Why is it that the very thing we often go searching for through porn we never find?
Why is it that when we are feeling lonely and unloved and look at porn, do we feel even more lonely and unloved than before?
When someone looks at porn they mostly do it by themselves. Therefore the more time you spend looking at porn the more time you are spending with yourself. Stuck in your own head and listening to the voices that tell you lies about yourself. No wonder then that we end up hating ourselves so much.
When you are only listening to one perspective it becomes natural to believe that it is the truth. But every story needs two sides. One is true and one is false. When we get so inundated with the false statements about who we are, about how God sees us and how others see us; the truth begins to fade like a distant memory of someone you vaguely knew once.
So you look at the girls or guys in porn and believe that you owe them your time because no one would love you like they do.
Or you spend increasingly longer hours on the laptop in your room because the people who you know love you, don’t really know you, and if they did they would be so disgusted. Porn is the only place you can feel secure. The movies and pictures won’t judge you.
The simple truth of it all though is that when this is all you know then everything else can seem too good to be true. Like the slave born into confinement, you close your door to the outside world. A world which may very well be better, but which you are unfamiliar with and so is frightening.
Being honest and open with others is terrifying.
It’s also rewarding and more life giving than you can understand.
But there is a catch. Ah there’s always a catch isn’t there?
This one is a good one though.
The catch is you need to put your computer away and go looking for it.
I belong to a pretty new church community. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced before. We are pretty small still so we don’t have a big gleaming building or high tech screens and visuals. What we do have though is a group of about 30 people who love each other and are in each other’s lives on an almost daily basis. Friends who bring you food for the first few weeks after your new baby is born. Friends who help pay for flights for you to go home for the funeral of your best friend. Friends who make great coffee and have you around for dinner because you need time to not have to think for yourself for a moment. Friends who listen to you when you talk about looking at porn last night.
This exists but for a while I pretended that it didn’t. I just couldn’t believe it. Years of consuming porn had taught me that no one would care, that I was hiding a side of me so nobody knew the real me therefore could not love me. I had grown to believe that nobody liked me.
I was never around. I didn’t accept invitations or ask people to hang out. I came on a Sunday and left without talking that much to anyone. I came because I felt I had to, not because I felt I was with family.
Nobody liked me because nobody knew me. I was hiding myself from people who would love me unconditionally.
The change came when I realized that I was loved by God. Then realizing that if everyone else is messed up in comparison to God then surely they would be messed up enough to love someone like me.
So I said yes to coffee invites. I started to speak up in church when we were discussing things. People started to ask me to hang out more, to be a part of life with them. In time I have even grown to take the initiative to be the one inviting people to hang out.
Soon I discovered that I’m not the only one with the same doubts of who they are. I realized that most people struggle with the same things that I do. There were people who I thought had it altogether who needed me to help them.
The irony is that as I sat feeling unloved there were people who needed my love.
That in the times when I felt that nobody cared or would want to care; there were friends who needed me to love them.
Love works both ways.
It can never be just about what you can get from others.
If there is one thing I have learned about porn it is this. It makes you believe what is not true. That you are alone and unloved. Just because you can’t see it right now doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Time to close the laptop and go looking.
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