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Feeling the Shame

by Levi on March 6th, 2012 in Students

My wife and I are leaders for the mid-and-high school group at our church. Lately, we’ve been going through a series on marriage with the rest of the congregation, and this last week, we discussed sexual assault, and the shame that sexual sin often causes the victim, or the remorseful perpetrator. Despite the fact that I have heard more heartbreaking stories of rape and assault over the course of this last week than ever before in my life, the group that I led last Wednesday didn’t fall much into that spectrum (praise Jesus), and so our conversation turned more to the topic of shame in general as it related to other sins and addictions. I expect next week’s discussion – specifically on pornography – to be an even more revealing/ominous conversation.

Although “a broken and contrite heart” as King David describes it, can be a means that the Lord uses in drawing us to repentance, I am convinced that it is the Devil’s heart to use shame to convince you and I that there is, in fact, no hope of forgiveness. I have yet to come out of a conversation with anyone struggling through the quicksand of pornography addiction that has not used the word “shame” as synonymous to an ever-growing brick wall, compounding hopelessness and the fear that change is truly impossible.

For a while, I was surprised by the conversations that I would have on tour, or with the kids at home, to hear young men – Christian men – tell me that they are going to hell, fighting back tears with a shrug of their shoulders. I thought I was the only one who had believed that lie (which I would repeat to my reflection in the mirror, after the shower, time and again). But why should shame and condemnation play favorites? Why not invite everyone into that demonism? 

While discussing this with my wife and friends throughout the last week, I’ve concluded that shame is not merely an emotion – it is an identity, and it can have such an authoritative voice that it convinces people saved by the mercy of Jesus that they have fallen from that grace, as though Christ is only a powerful enough God to handle dying for their white lies, but not their pornography addiction.

It is no secret that sin breeds shame, but as Christians, our identities do not lie in the breed nor the breeder – a truth that is far easier understood theologically than applied practically. Even now, participating with XXXChurch and reminiscing of past failures, I must be careful to remember that my place in eternity or before the throne of God (or before my wife, or before my family, or before my friends, or before…) does not lie in the images regretfully ingrained into my mind’s eye. For a long time, when I would perform my poetry (“Pretty In Pornography”, for example) my entire mindset would be based upon conjuring up and reliving the torment that my addictions instilled in me – like attempting to reapply the mountains of baggage to my back so that the audience might see my remorse as believable.

I will never forget the day that a man recognized those distortions in my performance, and told me that it was okay to put on a show without procuring debt that has already been paid for. He said that it is okay to emote passion without evoking condemnation. He said that it is okay for me to call others to repentance while recognizing that I’ve been forgiven. The Bible talks about entertaining angels, and I wonder if that man was one.

May I ask you a question? What do you think God sees when he looks at you?

For me, my honest answer would have always been: “sinner, dirty, and fake.” Sinner, because I’d built an identity in my failures to resist the temptations lust provided me. Dirty, because I’d built an identity in the shame that comes from sin. Fake, because why would God call a dirty sinner his son, whether or not I called him my Father?

What is your answer? Better put, what is the answer found when you dig deeper than the textbook truth?

What if we took seriously the words of Jesus on the cross when He said that “it is finished?” Brothers and sisters, do not allow shame to consume you, but rather: allow the Holy Spirit to speak into what need not be a part of your life, and know that there is joy in repentance – both for you and for God. When shame is allowed to take hold with it’s all-encompassing grasp, it does not only act as a spiritual barrier, but as a destructive undercurrent to any physical relationship that would seek to love you well enough to discover and unmask your skeleton in the closet – as you will further remove yourself so as to avoid the embarrassment of being found out. This is why those who would say that pornography addiction is something that affects no one but themselves and God have believed an outrageous lie. The seeds of shame grow branches that stretch far beyond the soil where they were planted and allowed to take root.

“For freedom Christ has set us free…” – Galatians 5:1

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:7-9

Christian, do you want to know what God sees when he looks at you? Jesus. He is your identity.



