Did you grow up in a Christian household or still consider yourself a Christian today?
I’ve found over the years that men who were raised in a religious household or are still a practicing Christian have trouble ending their out-of-control sexual behavior. It’s not impossible but these men do face a unique challenge.
I was indoctrinated into Christianity at a very early age. I’m not religious anymore but I was raised in a strict Catholic household. This meant praying every evening, saying the rosary, going to Catholic school, and attending mass every Sunday. I developed a very binary view of the world; something was either sinful or it was not.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not out to attack Christianity. Just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean that it can’t work for you. There are plenty of Christian brothers in the Porn Reboot program working to end their compulsive behavior with porn, sex, and masturbation. I do believe this gives me some insight into the particular struggles our Christian brothers have.
Christianity holds a very conservative view of sexual behavior and sexuality in general. Growing up I believed that sex was a bad thing because of all the rules surrounding it. I believed that having sexual relations with a woman outside of marriage meant I was doing something very, very wrong. Something sinful.
This concept of sin is a powerful idea and it’s something that leaves my Christian brothers conflicted. It holds them back subconsciously as they start the reboot process. They can accept the scientific parts of their out-of-control behavior but it’s almost impossible for them to let go of the idea that they’ve sinned.
When I was in my 20s I worked as a door-to-door salesman selling books for one of the leading publishers in the world. Our best-selling book was a high-quality study Bible. They included the Greek translations as well as a Latin and Greek dictionary to give readers deeper insight into the texts.
I spent much of my free time reading and studying the Bible during my time at that job. Admittedly, I didn’t study it because I was religious; I studied it because it was the primary product I sold. However, I did enjoy reading the Bible immensely, especially having the Greek translations alongside the verses.
As I read it, I came across the definition of the word sin. Sin is called “harmatia” in Greek, which means a tragic flaw. I’ve carried that definition of sin with me ever since because it makes perfect sense. If sin is a tragic flaw, something we need salvation from, that means sin is part of our nature. It means that we have something within us as men that we cannot outrun, escape, or deny.
This also implies that your compulsive behavior with pornography, sex, and masturbation is part of your intrinsic makeup. This is where my Christian brothers find themselves stuck. They develop the belief that something is inherently wrong with them because of this sinful nature. They believe they aren’t worthy of being loved because they cannot seem to control their sin.
The more I read that study Bible, though, the more I learned. Eventually, I realized that there was an even earlier definition for “harmatia”: to miss the mark. Sin isn’t some inherent tragic flaw in your makeup; it’s simply missing the mark. It’s falling short in some way but it also implies that you have another chance to hit the target.
Your struggle with porn addiction effects, sex, and masturbation doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. Your compulsive behavior doesn’t make you a terrible person. Missing the mark doesn’t mean you’ll be a failure forever. It doesn’t mean you can’t change. All it means is that you make mistakes just like every other person in the world. That’s just part of being human.
I understand that Christianity frames the way you view the world. I know that reframing your idea of sin may feel like a challenge to your beliefs. But all I’m suggesting is that you’re no less worthy of love than anyone else because of your out-of-control behavior. You may have missed the mark but now you have the opportunity to take another shot.
The idea that you’re inherently flawed and not worthy of love will hold you back until you challenge it. It’ll keep you from moving forward and finding success in your reboot. But once you accept that you can maintain your Christian beliefs while also recognizing some of the burdens that your beliefs placed on you, you’ll step closer to freedom from your behavior.
You’ll find nothing in the porn addiction recovery program that runs contrary to your beliefs; in fact, you’ll likely find yourself capable of building a deeper connection with God once you clear away your out-of-control behavior. Once you overcome this roadblock, your path to a porn-free life and a stronger faith becomes clearer than ever before.
If you’re struggling to balance your Christian beliefs with your reboot, come join us in the free Porn Reboot Facebook group. We have plenty of brothers who are both working through and have overcome their battles with self-loathing brought about by their Christian upbringing. You’ll find plenty of understanding and support to keep you from feeling like you have to struggle alone!