i was talking with a friend the other day when i was reminded of a particularly damaging effect of pornography addiction: the more you give yourself to it, the more you see women either as objects of lust or objects of loathing.
Pornographers will argue otherwise, but in the end — in that world — women have one purpose: To please men. Those who are not pleasing, whatever the reason, are despised; they become objects of loathing.
And so, the men who spend their time letting their thoughts be shaped by porn culture begin relating to women from either a position of lust, or loathing.
i remember when i was hit between the eyes with this reality shortly after my Confession. My wife challenged me strongly, based on something she was reading in a book about marriage called Sacred Marriage.
One day, she handed me the book, told me what page to read, and i was done in. It only took the author, Gary Thomas, a few paragraphs to cut me to the quick.
i became unable to avoid the reality of it: i either viewed women as objects of Lust or as objects of Loathing. i was forced to pray about it; i was forced to recognize it each time the attitude rose to the surface in my life; and i was forced to a humble place of feeling dirty before God.
i was truly ashamed of myself.
i asked Him to change the way i viewed women. and i kept asking.
Then, as God often does, He started bringing all sorts of women into my world as a way to force me to practice developing the right attitude — a loving attitude — towards women.
i learned how to see them through eyes of Love, not lust. i learned compassion, instead of despising those who seemed unattractive or annoying.
i remember one encounter vividly: i was in line at a convenience store, and when i got to the cashier, i saw that the woman was clearly somewhat developmentally delayed. She may have had a mild case of Downs, or something like that. she was entirely capable of the job, but was definitely not one of the world’s “beautiful people.” Immediately, my heart welled with a combination of sadness for her developmental delay; compassion for her; and admiration. i remember thinking: “She is beautiful.” When i got to my car i started crying.
God was changing me into a man who knew how to love. The defects in my orientation towards women — which is a shared condition among porn addicts — can only be changed by repeatedly bringing our brokenness to God in times of prayer; usually, anguished prayer.
But the healing He brings is tremendous.