Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Pornography: It's Always Personal

Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Jesse James—the names in the headlines change, but the allegations remain the same. Every week another celebrity is brought low because of sexual immorality. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg—sexual addiction reaches deep into our society and takes many forms. Most of the time, the catalyst for this obsession is pornography.

Pornography is part of a multi-billion dollar industry that preys on the weak and hides behind the first amendment. It demeans women, ensnares men and destroys families. It’s often billed as the victimless crime. But it’s not—the result is the same—total destruction of another family.

It’s Always Personal

It was mid-morning when they found her leg in the landfill. Several hours later, in the sweltering summer heat, when her body appeared. She’d been shot once, through the head, and her body dumped in the trash. Who was she—another nameless statistic? No. She was my best friend, Jennifer Blagg.

Her story is inexorably linked to mine. Although our struggles took place in different states, at different times, we both had similar lifestyles. Jennifer and Mike Blagg had one child. We had three children. Both families were evangelical Christians. We attended church regularly and both our husbands held positions of respect within the church. Both men were secretly addicted to pornography.

It seemed like a safe enough, although slightly dirty habit. It’s not like they used drugs or even drank. After all, what they watched and read really had no real effect on the way they lived their lives—at least that’s what society would have us believe.

Contrast and Compare

My husband traveled frequently with his job. Pornography is easily accessible, especially in a city where no one knows you. Most hotel rooms come equipped with televisions that show x-rated movies for only a small fee. Strip clubs are an easy way to wind down after a hard day at work. Women willing to talk to lonely men are only a phone call away.

Jennifer’s husband didn’t travel as much, and although he wasn’t spending time in hotel rooms, he too, was frequenting nightclubs and bars where nudity and coarse jocularity were the norm. Both men were young and good looking, with beautiful wives. Why did they stray?

How did my husband’s addiction start? He looked at adult magazines as a young child. He stumbled onto them and those pictures are still with him today.

What about Jennifer’s husband? What actually started his addiction? We may never know. Even though court records show the depth of his addiction, he still denies that pornography was or is a problem in his life.

We do know both men began slowly, looking at pictures and watching x-rated videos, before moving onto the internet and its bottomless pit of images. Their addiction ramped up from there, easily fed anytime of the day or night.

My husband moved on to strip clubs and phone sex. But the weight of hiding his addiction became more than he could bear. One afternoon, he sat me down in our living room and confessed his problem. My world shattered. I’d had no idea about his secret life. After his confession, we sat and cried, holding onto one another as we prayed for him, our marriage and our children.

But my husband didn’t stop there. He acknowledged his need for help. He sought counseling and accountability by reaching out to men in our church. He was determined to find release from this secret sin.

Jennifer’s husband chose a different path. He insisted his Jennifer view internet images with him, claiming they would improve their marriage. Neither of them said anything to anyone about their struggle, isolating themselves from potential help. When our family moved to the same town as Jennifer, she and I instantly became best friends. I shared my husband’s struggle and victory over pornography—I never knew Mike had the same issues—and then they moved.

She and I never lost touch, still talking on the phone several times a week. Her journals show that his addiction escalated. One day she called me in tears, but couldn’t bring herself to tell me what was wrong. Her words still haunt me. “I just can’t talk about it. It’s too horrible. Pray for me—for my family.”

Ten days later she and their daughter disappeared. More than seven months passed before they found Jennifer’s body in the landfill and arrested Mike. Her daughter has never been found. The court records show that Jennifer and Mike fought about pornography shortly before he shot her, wrapped her body in a tent and dumped her in the garbage. He’s now in jail, serving a life sentence without parole, convicted of murdering his wife.

My husband still has temptation and occasional slip-ups, but has experienced victory over his pornography addiction. Most importantly, he’s taken the fight to the next generation. As our children became old enough to understand, he opened up about his addiction, refusing to let his secrecy be a stumbling block for his sons.

We have a responsibility to take a stand and expose this corruption in our society. It’s important to share our stories of temptation and triumph, empowering others to do the same. Sexual addiction can destroy lives, but with God’s help, it doesn’t have to.

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