Therefore, if any man is in Christ he is a new creature – the old one has gone, the new one has come. – 2 Corinthians 15:7
I have a confession to make. I was a pornography addict for many years. Not only this, I was also hooked to the other shameful activities surrounding this vice.
After burning a lot of adult pictures to my mind, I finally asked – “What if I do this? How will it feel?” I overheard my male classmates talked about masturbation, and how normal it was for boys my age. I bought the devil’s pitch. Little did I know that I was entering a very long, dark, and miserable tunnel.
A part of me warned, and pleaded that I should stop, and don’t go through with it. However, another part of me said, “Don’t worry. You can stop anytime you want. It’s under your control.”
It was a BIG lie. I wasn’t in control. In reality, I was being controlled by lust much like a drug addict is being controlled by a strong desire for drugs.
My addiction to pornography became so bad that there were a couple of times that I was awakened at around 2AM by a strong desire to relieve myself. At that point I knew I was already way over my head. Actually, I was already an addict.
Still I believed that by sheer will power I could break free. So I gritted my teeth and willed myself to resist. But after a few days or a couple of weeks, I was at it again. After countless defeats, I gave up trying and indulged in my vice instead. But it only made me hate myself even more.
In desperation, I looked for a magic formula that would make me immune to lust in self-help books, but to my despair I found no such book. Once again I met a dead end.
Finally, running out of option, I approached God. I remember praying – “Lord make me strong enough to resist the temptations“. But it didn’t work. I thought that I was so dirty that God didn’t want anything to do with me so I availed of the Sacrament of Penance many times only to succumb to my vice days later.
I started to dread going to confession out of embarrassment to confess the same sin over and over again. If I went to confession I made sure that the setup was not face-to-face, and that the priest was not someone I knew. I was ashamed and disgusted with myself. I felt so unworthy of God’s love. I started to think that I was already a lost cause.
But God was not done with me yet.
Despite all the defeats and frustrations I met, I did not stop calling on to God for help. I never lost hope. One evening while I was in Japan for a business trip, I was watching a recorded talk by Bo Sanchez when out of nowhere God spoke to my heart – “You’re fighting alone.”
These three simple words changed the course of the battle raging inside of me. In an instant everything became so clear to me; I was fighting the Gates of Hell alone. No wonder I always came out defeated. I remember asking myself, “How can I be so blind and stupid? How can I offend such a loving and merciful God?”
That night in Japan, I cried like a little boy out of shame, regret, repentance, joy and gratitude. Spontaneously, I professed my love for Jesus over and over again; the outpouring of strong emotions from within me was so great that I might have exploded if I haven’t done so. My spirit was so ecstatic.
Then I prayed a prayer that I haven’t said before, “Lord help me. I can’t do it alone.” I felt something heavy was lifted off me and I felt so peaceful.
That night I reconciled with God and with myself, and my journey to freedom began. I wish I could say that I stopped my vices instantly, but I would be lying which clearly does not align with my Lord's will.
Before I end my testimony allow me to say something about addiction. During the time I was addicted to pornography I didn’t need a lot of temptation for me to do it; I was simply gravitated to it and my actions were automatic. And even if I didn’t want to do it I still did it; I couldn’t help it. In short, I lost control over myself.
That night in Japan, God healed me from that irresistible desire towards pornography thus giving me back control over myself. To rephrase the favorite line of my favorite Christian radio drama program, Unshackled, my heart, mind and soul were unshackled that night. Then he gave me His peace and the assurance that He would fight with me. Jesus was enough to revive my soul.
After two decades of slavery to lust, my wounds were so deep and many that it took me a couple of years to fully recover. Now I’m totally out of the long, dark, and miserable tunnel for more than 3 years. God is truly merciful and loving and my testimony attests to what the Bible has said that in Christ we are a new creature – the old has gone, the new one has come.