Think about your real clothes for a minute. They are the first thing people see. They give an impression: are you put-together? do you care about how you look? Are you homeless? A business woman? and so on. Now, clothes can give a wrong first impression. How many times have you driven by the ‘homeless’ man on the corner and seen a new pair of shoes?
So, let’s talk about the clothing of your spirit. When it comes to people and relationships around you, the ‘dress’ of your spirit is that first thing about your character that they notice about you. For many of us, that first impression reads like a spiked collar around our necks and black eyeliner. It’s dark, daring, foreboding.
In the midst of my struggle, I had mastered the art of anger. I was even sent to counseling for anger management in college. Not exactly behavior becoming a woman at all, much less one who claims to be a Christian! But I always had an excuse. It was always someone else’s problem or I would utter the classic:
“Well, I’m not like that once you get to know me.”
We put up these barriers and it’s almost like we’re challenging, even daring, people to come across them. Then, we feel justified for hating them when they give up trying. It’s like putting a ‘do not enter’ sign on the door and then saying, “Watch, no one will come through here” and then getting mad when you’re right.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We clothe ourselves with attitudes and actions that scream “Stay away! Don’t come any closer.’ Maybe it’s out of fear, or shame. Maybe we struggle with trust, or a warped view of love. Maybe there’s a past of abuse. Whatever the reason, as much as we want people to love us an accept us, we are giving them exactly the opposite message.
Our first step in rebuilding relationships is changing our ‘clothes.’
- Look at your list of people from yesterday– the relationships you believe have suffered from your pornography use. This is going to take some honesty and it may hurt, but contact them and ask them simply: “What was your first impression of me?” and “How have I come across recently?” Do not argue. Do not take offense. Consider this more like, “How do I look in this dress?” You are asking for an honest assessment.