Over twenty years ago, I was a wet-behind-the-ears physical therapist at my very first job, and at the time I had the pleasure of working with a holy man. This man spoke often of his large family and their consistent involvement with church activities. I can say that this man lived his Christian faith, and that alone was worthy of my respect. However, I found his honesty of self as one of his most admirable qualities. One day he shared with me that he could not have internet in his home because he knew if he did, he would immediately seek out pornography. I was amazed at how easily, confidently, and with David Niles-like humility he communicated this information to me. He shared something with me that day that I had no right to know, but in doing so, he showed me again that the Christian walk is not an easy one.
Matt Fradd’s book Delivered nearly parallels the above story as people from all walks of life and faith journeys bare their souls for the world to see. After reading the personal accounts, it seems the end result of most people viewing and indulging in pornography boils down to shame. I have heard it said that shame can be toxic. For me, shame seems to be a crafty snare that binds us to our sins and distances us from God’s love and more importantly, His grace of forgiveness. Many of us today are walking around broken, holding onto our past failings even though God has forgiven us in the sacrament of reconciliation. This story by Matt Fradd openly explores the power shame has to keep people trapped, not only in a world of pornography, but also from an intimate relationship with God.
I was surprised to find that both men and women struggle with pornography as described in this collection of truthful and sometimes hard-hitting personal stories. While reading this account, I was struck by the courage that it took for these people to candidly talk about their battles with pornography and the strangling grip it had on their lives. Truly, it seems pornography is as strong as a drug and can be quite addictive. In the third chapter of this book, Peter C. Kleponis, Ph.D. explains both the emotional and physical sides of pornography addiction, as well as the chemical changes that take place in the brain, which leads to a craving for pornography.
Another noteworthy commonality from this book is that most of the people were exposed to pornography at an early age. Many people were using pornography to fill a void in their lives. Today, finding pornography as a youngster does not seem too surprising with the ease of internet access and smartphones, but before our present time, young people found pornography through television, video tapes, books, or magazines. Unfortunately, the results of viewing pornography at an early age have negative effects on the brain and can easily lead a young person down a path toward addiction. Even more alarming is a statistic that was brought to my attention from a Covenant Eyes flyer in our church bulletin which points out that “[a] recent survey of American teens showed that they believe not recycling is now a worse issue than watching pornography.” For me, that statistic is a real head scratcher. How have we, as men, let it get to this point in our society? Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Whether you have or have not struggled with pornography, this collection of personal accounts is worth a read. I think the book accurately brings to light how large the problem of pornography is for our society and how it negatively affects marriages, children, and of course, families. It is no surprise that the evil one would attack the family. The good news from the book is that help and recovery is possible, and the brave people that shared their stories are living proof. As we find ourselves in the season of Lent, let us offer up some fasting, self-denial, and prayer for all of those struggling with pornography.
By: Kent Keithly Husband and Fortunate Father