If It Causes You to Sin?

Every man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.” [G K Chesterton]

Hello Everyone, I hope this week finds you well, as we continue to love and serve Our Lord Jesus Christ and grow in holiness by His divine grace. This week, I’d like to look at the Gospel of Matthew and specifically, Chapter 5, verses 27 – 28, “But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The Lord is very clear on sin and its detriment to the soul and our salvation. Our Most Holy Mother reiterated Jesus’ stern warning in her message at Fatima, “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” If you care about your salvation, you should take both messages VERY seriously, because your salvation depends upon it.

I’m sure you are aware, at least in general that statistics for pornography use and porn addictions are high. Nevertheless, I’d like to share some specific information with you. Keep in mind also, that this post is not just directed at men; there is a growing population of women who are also getting sucked into the ills of pornography. This vile industry has lured millions into its evil grasp and its roots are demonic. If you have an addiction to pornography, you need to get out of it or it will kill your very soul. Our perverse culture tells us that pornography can enhance your sexual life – this is a lie built by an industry that preys on the weak and vulnerable for profit.

If you are married, it will poison your marriage bed and it will destroy the covenant you established with your spouse on your wedding day. If you are single, it will take over your life and it will distort your view of true womanhood and manhood, relationships and marriage.

Let me be absolutely clear (speaking from my own experience) – there is no such thing as casual pornographic use. Like any drug, it alters the brain chemically. As you fall deeper into this addiction, soft porn will no longer be enough. You’ll seek harder and harder material to satisfy your addiction, but it will never, ever be enough. According to site Fight the New Drug, “porn happens to be fantastic at forming new, long-lasting pathways in the brain. In fact, porn is such a ferocious competitor that hardly any other activity can compete with it, including actual sex with a real partner.  That’s right, porn can actually overpower the brain’s natural ability to have real sex! Why? As Dr. Norman Doidge, a researcher at Columbia University, explains, porn creates the perfect conditions and triggers the release of the right chemicals to make lasting changes in the brain.” [How Porn Changes the Brain – https://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-changes-the-brain/] This site is an excellent resource as to how pornography retrains the brain. I would suggest reading the entire article and downloading the full material. Like a vortex, pornography will suck you in and spin your life out of control. You’ll look in the mirror one day, as I did and wonder who you are and how you ever got here. You will beg for God’s mercy and help, but you may, like me, hit the ground violently and painfully before you realize that 1. This is no way to live and 2. God wants so much more for you. I beg you – if you are an addict, do whatever is necessary to get out. If that means getting rid of your home computer or whatever device or getting filtering software then do it and do it today – the sooner the better. Once trapped, men especially become easy prey for Satan and his demons to devour.

Statistically, one-third of men between the ages of 18 and 30 are addicted to pornography; that’s 21 million men worldwide. I’d call that an epidemic. According to The Barna Group’s 2014 and 2016 studies, the numbers are staggering:

Among Men:

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel – Final Judgment. Man (lower right) being pulled into Hell by his testicles symbolizing his lust and it’s eternal consequences.

63% of men ages 18 – 30 viewed inappropriate sites several times per week.

77% of men ages 31 – 49 have viewed inappropriate sites while at work.

35% of this group violated their marital vows with infidelity.

Among Women:

76% of women ages 18 – 30 viewed sites at least once a month.

21% in the same range viewed sites several times a week.

25% of married women viewed sites at least once per month.

According to priests with whom I have discussed this topic, lust is the greatest sin confessed by men. To both men and women, please know that you are not alone. Remember that Jesus loves you as you currently are, but His love for you is so great that He refuses to leave you that way. Recall His conversation with Peter on the shore shortly before he ascended into Heaven, “Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.” [John 21: 15 – 17]

Altarpiece on the altar of St. Anthony the Great – Church of Saint Michael, Stitar, Croatia