  • Philly1927

    I am 14, seven years ago I spent the night at a friends house. My parents were out on their seventh wedding anniversary. My friend and I played a few games. Then he pulled out a DVD. He said he wanted to watch the video with him. It was multiple porn videos. Since then I’ve had a struggle with that addiction. I still struggle, but I am very engaged in my youth group, and church. I am even leading an online Bible study. Please keep me in your prayers. Thanks

  • anonymous

    Thank you so much for this. As a girl who had a brief striggle with masturbation, I feel guilt and shame, but now after repentance, I again realize my identity is not not in the condemnation of my sins – whatever they may be. Thank you Levi & Brandi. Y’all are such an [email protected]

  • Roger

    Amen! This is a subject, no, sin that is not talked about.

  • BethanyJ

    Thank you. While I know this was written for teens, shame knows no age. I have lived with shame, disgust and self-hatred since I was 17 due to past abuse and then a cycle of sexual sin that I got caught up in feeling that I didn’t deserve anything better than to be used (as that was the “lesson” that my abusers taught me). Now, at almost 29 years old with the help of God and a wonderful Godly man that He has brought  into my life, I am finally beginning to “get” the truth that I DO deserve more, and that God can truly make me pure again. The guy that I am seeing now, sees ME and not what I have done. He sees the woman that God created and not the filth that this world and evil men covered me in.  Little by little I am gaining back my self-respect and beginning to see myself as someone worthy of love and worthy of GOD’S love and I hope to be able to share that with others out there who have known the deep caverns of pain and shame–God wants to pull them out just as He is doing for me! Again, thank you so much. God is, and is going to continue to use you in amazing ways!

  • Kung_fu_dude

    I watch porn about 7 times and jack off about the same
    I think Im an addict and I’m a little bit worried as normal porn is no longer good enught for me so I have started to watch some real sick and twisted stuff like anal and fisting and gang bangs …..does this mean I’m a bad person
    I sometimes want to do this to the girls at my school ….I wander if me keeping god in my heart is enught


      OMG! I have the same problem! I had an urge to rape a girl at my school but instead went and violently masturbated in the bathroom (by violent i mean my penis was bleeding and i kicked a toilet until it smashed and then lapped up the toilet water off the floor) i would like to some day get over my vomit fetish as it can irritate my skin

      • Kung_fu_dude

        Maybe we can meet up and talk about are problems
        I think we could really get along 😉
        Could maybe recommend me a few sites most of the ones I like get shut down by the FBI 🙁

  • Johnboyle

    I have an addiction to anal porn, u cannot control myself, whenever i see anything from a picture of a girls ass on facebook to scat porn i become so overwhelmed i cant leave my room for hours, i feel i need to lick a girls ass, i love the feeling of the anal hair on my face, i prefer it if the girl hasnt cleaned her anus properly and leves stains on my face….. I need help, please someone give me advice

    • Kung_fu_dude

      It’s ok I have been where you are now …it can be a long brown rode ….but at the end there is absoulshion.
      We are all your freinds hear and I’m shour that if Jesus was hear to day he would be licking out girls asses just like you so don’t feel down

      • Johnboyle

        Thank you for your support, can i ask you some questions? How do you get the shit from between your teeth? Have you ever thought about beastuality scat? I mean donkey scat really inspires my wet dreams, have you ever suffered infections? I once got a nasty bacteriel infection because faeces got into an open wound, perhaps we could meet and discuss our fetishes/problems, i could even bring the laxative

        • Bladekill

          As answer to your qustion on beastuality…I resently bought a lage German shepherded and a donkey for that very reason …..and I have to spend most of the money I have at the dentis for high quality teeth whitener and mouth wash.
          And I would greatly like to meet up my family owns a ranch in Texas would you like to come down and “meet” the animals

  • Kewelboy

    please can you help me am addicted of watching pornographic videos and cannot stop myself! when I saw a girl bad things sometimes come in my head and don`t  know how to get ride of it! please advice me!

  • Abc123

    Thank you guys so much I’m progressing!!!! Continue 2 pray 4 me!!!!

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