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If you have struggled with porn or keeping any secret from a significant other, you know that telling them or confessing can be one of the scariest things you could ever do in a relationship. Your heart beings to race, you get a lump in your throat, and you might even feel like passing out when the times comes to confess. What makes things worse is knowing how your spouse is going to take the news. Will there be crying? Most likely. Will you have broken the trust he or she has place in you? Yep. Will you have to answer their questions and dive deeper into your deception? You can count on it.
I know for me, when it came time to confess I was a complete mess. I knew what I wanted to say, I had rehearsed it plenty of times in the car to and from work, and after chickening out plenty of times I just blurted it out. I will never forget the look on my wife’s face as I crushed her dreams of who I was and pulled back the curtain to reveal the real me. It was a terrible mix of feelings as it felt incredibly freeing and at the same time overwhelmingly horrible. In the times following my first confession, as I continually refine myself and strive to live the open and honest life that I need to live, I have gotten a lot better at this whole confession thing. So here are a few things that come to my mind if you are struggling in this area.
You need to know that sin festers in the dark. You have probably already experienced this by now as you have tried to keep your sin secret. By keeping your porn addiction secret and thinking that you can get better by yourself you are allowing sin to fester and grow.
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
I think we all know that the first part of this verse is obvious. We know that we should not be sinning, that’s like Christianity 101. Does that stop us? No, and the reason why is because we do a terrible job at the second part of this verse. Healing any sinful behavior, especially sexual sin, cannot happen until you expose the sin. Thinking that your porn addiction will get better in the darkness is just as crazy as thinking a plant will thrive in the cupboard. You need to bring it into the light, there it can grow and yield the fruit that it was created to yield. As painful as it might seem to expose your sin, I hope that knowing this will give you courage to do so.
Another thing that might give you courage to share your secret is the Apostle Paul’s example. When you really understand what Paul was doing when he was “ravaging the church” (Acts 8:3), then you can understand how guilty this probably made him feel as he was now preaching the gospel and expanding the boarders of the kingdom that he once was trying to destroy. Did Paul shy away from his past? Absolutely not! I pushed it front and center for all the world to see. Look at the words he uses to inspire the young preacher Timothy:
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16)
Paul knew his sin and he was forever repentant towards it, but he never hid it. Instead, he used it to fuel his new life in Christ. He used it to show others that even someone as lost and ashamed as he was can be renewed and redeemed in the soul cleansing blood of the lamb. So take a page out of Paul’s books, so to speak, and live boldly in the truth of who you are.
Finally, if you need encouragement to share your secret sin, know that you have strength in Jesus Christ. A the risk of sounding like a broken record at this point, I am once again going to turn to the theme verse of Overcome:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Here at Overcome we truly believe this is where the power to overcome sin rests. Not in our power or efforts to increase ourselves or to strengthen ourselves. True power to change comes when we humble ourselves and lower ourselves. Here is where Christ can come into your life and true power can be had. And His power is far greater than anything we could ever imagine. If you want the strength of the Creator on your side, weaken yourself through confession, “humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you” (James 4:10).
One thing I know for sure, my healing began only when I finally told my wife. I had to rip off the covers of my heart and bear my soul showing her the true me, and in doing so I stripped Satan of any power he had over me. I know it might be frightening to even think of telling your spouse about your secret sin but know that you are not alone. We have helped couples through this difficult time and if you need help please reach out. We can help. And remember, hope is real and it can be yours.