by Carol Clemans –
The lust the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life are destroying marriages and ministries. In the last 20 years as a certified pastoral counselor, I’ve counseled numerous wives who are devastated because of the pornography addiction of their husbands. (Women can become addicted to porn also, but my subject today is on husbands, fathers and pastors).
Viewing porn and sexually satisfying self at the same time causes pornography addiction. This combined action creates a self-induced chemical addiction/adultery in the brain/body that cries for more and more. The experts say this self-induced addition is harder to break than any other drug or alcohol addiction. The pictures of porn are indelibly branded in the brain/memory of the person. There is no respecter of person when it comes to addiction. If you become involved in porn, you will become addicted no matter what position in life you hold.
A few years ago, Focus on the Family hosted a radio program regarding the problems of pornography. The experts on the show said they did a survey across America of pastors. Their survey reported that at least 60% of pastors have used or were addicted to pornography. I believe the truth is much greater than that because just as a majority of sexual abuse is not reported, most people would not admit that they are addicted to porn.
This is a major secret problem within the church. I’m thankful for the few in ministry that I have counseled who were willing to admit the addiction and sincerely seek help. But sadly, the numerous minister wives and other wives who have called for help are feeling totally helpless and hopeless for the following reasons.
Pastors and other husbands who are addicted to porn will verbally abuse their wives with threats. “If you tell, our lives will be ruined. No one will believe you. You will ruin our ministry and future. It’s your fault. Our family will be crushed. If you expose me, our children will turn against you. You will never amount to anything without me.” Some of the wives have been threatened by murder. This addiction destroys husband/wife and father/child relationships.
Some addicted husbands have been caught taking pictures of their young daughters or sexually abusing them. Some try to get their wives do the ‘acts of sex’ they view on the pornography. One pastor started having an affair with a member of his church demanding that his wife become her friend and accept the affair of five years. This wife got the nerve to expose her husband. Yes, it dramatically changed her life through divorce and loss of ministry. Her family experienced extreme emotional pain because their father/leader sinned against God, self, wife and children/grandchildren.
Pornography addiction is a sin just as adultery is a sin. The Bible teaches if a man looks on a woman and lusts he has already committed adultery in his heart. So when a pastor/husband uses porn continually, he has sin in his heart and should not be ministering to others. I encourage the wives to go to her husband’s leaders in ministry and expose the problem, but too many of them live in fear of the fallout and choose to live with the sin. In their hearts they feel shame and a deadened love toward their husbands. Some of these husbands misuse the factor of submission and demand their wives ‘submit’ to them and never disclose the porn addiction.
If the addicted pastor refuses to confess his sin, his ministry will crumble eventually. Porn addiction leads to adultery, sexual abuse, same sex temptation, etc. The man does not realize it, but his body language – especially his eyes roving from woman to woman – reveals to others his problem and how he flirts with other women even in the church. Some women respond to this because they are emotionally wounded and seek attention. The Bible says be sure your sins will find you out.
Submission in scripture is based on the principle of the wife and husband submitting one to another in the fear of the Lord (Ephes. 5:21). The wife is to keep herself only to her own husband. If the husband is obeying this command – husband love your wife as Christ loves the Church – he will not be using porn and forcing her to accept it.
If the addicted person wants help sincerely, it can happen by the help of the Lord. First, there must be a genuine sorrow for the sex addiction. Second, there must be true repentance to God and to others. Third, there must be an accountable person (not the wife) in the daily life of the person in recovery. Fourth, they must eliminate the source of their porn addiction – even if this is the Internet or cell phone. Fifth, they must get involved in God-based counseling. Sixth, they must be willing to read God-based books on the problem and recovery: eveyman’s battle by Steve Atterburn, Breaking Free by Russell Willingham, Beneath the Surface by Robert Reccord. Other books can be found on www.chistianbook.com.
Every pastor around the world should address this problem. It needs to be an ongoing discussion within the church along with sexual purity for all ages and exposure of sexual abuse. I teach seminars on sexual purity for all ages including promiscuity, adultery, porn addiction, homosexuality and sexual abuse. In the church, we seem to be fearful of discussing healthy sexuality created by God and even more fearful of the sexual sins.
God’s Word speaks to these issues: Revelations 21:6-8 NLT, “And he also said, ‘It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’”
Those who are immoral and claim to be Christian are living a lie. Their idol is their sexual addiction. They love themselves more than they love God. Their lust of the flesh becomes their master.
I’ve challenged the wives of an addicted husband, “If you are covering his sin, you are enabling his sin.” I pray all wives who read this article and are living with an addicted spouse, please print/copy this article and give it to your husband. Let him know you will be giving a copy of this article to his ministry headship and you will no longer tolerate this addictive sin and allow it to destroy your life. With genuine repentance and confession there is hope for a renewed life in Christ.
© Carol Clemans – June 2012
Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor/Bible conference speaker/Christian Life Coach. She provides confidential nationwide counseling by phone/Skype (636) 448-0121. www.carolclemans.org – teaching CD’s & book, GOD’S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE.