Over the past two years, I have had many people ask me to explain what finally freed me from pornography. As I have pondered this question, I have come to appreciate that the freedom was not found through a practice, discipline, program, therapeutic intervention, “magic pill,” or anything else. It was found in a growing relationship of trust in the goodness, love, and mercy of God.
Since I went through my consecration to Divine Mercy, I have gained an appreciation for many forms of prayer that have deepened my awareness of the nature of God. I mentioned the word “pondering” above, which also refers to a form of prayer that invites us to take a thought or concept and “ponder” over it throughout the day (or week) in order to come to a deeper spiritual insight.
I was recently invited to ponder “The Lord’s Prayer.” The prayer, given to us by Jesus himself, starts out with “Our Father.” While each of us has to personally decide to accept the grace, mercy, and salvation that Jesus won for us on the cross, the “Our” to begin the prayer points to the fact that none of us can grow in our relationship with God in isolation. We are called to reach out to God in relationship. Remember, after God created Man, he declared, “It is not good for the man to be alone…” (Gen. 2: 18).
None of the individual tools (i.e. identifying trigger points, building distraction strategies to fight off temptation, growing the discipline of reading daily Scripture, etc.) that I had done on my own over the past 40 years of my struggle freed me from the hold that pornography had on me.
Because of this, I concluded that I was innately flawed. When I began my preparation for my consecration to Divine Mercy, I didn’t think I was going to experience God differently through this self-directed retreat. But I was wrong, and two years after completing the retreat I was able accept that I had been freed from pornography.
During the past year and a half, as I have shared my story, it has been humbling to realize that this only came by God’s amazing love and mercy. And my change of heart grew during my preparation for my consecration to Divine Mercy, when I read that all sin stems from the fact that we don’t trust God’s love, power, and desire for us to be free. Since we don’t trust God’s nature, we feel the need to take care of our perceived needs ourselves. This realization was cultivated by my closest circle of friends. It was nurtured by the many people who invited me to look deeper to understand the progress I experienced.
These seeds have blossomed into the fruits of my testimony of being freed from pornography. In other words, while our trust in God’s mercy is the most important thing, I have grown in this trust through the mercy of God working through others.
Now turning back pondering the Lord’s Prayer, we continue with, “Thy kingdom come,” to remind us that we are not going to be fully at peace until we are in heaven with God. Then, “Thy will be done,” which helps us to align our will with God’s. It is only after we have acknowledged God is God (“hallowed be thy name”) and we are not when God’s kingdom can descend. Then we turn to our requests. We ask for “our daily bread,” a line that has inspired the slogan “one day at a time,” which is common in 12-step programs.
The next request, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us,” calls for us to be in relationship with each other. Again, it is through being in relationship with each other in loving God—and not doing so on our own—that we come to know God’s mercy more fully. Lastly, Jesus instructs us to ask for the Father’s help: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” God gives us the grace necessary to navigate the challenges put in front of us by the Devil.
As we grow in our trust in the goodness, power, and love of God, we are able to allow His amazing grace to do the healing work of releasing us from the bondage sin has on us. But His mercy often comes through the presence of others, which is why we will never be freed of our addiction or unhealthy attachments if we rely on only ourselves.
Jim Gorski is a 57-year-old father of four children who has been married to the same woman for 34 years. He completed his master’s degree in social work in 1984 and has directed church music groups for the past 39 years. He remains a grateful child of the most high God and strives to trust in God’s loving mercy and His ability to provide for Jim’s every need.