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Fraud: Addict

Sometimes the most meaningless mindsets allow deeprooted sins to pry apart our soul and we reap evil rewards. As we continually return to what we know, we allow these terrible roots to crack our foundation. Addiction has become part of our identity and we do not know how to be set free.

When I was in the hospital, a guy came in who had almost lost his life to an overdose. As we sat in a group, I watched him shake with a glazed look as he endured withdrawal symptoms. It was not the first time he had attempted to get off drugs. I do pray it will be his last.

Drugs are an easy target for all people to condemn because we see the destruction drugs can cause in our life. Not only do they create rifts and health issues, but drugs can lead to death. We know that, and we fear death, so we fight hard to free each person from drug addiction because we don't want the guilt of knowing we did not do enough to help overcome an uncured addiction.

If we could only see what pornography does to our souls. Some of us walking around have already overdosed. It leads us to be abusive and unsatisfied. It formulates unachievable expectations and causes marriages to end. Pornography is killing us at a rate far more significant than drugs ever could.

Some may say that is a bold statement, but on the day of judgment, don't be surprised by the final tally. I can promise more will go to hell for lust over drug use. I can almost guarantee that more than half of those woefully sent to eternal punishment for lust will come from people who died after the year 2000. The internet is a powerful thing.

Why is porn enjoyable? It is our darkest fantasies coming to life in the palm of our hand. Anything we want is available. It is not real. It is merely a pond in the desert, a mirage that makes us chase our most profound romances, shameful as they might be. We run endlessly only to discover that the pond was never there. But we keep chasing. From mirage to mirage, we sprint only to exhaust ourselves when we already know the truth. But the temptation to believe something satisfactory exists in such a hellish environment is overwhelming. We are unwilling to wait for help. We want to satisfy our needs on our own.

Some of you have had relationships end for reasons you cannot explain. Someone lost interest, or the demands to sustain the relationship were too high. I am willing to bet a lot of that is due to porn. For the woman reading who has self-respect and a desire for real intimacy, I genuinely feel sorry for you. And I would offer that same sentiment to men as well. Porn has redefined our understanding of intimacy. We celebrate movies like Fifty Shades of Grey for the elegant way it delves into the erotic nature we all have within us. But we fail to realize our celebration of individualism has only awakened a beast that will destroy us faster than we can dream.

Do you know why so many are turning to porn, nudes, and masturbation over real relationships? Because real relationships hurt. When we watch porn, only one person gets screwed, and I can be sure I am in control of how it happens. Porn can't walk away. Porn can't tell me I am not enough. A nude picture validates I have worth over every other guy. She got naked for me. Even if it isn't true, there is nobody with me to change my mind. Masturbation at least gives me some sense of control in my life.

Those desires come from a very broken perception of reality. What was meant to be a design for beautiful love has turned into a tool for deceiving ourselves into thinking we are attractive. The agent for feeling attractive becomes a weapon upon which we will be impaled as we chase unfulfilling satisfaction. Porn doesn't show us that we are enough; it illuminates how empty we feel. Porn is a warning sign that we feel out of control. We are hurting because the love we crave has yet to arrive, assuming it ever will. We are either tired of waiting or tired of being abandoned. So we turn to the only thing that resembles what we think is the most significant part of love and we take control of love like never before. It leads to destruction in the future— both on earth and in eternity.

Walking away from porn is one of the hardest things in the world to do. Because without it, we actually have to deal with the bitterness and pain that led us to chase grotesque self-satisfaction. It hurts. The wound never healed. When we experience withdrawal, it is not our body returning to its normal state. It is the soul desperately trying to find freedom. Our soul is rattling the bars longing to be set free.

We do not face our addictions alone. We are surrounded by people crippled by the desire to cover up unresolved pain. We torment ourselves to disguise the reality that someone hurt us to a layer we did not know exists. The bullet of broken love lodges deep in our soul and is difficult to remove. Porn is nothing more than morphine to the soul's constant pain. Problems lack resolution, and we end up feeling worse than before.

Porn becomes a supplement to the relationship I hope to pursue. It is never worth the cost and I always pay double the price. The girls on my phone don't leave me. They do whatever I ask. But they don't give the love that I need to fill the void in my heart. God created one wife for me. And I should stop fulfilling my heart with cheap knock-offs of false realities.

As I try to walk free, I have to face my feelings that I am not enough. I have to face the broken relationships that have left deep wounds — some deeper than I realize. My feelings of inadequacy, both as a partner and as a person, are the central battles I face as I wage on to be identified in Christ. My fears of being unattractive. My negative self-image. And the fear I will never be free of this addiction and it will make me unlovable. I have to face all of it. Or I will face destruction.

I am willing to admit I will face my pain, even if it breaks me to my core. I am scared. But I don't want to feel this shame anymore. An earthquake has opened the cell door, and I am ready to fight some demons on the path to freedom. Are you with me?

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