Dealing with Residual Memories from Pornography
Steve Gallagher discusses how to overcome the memories of sinful exposure or actions from our past.
Steve, we want to deal with a question that came in today from a young man who had gotten involved in Internet pornography. He has overcome that but he's wondering why as a believer he can't prevent some of those memories from coming back to him.
Let's take a look at the dynamic of the human mind for a second. A guy grows up and he has been wired by God, so to speak, to be a one-woman man. The whole thing of puberty and the teen years and all of that is taking him in a direction of, frankly, his wedding night. He's probably going to eventually get married and have that beautiful wonderful experience of intimacy with his wife.
So there is a natural sexual desire that God wants men to have?
Yes, it's normal. God created it. It's a beautiful thing to the Lord. It's not something that's dirty in itself. But what happens is this guy got involved in pornography and the enemy uses that to corrupt our perspectives of sexuality - that's what kind of takes us down this bad path.
Now we do have a fallen nature. How does that fallen nature play into this?
Obviously, the fallen nature is very prone to sinful thinking anyway, so when something like pornography is introduced it's more than willing to latch onto it. But it's not just a matter of that, there's also the whole element of what I would call the "autopilot of our brains." Our minds are a lot like a computer. A computer can be operating all the time as a separate operation from the user actually typing in commands. It's kind of an illustration of the way our minds work too. Our minds can be in this "auto-mode" where we're really not purposing to think bad thoughts, they just kind of float in and we find ourselves with these images that we have to deal with.
I'm glad you shared that because I know one of the problems that guys deal with coming out of pornography is that they can be sitting in church and out of the blue or out of nowhere comes this vile memory that they've had, and they weren't even trying to think of it.
When that sort of thing happens, that could very well be the enemy trying to distract the person off of what is going on in that spiritual atmosphere. The enemy can come in and introduce sinful thoughts into our minds. You know sometimes that's what it is.
Ok, so sometimes it is out of our control. Maybe it's the enemy. Sometimes it's our own weakness in wanting to pursue those thoughts. But what's the answer to the problem?
Really the overall answer is to change our thinking. Praise the Lord that God has left us with the resource to do that - the Word of God. If a guy will spend time quality time every morning in the Word of God - at least a half an hour - just really spending time, meditating on, studying the Word, it has the power to wash our minds of filthy thinking, to cleanse out our memories over time, and to introduce a new mindset. The Word of God is God's thinking. It's His perspectives on life and the more time we spend in it, the more we're going to take on His perspective. It doesn't happen overnight, but like I've said many times if you don't want to be thinking the same way you are now six months from now than you better start getting into the Word of God every day.
Speaking of the Word of God, the verse that comes to my mind is "being transformed by the renewing of your mind" and how important it is for these folks to understand that it's more than just stopping your behavior - that, of course, is critical - but when it comes to actually changing our hearts and changing our minds, it is the Word of God that the Holy Spirit uses to do that.
Yeah, let's face it, the images that we've introduced into our minds don't just go away when we quit looking at pornography - there's still that lingering effect - but the Word of God has the power to cleanse that away.
It's your experience in 20 years of dealing with guys in your own life that as you establish a devotional life in the Word of God and in prayer that those memories will fade over time?
Well, that's good news and good hope for this fellow and others, I'm sure. Steve, thanks so much.
Yeah, glad to be here.
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