During our 2013 Women’s Forum, there were a variety of breakouts that covered relevant topics for women’s ministry leaders. We are featuring series of articles written by a few of those breakout leaders. This first one is by Jean Roberson, ministry consultant for Woman’s Missionary Union. The topic of pornography continues to affect women and their families. Women’s ministry can make a difference.
During the conference A Struggle for Purity: Winning the War Against Pornography, individual women shared bits of their stories of how their husbands were addicted to pornography or how a loved one was addicted to pornography. Some personally struggled with the addiction. I was wrapping up the conference and turning off the microphone when I saw many women talking in small groups. I went to see if anyone needed to talk. These women did not know each other. They were from all different places. But they were the same. In that room, God brought together total strangers, but He knit their hearts together to support each other:
“I’ve never met anyone who knew what I was going through.” “It is so nice to know that other women go through this.” “I haven’t been able to share this with anyone, and it is good to find people I can talk to.”
There is so much information available about the biologically addictive aspects of pornography. You can read about the neurotransmitters that are released and how they rewire the brain into addiction. Just as powerfully, though, are the psychological aspects. Viewing pornography and interacting with pornography is done in secret, leading to feelings of shame. When you combine secrecy and shame, you find a person who is isolated which leads to increased viewing of pornography. It’s a cycle that we all get caught in too easily. Even if your loved one is the one using pornography, you still deal with issues of secrecy, shame and isolation.
As Christians, we know that our God is not about secrecy and shame. These are tools evil uses to keep us alone and trapped. If we are going to win the war against pornography, we have to begin talking about it and confront both secrecy and shame. We so quickly run from the light that God brings into our lives, never realizing that light is meant to release us from secrecy.
The theme of this year’s Women’s Forum was Filling Up and Pouring Out. In that room I know there were many women who are just empty, isolated in their daily struggle with the effects of pornography in their lives. I thank God that He found a way to bring those women together so they could pour into each other and fill each other up in Him.
If you are a woman who is dealing with pornography or with a loved one who is using pornography, you must be intentional to break the element of secrecy and shame. Find someone who can pour into you and fill you up in Him. Keep searching until you find that trusted someone who can go before God on your behalf and walk this journey with you. If you aren’t dealing with pornography in your life, will you commit to pray with passion about this? Pray for the women who feel alone. Pray that our God will destroy secrecy and shame in their lives.
Jean Roberson is a ministry consultant for Woman’s Missionary Union, auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention. In her position, Roberson serves as the director of Christian Women’s Job Corps and International InitiativesSM. She also serves as team leader for the adult team, including Women on Mission and Adults on Mission. Jean’s role includes planning and communication in the international arena as well as denominational networking and state WMU relations. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.