By Joan Endicott
Walking past Victoria’s Secret in the local mall, I heard this brief and beautiful interaction between a father and his young daughter: “Don’t look, daddy!” “Ohhh, thank you, honey! I sure won’t—don’t you worry. I only look at your mama like that.” This precious little 5-year-old girl was already being taught the importance of her daddy being faithful to her mommy. I love that she was given the blessing of helping keep daddy accountable in his journey.
Dads, brothers, uncles, and all men, please know that the girls in your life are all watching what you’re watching, listening to, and participating in—and how you’re responding to it. I know a fifth-grade girl who found a magazine her dad purchased that had explicit drawings of nude women. Heartbroken, she confronted him and asked him why he had it. His uncomfortable response: “Oh…I uh…just wanted to learn to draw.” Yeah, she didn’t believe him, either, and it forever tainted her trust in her father. (Of course, we know this is true of either gender.)
[Cornell Law’s website defines pornography as: material that depicts nudity or sexual acts for the purpose of sexual stimulation. It can take the form of photographs, videos, written material, audio recordings, or animation, among other media formats.]
Having coached individuals in over 30 countries, I’ve heard horrific stories of devastating treatment from both genders. One of my client’s parents handed her over to Charles Manson when she was a young teen. Fortunately, God rescued her and even used her in a mighty way with her testimony, helping convict Manson and put him in prison.
We’ve all seen the devastation that comes with any kind of addiction. Pornography is one of Satan’s most effective tools to ruin lives, marriages, families, churches, and communities around the globe. Some attempt to excuse it by implying it’s not hurting anyone else. That’s pure foolishness. What the heart wants, the mind justifies—or attempts to. It’s proven, even by the non-religious, to be one of the most destructive habits, compulsions, or addictions there is. Like acid that eats away at its own container, pornography distorts reality and destroys the one holding it. Then the domino-effect leaves their personal and professional relationships in ruins. Most of us have seen this devastation firsthand. If you’re one of the few who have not, with just a click of a button you’ll see the horrific devastation sex-trafficking has had on countless innocent children all around the world.
This personal example happened over 20 years ago, but the fallout continues: “Ohhh, Joan, I don’t know what to do…I can’t…” The rest was inaudible because she was crying so hard. “Laurie, what’s wrong? What’s happened? Is it the kids?” I asked in a panic. “No, I found out he’s…” more uncontrolled sobs. “Are you home?” I asked, “I’m coming over!” I dropped everything and minutes later arrived to find her crumpled on the kitchen floor, rocking back and forth, and wailing so hard I just knew someone must have died.
To her, someone had—she had just discovered her husband’s infidelity and later found his pornography. If she were here, she would tell you that that was the day the relationships in her life that mattered most crumbled away.
Growing up, Laurie had experienced major traumas, and her stepfather did evil, unimaginable things—physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse. As a result, she chose to leave home in her mid-teens and ended up getting involved in drugs and prostitution. Though you wouldn’t know who she is, please be assured that everything I share about her are things she publicly spoke of and gave me her blessing to share, because she wanted God to get ALL the glory for rescuing her from it all. When she asked Jesus to be her Savior and gave her life to Christ, nothing was the same. When she shared her testimony, her gratitude ran so deep, she would weep, saying, “Look what Jesus saved me from! That’s why I serve Him!”
It’s impossible to describe the depth of Laurie’s devastation when this man she desperately loved, the man who had committed in his marriage vows to become one with her—to love, honor and cherish her until death—rejected her for another. In Laurie’s mind, that was even more proof (added to her childhood traumas) that she wasn’t good enough.
In her desperate desire to get back what she was losing, Laurie briefly lost sight of her confidence in the Lord’s leading and began down the slippery slope of compromise by participating with her husband in the same self-destructive addictions that initially tore them apart. They would both tell you they lost everything that mattered! When one person compromises, everyone loses!
I’ve met thousands of people who regret having lowered their standards—compromising—even briefly. Conversely, I’ve never met anyone who regrets maintaining high standards. A moment of pleasure is never worth a lifetime of pain. Never!
Friends, please know this isn’t about anyone wagging a finger of shame. It’s a loving, compassionate encouragement for anyone struggling in this—or any area—to know that you have hope for victory. God promises it!
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. –1 John 5:4
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. –Phil. 4:13
Every day we all struggle with living in a human body with human frailties and temptations. It’s simply the human condition.
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. –1 John 2:16
But because of Christ’s work on the cross we can have victory in Jesus. God gave us His Word as a guide, an owner’s manual if you will, to know how best to live our lives. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. –John 10:10
Our Heavenly Father is not some cosmic killjoy Who just wants to keep us from having fun. The loving guidance, wisdom and standards He’s generously given are for our protection and provision so we can, indeed, enjoy that abundant life He offers!
I love the very detailed example of Joseph’s commitment to not sin against God (or his master) and to do what was right when Potiphar’s wife, day after day, was being a temptress to him (Genesis 39). Verse 12 says he left his garment in her hands and fled out of the house. Now the word flee means to run away, as from danger or evil. It’s the perfect example of deciding ahead of time how we will handle temptation when it arises. Women who are temptresses are equally accountable.
Listen, God created us with a need for community, not isolation. We all need help. We all struggle in one area or another. My friend, please don’t listen to the shaming lies of Satan who only wants to kill, steal, and destroy everything that matters in your life. Reach out to qualified support groups (e.g., Celebrate Recovery), coaches, counselors or clergy and get whatever help you need—immediately!
- Proactively seek the Lord daily to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)
- Set up safeguards and healthy boundaries for prevention
- Stay in community with other committed believers
- Accountability: men to men, women to women
- Pre-decide what you will do when tempted
From my wounded little girl heart, I can only imagine how different my childhood would have been if those who abused me had had the convictions and accountability of that daddy in the mall.
I pray the Lord bless you and keep you as you fight the good fight and seek to draw ever closer to Him. He is a loving Father who has equipped and enabled you to live a life of victory in Jesus.
Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book at www.JoanEndicott.com. Joan is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Author and Coach whose coaching has reached over 30 countries. Meet her and enjoy her encouraging messages on Facebook and Instagram!