilt. After all they are guilty of having been involved in something very shameful. Appropriate guilt plays an important role in repentance and change. If I were to go and shoplift a candy bar from the 7/11 on the corner, I should feel guilty about that. This feeling of guilt should motivate me to change. Let’s say I listen to my guilty conscience and go back to the 7/11 and admit my crime, and I offer to pay $5 for the candy bar to make amends. The store clerk would probably be fine with that. Let’s say I do everything I can to right my wrong; I humbly pray and ask God to forgive me, I even go to the police and confess my crime. I resolve to never shoplift again, and I don’t. Now let’s say 6 months go by, and pass by a 7/11, and as I do I say to myself, “I can’t believe I stole a candy bar, I am such a looser,” I feel “guilty” about it again. At this point, is the guilt serving a useful purpose? No, I am only beating myself up and being miserable for no good reason.

Often as I visit with those who feel bad about their use of pornography, even if months or years go by without viewing, they are still feeling bad about it. As I help people break free of this, sometimes they feel they are recovering too fast, and they need to struggle and feel bad for a while longer. Sometimes people say, “I did it for so long, I haven’t suffered enough yet,” or “My wife is still suffering because of what I did, so I can’t feel good yet.” I will ask them, “How do you need to suffer for what you did? How will you know when you have suffered enough? Is your suffering really serving a good purpose?”

The truth is that Jesus Christ has already suffered for our sins, all of them. He paid the full price for our sins. Our suffering will not “right the wrong” or “pay the price.” Satan wants us to continue suffering, thinking we are somehow doing something good, when really we are only making ourselves miserable (which is just where Satan wants us). There is pain and unhappiness that comes with viewing pornography because it is contrary to God’s laws. When we break a law, there is a consequence. If I hit my thumb with a hammer, there are laws in place, and it does hurt. The important thing is that I learn from the mistake, live in harmony with God’s laws, and avoid the action that caused the pain. Once we have recognized our wrong, done our best repent and give the burden to Christ, resolve to change and truly change, we don’t have to keep suffering endlessly. It is Satan’s plan for us to suffer endlessly. Back to the hammer-thumb metaphor, a bruised thumb requires some time to heal. How long a person will feel guilt, shame and pain from pornography viewing will vary. Just know you don’t need to suffer to “right the wrong.” Your thumb hurting when you hit it with a hammer does nothing to right the wrong, or pay the price for your mistake. It is simply the result of the mistake. Trust that because of Christ’s grace and mercy, you don’t have to suffer. Give the burden to Christ, and he can heal you completely, 100%. Christ has infinite healing capacity, none of your challenges, none of your pain is outside the umbrella of his infinite grace and healing capacity. That doesn’t mean it is OK to knowingly do what is wrong. This does not give you license to violate the laws of happiness and still be happy. But as you turn him, obey his laws of happiness, your suffering can stop, probably much sooner than you thought 🙂

If I can be of service in your healing journey, please contact me. I have seen many, many people struggling with pornography truly become free and live happy lives. If you are still struggling, I would love to serve you! Your life is meant to be full of joy and good things. Now is the time to make the needed changes, give your burdens to Christ, and live a happy life!

God bless you!
Arden

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