First, can I admit that I get a little squeamish about some of the things that God lays on my heart to write and share publicly? Okay, being totally vulnerable, this post is a squeamish post.
I do not want to make light of the atrocious things happening to children and women. As more stories come to light, my heart is continually broken. I am praying to have eyes to see, ears to hear, feet to move, and hands to use. I missed our local rally due to illness, but I am seeking out ways to get involved. I want to be part of the solution.
All of that said, I have to address something I saw online here.
I shared this post because when I read it, I was furious. And when the author of the post challenged men – where are you? Why are you silent? I wanted to shout from the rooftops and she (assuming here) was right. Where are the men? Why aren’t they screaming about this?
In a moment of total honesty, I lit up my husband’s messages with a rapid fire text about how I pray he never returns to viewing porn and how disturbing the industry really is. Not that this is a new thing for me to bring up at random. I hate porn. I loathe it. It changes people and not for the better. I’ve never seen it make someone better.
I’ve been learning about shame and shame-proneness lately and God, in His kind way, whispered, “Shame” to me as I incensed internally and planned my own post to follow up this one. I really wanted to unload on the men I know for their silence.
But as Brené Brown (fair warning, if you don’t know her, she does cuss quite a bit in her podcast) puts it, shame hates to have words wrapped around it. Shame is the reason for their silence.
Because at one point in time, whether because they were searching for it or a buddy/coworker/sibling shared a peek, most men have seen pornographic images. And shame is powerful and shame silences us.
I make no excuse for the intentional viewing of child porn, and I am not suggesting that viewing porn is wise, safe, healthy, or God-honoring. Porn is wrong.
But we cannot shame good men into standing up in this fight. It may have been a magazine under their dad’s bed that they snuck. It may have been a movie once. I know men who are opposed to child porn, who I believe do not watch child or teen porn, but who have struggled with porn and porn addiction.
Addiction is a liar and tells them they cannot speak up. Comparison tells them they are no better. Culture tells them it’s okay, those women get paid a lot and probably enjoy their job.
We cannot shame them into speaking up. We cannot shame them into breaking the cycle of addiction, breaking free from porn, breaking the industry that enslaves so many by not funneling their dollars into that market. Shame is not the tool that will dismantle this cultural lie and the way men have been taught to think about porn.
Real conversations will. Questions. Empathy. Facts shared from a place of love and trying to understand what makes porn so addicting.
This is a multifaceted battle and I do believe we should be fighting to have child porn taken off the internet as fast as humanly possible. I do believe we should prosecute, to the full extent of the law, anyone engaged in human trafficking, child trafficking, production of child porn, and viewing of child porn.
But there are men in your life that cannot speak up over the shame that wrenches their heart and screams ugly things at them. Men that probably never searched for child/teen porn. Men that probably never commented the disturbing and painful things exposed in the social media post above because they never look at content like that.
But they watch porn. Or they have. And they struggle with those images seared in their mind, the lust and addiction for more, and they do not know how to go from addict to advocate.
Pray. Pray first. Pray before hard conversations. And have them. Have hard conversations. Be gentle about them. Have them with your husbands, your sons, your brothers, your uncles, your friends, your fathers. Be safe, and be wise, and know that shame comes with a barrier of defensive words and actions. These walls will not come down easily. But it is time to wrap words around shame and give it a name and tell shame to shut up and get in the backseat. It is time to pray for men to find their voice and to rise to action.
Be prepared for the defensiveness. Not to meet it with more defensiveness, but prayerfully seek God in dismantling it so real conversations can be had. Even my own husband makes my jaw hit the table with his comments, defenses, and thoughts about porn. I won’t reach his heart if I’m not seeking God first. I won’t reach his heart with arguments and heated discussions. I’ll just tighten the shackle hold that shame has on him. I can’t shame him out of erroneous beliefs about how porn is produced and what happens to the actors – the drugs, shame, guilt, and human trafficking involved is a lot to take in if you’ve never viewed or been interested in porn. Then add the shame of ever having watched or enjoyed it? Shame has a choke-hold on these men that we love and it is time we fight for them by interceding for them.
Men are the fiercest warriors (not discrediting all women fight for, I’m really not) but shame is more powerful than any man-made weapon you can find. Read about shame. Read about having conversations around shameful topics. Listen to podcasts. Use the knowledge to have the conversations. And I say it again, pray. Pray. Pray. Pray for God to dismantle the shame around the men you know. Pray for God to stir and call them to battle for women and children. Pray for them to recognize that in many circles, the most powerful advocates were once addicts.
Pray that what is done in secret is made known. Pray that they will be silent no longer. Pray that they will see the truth about the porn industry, and that it isn’t just children hurt by it. Pray that men will rise up to lead their families to Christ, first, and then battle fiercely for their communities.
Shame begets more shame. Don’t call the men that would fight for the women and children out in shame or humiliation. That’s never how Jesus approached someone that was in shame or sin. Use love, prayer, empathy. Pray for chains to break. Pray for freedom from addiction. Pray that the images in porn would turn their stomachs and that they would have to look away. Pray for their minds to be renewed, for the images seared in their brains to be erased. Pray for the desire to look at porn to be broken and removed from them. Pray for a better way.
Want some porn stats? Check out Covenant Eyes. I’m not affiliated with them in anyway, but they are an excellent accountability tool. Porn is so easy to access on devices these days.
Let’s normalize talking about all the ways porn is not healthy. Let’s normalize having good conversations about healthy, biblical sexuality. Let’s push back against the shame and secrets. Do it in love. Pray first, pray as you go, pray always.
Until next time,