Recovering Passion

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One of the things that often happens in the lives of men who begin to fight for purity and freedom from pornography is that they become overly vigilant against Passion.  On one hand it makes sense that recovering addicts have a strong reaction against Passion because it is Passion which — unchecked — has gotten them into their addiction in the first place.

In order to play it safe and not fall back into the addictive behavior, many recovering addicts clamp down on anything that hints of Passion, sexual or otherwise.  They can become very somber, focused on their mission of cleansing their lives of any trace of pornography or the things which triggered their behavior and sent them running toward porn with regularity.

At some point along the journey, however, we need to recover Passion and get a broad, Biblical appreciation for it — even admitting the inherent dangers with Passion.  The sooner a man can enter the fray of re-visiting Passion and figuring out how to live a pure, porn-free life while at the same time entertaining and appreciating Passion, the better.

John Eldredge raises an interesting point regarding Passion in his book Desire.

Eldredge argues that when we look at the heroes of the Christian faith, they were all men of Passion. Among others he mentions, Eldredge says of Saint Augustine:

Augustine was also a passionate young man, sexually licentious, enamored with the pleasures of Rome, “scratching the sore of lust,” as he would call it after Christ got hold of him. He went on to become one of the great pillars of the church, laying the foundation for the rise of Christendom after the fall of Rome. Desire, a burning passion for more, is at the heart of both saints and sinners. Those who would kill the passion altogether would murder the very essence that makes heroes of the faith.

What Eldredge suggests is troublesome for many.  Opening the door to Passion seems extremely dangerous and potentially catastrophic, especially for a man who is addicted to something like pornography.

But the recovery of Passion is very much at the heart of the journey to purity and freedom for addicts.  We need to let God define the boundaries of our Passion, but we should not kill it.  Without Passion i cannot love my wife well.  And loving her well is crucial.  It never would have been enough for me just to stop looking at pornography. No, she needed me to be a real, whole, healed man so i could be the right kind of husband to her.



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