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Porn and Apologies: How Fear Can Keep Us Trapped

I recently wrote a post entitled, “Why are we So Sorry?” 

It was spawned by a series of e-mails I received recently from various young women.  Many of them had this undertone of fear.  After looking over those e-mails, I realized that our need to apologize usually stems from fear or blame.  So, let’s tackle fear.

Now, you may not see the connection between fear and an incessant need to apologize, but it is there, and I will show it to you.

First, though, God had to show it to me.  I want you all to know that I don’t write on here because I am some have-it-all-together expert.  People may call me that and praise the Lord if they see me as that, but I’m just a standard Christian woman.  Difference being I got addicted to porn.  Left to my own devices, I’m a bit of a wreck.  Were it not for His intervention, I have no doubt in my mind that I would be in the adult industry or dead.

As I read through those e-mails from young women, I caught on to the different fears being expressed and answered them with the truth of God’s word.  I will not lie, there was a point when I thought, “Thank you, God, that I am not captive to that kind of fear.”  Come to find out, I wasn’t actually free from fear, it just looked different for me.

What ‘I’m Sorry’ really means.

Growing up, I had to say I was sorry when I wronged someone.  I punched my brother in the face, mom made me say I was sorry (that never happened, by the way, just an illustration).  Sorry is supposed to be an expression of sorrow.  Now, it can vary in meaning from ‘excuse me’ to ‘I feel bad for you’ and anywhere in between.  We’re sorry our neighbor’s cat died.  We’re sorry the dishes didn’t get washed.  We’re sorry we ate all the chocolate cake.

Are we actually sorry for any of those things?  We experience sorrow, but we aren’t asking for forgiveness.  Sorry has really become a way for us to react to other people’s pain.  We feel bad for them, therefore we are sorry.  If we were wrong about something, we good Christian girls ask for ‘forgiveness’ we do not simply say, ‘sorry.’

Saying sorry is a way we express empathy.  It is a way we identify with the feelings of another person.  You are hurting?  I’m so sorry.  You lost that?  I’m so sorry.

The Sorry-Fear Connection

Last Sunday, I found myself in my own little sorry moment (well, it was a series of moments).  During my ten tear-filled moments in the pastor’s office, I said sorry more times than I wiped my eyes.  I was just so sorry, but what for?

My little Saga of Sorry did not end at church last Sunday.  It carried on through the week.  I needed a follow up conversation with my P’api, but their family is going through a lot right now and they were actually on vacation that weekend.  So, I waited until they were on their way home on Monday and asked if I could have ‘less than an hour’ of his time.

Then, almost everyday, I found myself apologizing for being a burden.  Apologizing if I was sounding unfair or inconsiderate.  I knew they were going through stuff.  I knew they were so busy.  All I needed was a few moments and I was so sorry to do this to them.

Do what?

I had done nothing wrong so what could I possibly be so sorry for?  I have discovered looking back over my own life, that I was apologizing out of fear.

It is no surprise that there is a lot of fear that accompanies a pornography addiction.  There is the fear of getting caught and the fear of never getting caught.  The fear of losing those we love.  The fear of never being loved.  The fear of being loved.

There’s a point when fear becomes a self-fulfilling paranoia.  

There is a point that we let our fear define us.  “I am afraid I might be a burden” turns into “I must be a burden” and it doesn’t matter what proof is presented to the contrary.  All of the what-ifs turn into bonafide, certified facts, and we fashion our own creative chains and wrap ourselves up in an emotionally dysfunctional web of fear, guilt and shame.

What I had done, and what I think many of us are guilty of doing, is I had convinced myself that I was the very thing I was apologizing for being.  I just knew I had to be a burden, so as much as I knew I needed help, I felt sorry for burdening them.  I just knew they had to be tired of me, so I apologized.  I was afraid.  I was afraid that the situation might blow up, so I diffused it by apologizing first before they could yell at me.

Fear is just one of the chains that ties us to pornography.

It sounds twisted, but if you think about it, pornography is safe.  It is what we know.  It might be dangerous and might hurt us, but at least we know what to expect.  At least we are in control in some way.  We run the show; we call the shots.  We know the outcome, and as terrible as we feel afterwards, we still know how we will feel.

Knowing other people is not as safe.  There is little known and little we can control.  We can’t control the reaction.  We cannot read their minds.  We do not know how we will feel when we leave, and the whole prospect of stepping out into the unknown scares us half to death.  So, we apologize.  We apologize because we are afraid, afraid that we truly are a burden, hopeless, and a nuisance to those around us.

That is exactly what the devil wants us to believe.

Fear does not come from God nor does it draw us to Him.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 

Fear is the enemy of love.  Where there is fear; there can be no love and where there is no love, there can be no healing.  If the devil can keep you afraid, he can keep you broken.  No matter how much people love you; no matter how much they sacrifice for you, you will never trust it. Part of the healing love of Christ is that it eradicates our fear. 

Next time you catch yourself apologizing for everything, stop and ask where it is coming from.  If it is coming from fear, remember this truth.

There is no fear in love: true love has no room for fear, because where fear is, there is pain; and he who is not free from fear is not complete in love. 
 
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