user avatar

Will Using a Filter Set Me Free?

by Stephen Kuhn on April 8th, 2015 in Men, Women, Students

WILL USING A FILTER SET ME FREEI can still remember the excitement I felt when I installed my first internet filter more than 10 years ago. I was sure I’d found the solution to my struggles with pornography. I had blocked porn at its source so now, even if I wanted to find it, I wouldn’t be able to. I was finally going to be free.

The filter worked perfectly… for a day or two. Until I realized how easily I could find ways to get around it. I’d always patch these holes as soon as I regained clarity of mind, thinking I would become free once again. But then I just would find another loophole… or buy a magazine… or go to a preview booth…

Clearly the filter was not my answer to freedom. (Tweet This!)

Over the years that I’ve been in recovery ministry, I’ve noticed how most people think of internet filters much like fences. They believe (as I did) that installing one on their computer or phone will create a boundary that not only keeps the bad stuff out, but ideally keeps them (or whomever they are trying to protect) safely contained from wandering into areas they don’t want to go.

The problem with that view though, is any fence you put up around your devices will inevitably have the potential for holes. And—as I knew full well from my own struggles with porn—if an addict wants to find one of these loopholes badly enough, he will find one.

This insatiable drive within an addict to get around the filter illustrates the reason why a filter alone can never set you free. You see porn addiction is not the result of easy access to porn. (Tweet This!) Porn addiction is the result of trying to medicate deep wounds in your heart (rejection, abandonment, shame, fear of intimacy) in ways that can never actually heal them. Porn promises to remove the pain of these wounds, but it’s a lie—a cruel fantasy that will never provide lasting relief.

That’s why looking to a filter set you free from pornography without first addressing the wounds in your heart is the equivalent of attempting to build a fence around a raging bull. Each time you nail up another board, the beast will have broken through the section of fence you just finished. It’s much more effective—if not mandatory—to deal with the bull first.

Now, compare this “fence” view of filters to what the Apostle Paul had to say in a letter to the Corinthians. Paul could have followed his charge to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18) by telling people to build a wall and protect themselves from all sources of outside temptation, but that’s not the direction he recommends. Paul knew his audience had already trusted Jesus with their lives, and he knew that, as their hearts continued to be healed, their desires would naturally move away from sexual immorality. So instead of telling them to block their access, Paul simply reminds them of the truth (see 1 Cor. 6:19-20).

They weren’t being immoral because they were bad people, weak-willed, or not “fenced-in” well enough. They were being immoral because they had forgotten the truth about who they had become when they trusted Jesus: sons and daughters of God. They didn’t need to increase their protection; they only needed to shift their perspective.

Now, I’m not saying filters are useless. I still use one and probably always will. I appreciate the way it blocks inappropriate content from finding its way to my devices. But I don’t look at my filter as a fence to protect me; I see it more as a speed bump. (Tweet This!) If I do click somewhere my flesh wants to go but my heart knows I shouldn’t, the block screen forces me to pause and consider if this is truly where I want to go. It gives me the time I need to regain my senses and remember that this is not who I am anymore. I no longer need pornography to satisfy my heart’s desires because I have been adopted as God’s beloved son. Using a filter this way helps keep my mind focused on Jesus.

So, with all that being said, will using a filter set you free? No, but it can slow you down long enough to remember Who has.


x3watch.pngIf you struggle with online temptation give yourself the winning edge by installing a Premium internet filter like X3watch. X3watch makes it easier to enjoy the internet by blocking all the stuff you rather not see. Accountability and filtering has never been easier.

Get X3watch Premium today!



  • albibird

    Flesh? Heart? Could you define your terms? I’m pretty sure that your brain is flesh and your heart is a fleshy pump, so if you’re going for metaphorical references try to be clearer in what they mean. I was going to criticise you for externalising aspects of yourself that you dislike, but I can’t do that properly if I’m not sure what’s what you’re actually daying.

    • I’m using the terms in the Biblical sense that the Apostle Paul uses, not the anatomical usage. Flesh being our earthly bodies and worldly desires. Heart being our eternal souls, the source of our true identity and deepest desires.

  • summer

    My husband loves Jesus, and hates his addiction to porn. We have several times sat down to try to figure out what to do next. He always says, “add the filter” or “add this site to the filter” or “add this word to the blocked words on the filter”…. we keep building up the filter more and more and more…. and then i found him using incognito browser every morning and night for a week (our filter keeps records and showed the incognito being brought up and being closed a half hour to an hour later). I have been so hurt. It will show him trying a site, it gives the block message, and he closes the tab and goes directly to another source, google images, youtube, incognito, etc…. This was a really helpful article. Ive always said we need to deal with the root issue, but he keeps it closed off. His accountability partners both have also asked him to do some introspective searching as well. This started at a very young age for him. He thought getting married would help, that having the ability to have sex often would completely take the desire away. But it hasnt, and the porn has crippled our sex life terribly. Thank you for writing this article, as I believe it may help him to see that these filters are not working and that we need a new approach.

  • Garrett

    It’s true…that article is completely true. Even tonight when I wasn’t even planning to look at porn it hit me and I got around it…and it’s been the same old philosophy. Put a filter, use it, lose it, and put everything back like it never happened when I was done….I honestly am scared to death…and afraid…and scarred..two weeks ago I had a dream of me willingly cheating on my girlfriend of almost 11 months (who was given to me by the grace of God) and that scared me to freaking death…and then tonight when I fell (or I’ll say jumped) I had the shakes afterwards…and a bone chilling shakes at that. I’ve been part of the white knuckle spectrum of holding on and abstaining and hoping it will just go away..and it surely isn’t working. I’ve seen what porn has done to me in my own life and the places it took me, but it still lingers. It’s like it feels like the last leg that Satan himself can hold on to, and is holding onto it in such a manner that his last foothold feels like the thorn in my side…the one thing that will echo into me…the scar that hasn’t healed. Please pray for me, because I need the encouragement, and I can’t take my own hypocrisy spitting at me in my face…

Thanks, you're signed up!

Please make sure you do these two things so you get your emails:

1. Add [email protected] to your address book
2. Mark your 1st email from us as NOT SPAM

PS. If you don't get your 1st email in the next 5 minutes check your spam folder.
Find out how you can make sure our emails get to your inbox here. ×

Thanks, you're signed up!

Thanks for registering for the 30 Day Challenge!

We will be sending you an email shortly.

Please make sure you do these two things so you get your emails:

1. Add [email protected] to your address book
2. Mark your email from us as NOT SPAM

PS. If you don't get your email in the next few hours check your spam folder.
Find out how you can make sure our emails get to your inbox here. ×
You really want to exit? ×
logo XXchurch is a project of Fireproof Ministries a 501(c)(3) nonprofit – EIN 33-0823570 Privacy & Cookies Policy


PO Box 50048 Pasadena, CA 91115
[email protected]

Latest Blog Posts