What you may not know about this verse is that it is not translated well into English. In Greek, there are three words for love, philos – friendship/brotherly love, Eros – intimate love that can exist between men and women and between friends. Many men and women share a bond with each other or the same sex that fall here. It’s not homosexuality, but a deep intimate peer love. Many of our perceptions of love have become so distorted by the current culture that we view intimacy always as all sexual; this is not correct. Intimacy can be deeply loving between friends without the latter. The final type of love is Agape – selfless, unconditional, sacrificial love. In the verse above the correct interpretation follows: Jesus said to Peter, 1. Peter do you philos love me (friendship). The second time, Jesus asks, Peter, do you eros love me meaning, do you love me deeply in the relationship we share intimately? Peter replied, yes Lord, I philos love you. Peter could not yet reach that level of intimacy with Jesus. Finally, Jesus returned with, Peter, do you eros love me. He accepted Peter where he was at that moment, but as we know, Peter grew in faith and love for Jesus, eventually being crucified upside down, seeing right side up crucifixion as too impious for him.

Satan knows our weaknesses and just how and where to attack us. This filth is everywhere and what was once seen as something only creepy men were “into” it has now become mainstream and accepted by many as the norm. Like many struggles in life, you must fight against this. There is help and you can overcome this, but you cannot do it alone. If you’re ashamed and are stuck in a rut, go to confession. If you have to see a priest often in the beginning, then do it. Pray the Rosary daily or multiple times a day. Offer your struggles to God in reparation for the sins of the world and in solace to the Immaculate hearts of Jesus and Mary. At the bottom of this post, I’ve posted some resources.

Above all, please, please don’t deny yourself confession out of shame. Most priests have heard most everything by their sixth month after ordination. Additionally, this is where the devil wants you. He wants your soul in hell forever. He will first tempt you and then drive a spike though your heart telling you that you are a worthless, filthy person. Remember that we all fail, but like St. Peter, we must seek humility and reconcile with Jesus. To begin, a fear of Hell is a valid reason for reconciliation, but the hope is eventually, as you grow in love for the Lord, you will avoid sin out of a fear of God – a love so intimate that offending Him would drive you to weeping and the deepest of sorrows.

Before I get to resources, here are some important points. Initially avoiding poisonous sites and any form of lust will be brutally difficult and even perhaps painful – fight anyway and offer it up to the Lord in reparation for your sin and for the salvation of souls. Avoid the near-near occasion of sin meaning if you see something tempting, look away. If you’re in a position to do so (not driving, operating dangerous equipment or doing something dangerous) close your eyes and pray. There are many prayers, like this one to Our Lady, “Mother Mary, be a mother to me now!” Pray from your heart and with conviction. Say an Our Father or two or three or whatever you need and picture Jesus on the cross dying to save you. Go to my post on The Intimate Rosary and pray while looking at the posted images of our suffering Lord. Ask, St. Maximilian Kolbe to intercede for you; he is the patron saint of addicts, “Saint Maximilian Kolbe, you are honored as the patron saint of all addictions. You lived your life with a love for humanity and even in your final days never rejected your dedication and actions. You exemplify God’s brilliance and restore faith in mankind. I ask for your help in dealing with my condition so that I may regain control to live my life with a clear mind and a healthy body, now and until my final days.” Amen

As a final note, keep in mind that this cesspool of adult pornography has an even darker underbelly. It also feeds and supports child pornography, child abductions, child and adult sex rings and prostitution. The equally sad reality is that most people involved in this industry are not there by choice. Most are drug addicts and are affected with multiple STD’s. Many were abandoned as children, were, or are homeless or were sexually assaulted themselves. Drive this into your mind and remember it the next time you are tempted.

If you need an email friend or an accountability partner, let me know; I will journey with you, but I will strictly move you toward confession, reconciliation and sobriety, because the stakes are high and God did not create you for this. Please also keep me in your prayers with this post. I know Satan is going to attack me severely because of this; he has in the past as I’ve helped others on their journey toward faithful purity.

If you wish to reach me privately, please email petegforchrist@gmail.com.

God Love You!

Greg

Resources:

Winning the Battle for Sexual Purity: Straight Talk with Men About Love and Life ~ Christopher West

Be A Man!: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be ~ Fr. Larry Richards

Covenant Eyes

Netmop/Security Wizard – If you are single, this is great to completely lock down your computer.

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