Recently, I’ve addressed how most of the church doesn’t talk about women struggling with sexual sin and the mistakes we make when we talk about pornography.
Not one to open up a can of worms and walk away, I wanted to follow up that conversation by offering ideas for how we can start the conversation. Before you think I’m not talking to you, understand this is a conversation we need to have. We have to have it.
We are the church. We are the ones who should be having this conversation.
Donny Pauling is a former porn producer (who grew up a preacher’s son) and is very passionate about churches starting this conversation. Recently, he posted this on his Facebook:
“In churches, we often complain about how our country and our world is “going to hell in a hand basket,” but if we aren’t willing to speak about topics like sexuality and pornography, we only have ourselves to blame. We are supposed to be the salt of the earth. We are supposed to help heal this world. But if we won’t even TALK about these topics from our pulpits, how in the world can we expect anything other than more pain, more shame, more sin?”
Donny is talking about pornography in general, which no, we’re not great at addressing. Then, I know, here I come telling people not only to start talking about pornography but to start talking about women struggling with it- which is awkward and Christian-culturally taboo. It’s not hard, though, and it’s not like the Bible doesn’t talk about women struggling with sexual sin. The woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery are two perfect Bible-based conversation starters. Too often, though, we use those stories to talk about Jesus as the living water and how we shouldn’t judge.
We completely miss the fact that Jesus was ministering to women in sexual sin.
It all boils down to two simple words:
Unless you are a woman waiting to hear those words, you can’t really understand the power those two words have.
Imagine being a teenage girl growing up in a Christian home. You attend a Christian school, are a leader in the youth group, and are just the perfect picture of a Christian girl. You wear the purity ring, the knee length skirts, and know you won’t be dating until you’re 50 (because you’re a teenager and 18 is the same as 50).
Underneath all of that, though, is one big, dark, ugly secret- you watch porn. All. The. Time. It started years ago when your uncle molested you, but yeah, you haven’t told anybody that either. After all, he is every body’s favorite uncle.
Your family doesn’t talk about sex except to tell you you shouldn’t have it. You have looked for help and for resources but every single one is geared toward men. You are starting to wonder if maybe you are a man. Sure, you have girl parts, but maybe you have a man brain. You feel like a freak, and are trapped by this fear of being judged as one too. You know what you are doing is wrong, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are doing it.
One day, you sit through a service and listen as the speaker talks about David and Bathsheba, or Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, something to do with sexual purity. Then, a silence before he gets ready to deliver his challenge:
“I know there are men out there who struggle with pornography…”
Same old, same old. It’s always the men. Yep, you’re a freak. That settles it. Maybe you just need to give up.
Then, let’s add: “…and women…”
“I know there are men and women out there who struggle with pornography…”
The entire church grinds to a screeching halt. What did he just say? Did he say “women?” What? You mean, I’m not alone! You mean, I’m not a freak! You mean, there’s hope!
Look at that. All the difference in the world accomplished in less than a second. That’s all it takes to give a woman hope. That’s all it takes to open a door for her to find freedom.
We have to start the conversation. If you aren’t comfortable, find someone who is. We exist. I have no problem walking into a room and crushing cultural expectations and getting real with people. If you need a man to do that in your church, then contact me and I will get you in touch with some great men who will do that for you.
There are no more excuses.
Speaking up is the best way to be the hands and feet of Christ for the men, and women, who struggle.
Other great articles from my friends at Covenant Eyes: