Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why I Engaged in Pornography? (Part 3)

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”-- Corinthians 6:18~20
In Part 2, I promised to answer the questions about the truth, “What is it? Where can we find it?”, here in Part 3. However, the more I ponder and research about truth the more I am convinced that it deserves its own series of posts. So instead, I decided that in this final part of my personal testimony, I would go straight to the main question.

So why did I engage in pornography?

After racking my brain for days – recalling, reflecting, analyzing, rewriting and praying – I came up with three important reasons.

(1)  When my classmate showed me his father’s adult magazine, my stand on the topic of pornography was still undefined – I was neither in favor nor against it.

(2) I was introduced to false beliefs that encouraged me to continue with my vice.

(3) The temptation of the flesh was strong.

I could no longer turn back the hands of time and rewrite that shameful part of my past. However, I could still sound the alarm to alert anybody who cares to listen. For even if there’s only one person could avoid the trappings and pitfalls of pornography because of my testimony then I would be happy already.

Since my problem started when I was still a young teenager let me offer my advice to parents with preadolescent children. (A separate post will be published for those who are already addicted to pornography.)

So how can you help your children battle the evils of pornography? 

Don’t get involve with pornography yourself

I learned over the years of being a father to four adorable children that my wife and I teach our children habits and values more by our consistent examples than by our words. I also learned that I cannot give to them what I do not have.

So everyday when my children are around me I am always confronted with question, “Should I stand firm now or let my children suffer in the future for my weakness?” The right choice is never easy but it’s worth it.

Educate your children about sex early on

It is my firm belief that my children deserve to know the truth about sex, and that their best teachers are my wife, and I. I believe that it’s important for them to understand sex not just from the scientific point of view, but more importantly from biblical perspective. And this has to be done soon before another person who doesn’t care about my children as much as I do beat me to it.

When to talk to your children? I believe that as parents we are the authority to answer this question since we know them more than other people do. In my case for example, the first time I talked about it to my eldest daughter when she was 9-year old, and I talk to my second eldest daughter when she was 7-year old. Their circumstances were different.

However, I do have two tips. Start with the question, “Sweety, what do you know about sex?” (Brace yourself for what you are about to hear, but stay calm all the time.) And before you talk to your child, know first what does the Bible say about sex; google it. This is more important than knowing the biology of sex. 
Inculcate to your children the right beliefs

Our beliefs shape our motivation and our motivation propels us into action. According to the Bible, we are judged by the righteousness of our motives, not merely by our words and action because both can be faked. So inculcating the right beliefs to our children should be up there in our priority list along with providing education for them.

From Monday to Friday I take my two children and one niece to their school. The travel time is about 15~30mins depending on the traffic flow. What I do to make this a quality time for them is to use this time to teach them the right beliefs by making them memorize Bible verses, and some of my own principles in life that I learned over the years. 

I cannot promise you that your children or mine will not become pornography addict. No one can because in the end it is their decision. But by modeling the right behavior, by teaching them about sex from biblical standpoint like the passage above, and by inculcating in them the right beliefs we surely give them a good fighting chance.

It is my hope and prayer that by the time when that old familiar scumbag called pornography would pay my children a visit – it will happen for sure – they will be able to say no and walk away, something that I should have done a long time ago.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why I Engaged in Pornography? (Part 2)

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -- John 8:32

In Part 1, I tried to establish that a belief is a very powerful force within us that can shape our destiny. This is a continuation of the previous post and will try to answer the question – “What makes a belief good and bad?” It is my hope that when you go away from here you will take with you something that will help you become a better person, and a better Christian.

Our destiny is determined by what we say and do now. What we say and do is pushed out from our hearts and minds by our motives. Our motives steamed out from our beliefs.

When the United States planted their flag on the moon, they became the first nation to do so (destiny). Earlier when Kennedy approved the Apollo program his main motive was to beat the USSR to the moon (action and motive). His motive came from his belief that landing a man on the moon was very possible by either USA or USSR (belief).

When Hitler shot himself at the closing part of World War 2, he sealed his fate (destiny). His unfortunate ending was the result of a six year war he started when he ordered his military forces to blitzkrieg Poland on 1st of September, 1939 (action). His motivation was to expand the German territories to the east, and annihilate the Jews (motives). These motivations were conceived from his strong beliefs that the German race was superior over other races, and that the Jews were the roots of all evil and problems in the world (beliefs).
There are two kinds of belief – a good belief, and a bad belief. A good belief leads to growth while a bad belief leads to destruction.

The belief of President John F. Kennedy led to the victory of free enterprise which was represented by the USA over communism which was championed by the USSR. It also restored the prestige of the USA in the eyes of the world. But more importantly, it paved the way to great scientific and technological advancements which improved of the quality of living in the US. Kennedy’s belief is a good belief.

In contrast, the beliefs of Chancellor Adolf Hitler decimated the population of world in which the Jews were the most badly affected, reduced many cities to rubble, disrupted the world’s economies, etc. Obviously, Hitler’s beliefs are bad ones.

But what makes one belief good and another bad?

A good belief is firmly grounded on truth; a bad belief is floating in lies. 

Was the belief of President John F. Kennedy grounded on truth? You bet. The result speaks for itself.

Were the beliefs of Chancellor Adolf Hitler grounded on truth? A big No. The outcome of the war disproved the superiority of the German race over other races. The source of all evil and problems in the world was not, and is not the Jews nor the Germans, the Americans, the British, etc….it’s sin; Hitler was barking at the wrong tree.

The truth shall set you free.

Lies led me and kept me addicted to pornography for a very long time until one night the Lord spoke to my heart a 'single' truth that kick-started my real recovery. (Click here to read about my recovery.) Without knowing that one truth I would still be fighting even today a losing battle against addiction to pornography, and my life would never have changed for the better the way it has now.

There was once a farmer with two sons. The eldest was very energetic whereas the youngest was a thinker. One day he sent out his two sons to cut two big Narra trees of identical age, height and trunk diameter. His instruction was that whoever cut his tree first would inherit the bigger share of his land. The eldest went away very optimistic about his chances knowing that he was stronger. However, before lunch time the younger son was already done while the eldest was still hacking away non-stop like crazy yet he was still halfway his work. In amazement, the old man asked his younger son how he did it? “Oh, after every one hour I rested and sharpened by ax,” the wise young man replied.

Now it’s your time to sharpen your ax. Stop and answer this question: “Where are your beliefs based on? On truth or on lies?” 

Like the younger son, you will have a brighter future if you will take the time to rest and think; write your core beliefs, and determine whether these are based on truth or on lies. Consider this as your quality time investment.

In a nutshell, your belief is either true (good belief) or not (bad belief). If it’s true then it will lead to positive growth over time whereas if it’s not true then it will eventually lead to suffering and destruction. So choose your belief wisely.

Some of you might be wondering by now what is the truth and where can you find it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why I Engaged in Pornography? (Part 1)

"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” --1 Corinthian 10:12 

In my earlier post I admitted that I was addicted to pornography for many years, and how I suffered from guilt, shame and self-loathing in the process. (Click here to read it.) What I want to share to you now is the answer to a deeper question: “Why I got there in the first place?” It is my hope that you can get something from it that will help you in your walk as a Christian.

When I was already a first year high school student, I did start to have sexual awareness early on, but I didn’t put too much attention to it; I was still preoccupied with childish stuffs. So I lived a fairly innocent existence until one day a friend of mine showed me an adult magazine he took from his father’s cabinet. From that point on, my journey towards addiction to pornography began and my life was never the same again. 

While still in the early stages of my vice I struggled with guilt feeling. Somehow I felt that what I was doing was wrong. But I was undecided. Then someone told me (to justify our indulgence to pornography) that doctors recommended that young men like us should relieve ourselves of our sexual urges every now and then because it was good for the body. And he added that all normal men, young or old, were doing it anyway. So instead of turning away from my vice, I was encouraged to continue my indulgence. When I felt the pangs of guilt again, I stifled it by going back to these beliefs and reassured myself that what I was doing was normal. 

Were my beliefs true? Balooney, right? It didn't matter because I believed it to be true.

A firm belief is powerful. 

When Jesus said to his disciples – “If you have faith (belief) the size of a mustard seed then you can tell the mountain to move and it will follow.” – he wasn’t being literal about it, but he meant it. If you and I can bring ourselves to truly believe that what we think is impossible is really possible then it will become possible.

At the start of the 20th century, there was a leader who believed that man can reach the moon and come back safely. During that time his belief was bordering in the fantasy world. Nevertheless, since he was a charismatic leader who was well loved by his people, he got the entire nation to rally behind his belief and make it theirs. All the brilliant scientists and engineers of his country toiled day and night. Finally on July 20, 1969, an astronaut from his country sat foot on the moon as the whole nation, and the world watched in total amazement and disbelief. On July 24, three days later, the astronaut and his two companions landed safely back to earth amid celebrations all over their country, and in the world. An impossible belief accomplished. That leader was President John F. Kennedy.
Unfortunately, as much as beliefs can bring upon blessings, it can also bring forth misery, and even destruction. 

Let me tell you the story of a second leader. During the later part of the 19th century, there was another charismatic leader who mesmerized his countrymen with his passionate speeches about the superiority of their race, and his hatred for the Jews. He believed that the Jews were responsible for all the problems and evils in the world, and that they were the real enemies of his country. He even published a book that recanted among other things his disgust for them. Like the first leader, he rallied his nation behind his belief and make it theirs. As a result, he started World War 2 which cost the lives of millions of people including 6 millions Jews who were murdered in concentration camps. A belief that led to a horrific ending of global proportion. That leader was Chancellor Adolf Hitler.

Friends, never take for granted your beliefs. They have the power to influence your future, and even change the world for better or for worse. The two leaders clearly illustrated it. My addiction to pornography illustrated it.

The belief I held that indulging in pornography was acceptable since everybody was doing it kept me miserable for a very long time. I didn't fully realize why. Now I know why. It was because indulging in pornography and all the vices surrounding it was a sin against against God, not to mention against my own body. My sin created a spiritual chasm between me and Him. I didn't know it then that my misery was really my longing to be with God and be reconciled with Him that remained unfulfilled. 

It didn't help that I believed that I have to be a holy person to come close to God, and that I have to be a consistent good doer – I was more of an on-and-off Catholic – to deserve God's love.
If my earlier beliefs were false, my beliefs later about God were even more farther from the truth. But again it didn't matter because I believed them to be true, and I suffered for it.
My beliefs may not change the world as President Kennedy and Chancellor Hitler did, but it led to my addiction to pornography and a life which I am ashamed of, and which I don’t wish my children to experience in their own life. 

In closing, let me leave you with this passage from the Bible,

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” -- 1 Corinthian 10:12

A single belief has the power to change a person, a community, a country and even the world…for the better or for the worse. So choose wisely what you want to believe in that you might not fall. If you think your OK, don't celebrate yet. Turn around and check if your love ones are doing the same.