re-pent verb \ri-'pent\
Definition of REPENT
: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life
a : to feel regret or contrition
b : to change one's mind
re-pen-tance verb \ri-'pent-n(t)s\
Definition of REPENTANCE
: the action or process of repenting especially for misdeeds or moral shortcomings
What does repentance look like for a porn addicted husband? Is he really repentant? What if he's still viewing porn on a semi-regular basis? Or maybe just every couple of months? What if he's very angry and saying things like “get over it” or “I'm handling it” but you never see him taking steps to change things? What if he puts a new filter on the computer but every couple of weeks he figures out a loop-hole to disarm it? What if he says he's sorry but his attitude and actions make you feel like he's not? These are all questions I've received in many letters from wives who aren't quite sure if their husband is repentant of his sexual immorality. And while I don't claim to be an expert on repentance, I do have a good example of a man who has been repentant and I can share my experiences with you, along with scripture to help you in your journey towards restoration and healing.
word repent is a verb; it is an action. It is the action
from one thing and towards
another. Let me explain it using an analogy my husband often uses.
Let's say you're walking down the road and you come near a vicious
dog. He's snarling, growling, drooling, and barking AT YOU. You see
that he's not behind a fence and there's a broken chain around his
neck; there's nothing stopping him from attacking you. What do you
do? Do you walk up to the dog and try to pet it? OF COURSE NOT! You
repent! You turn from where you were going and you run in the
opposite direction as fast as you can, as if your life depends on it.
This is repentance; turning away from one thing and towards another.
In the case of pornography, you would turn away from the destructive
sin of using pornography and turn towards honoring God with your
eyes, mind, hands, and body. This is true repentance.
Repentance in a spiritual sense, also involves a heart of godly contrition or sorrow. We read in 2nd Corinthians 7:10-11, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter (ESV).” This is the Biblical foundation of what we women like to call, “you're not really sorry!” Worldly sorrow is just a grief over getting caught. It's a grief over the possibility you hurt someone but it isn't a sorrow that leads to repentance. If you're like I was, you've most likely spent many years dealing with a husband who has worldly sorrow. Every time you catch him in the act or find traces of porn on his computer, he tells you how sorry he is, he promises to change, he tries to romance you for a week, and then it's back to business as usual. No real change. But godly sorrow, now that's a whole different ball game. That's sorrow that cuts him deep in his soul; an absolute brokenness before the Lord when he realizes how great his sin is. It's the beginning of repentance. If your husband has not had this moment, what we sometimes refer to as the “crisis of truth,” then he is not truly repentant.
When my husband had that moment of godly sorrow, there was no turning back. His eyes were opened and God revealed to him the depth of his depravity; just how dark he had allowed his heart to become. And he was broken. I could see the difference, even feel the difference, from any other time of his worldly I'm sorry's. This time it was real. If you go back to our vicious dog scenario, it's like he'd run away a few steps but kept going back and letting the dog chew his hand, tear apart his legs, feasting on his flesh. But when he finally saw the truth and repented, he'd never go back to that mangy old dog again because he finally realized it was was slowly killing him.
So ask yourself if your husband is having worldly sorrow – sorry he got caught, perhaps sorry he hurt you- or if he's having godly sorrow – broken over sinning against God and desecrating the marriage God entrusted to him. IF HE HAS GODLY SORROW, he will TAKE ACTIONS to prevent himself from falling into pornography again. He may not know exactly how to go about it yet, but he will do everything he possibly can to rid pornography from his life and begin pursuing purity. He will be diligent. There has to be a drastic change in his behavior and attitude. And through Christ, he CAN be victorious. My husband has never looked at pornography again. Oh sure, he's been tempted, as is common to man, but he has remained faithful because he came to grips with how offensive his sin was to God and he cast off that sin. You must see repentance in action or it's not truly repentance.
To the husbands:
If you are a man who has recently had a crisis of truth and you are looking for ways to diligently seek purity, here are some staple steps that we always recommend to help you on the path towards victory:
Read “The Game Plan” by Joe Dallas. It is a 30-day intense workbook to help you achieve that initial sexual sobriety.
Arrange to meet with a Christian couples counselor who is educated in working with couples who have experienced sexual betrayal. Don't be afraid to ask about this! It is important that your wife attend counseling with you.
Write a letter of full disclosure. This is a letter that lists every sexual sin that you have committed against your wife (even before marriage). Don't use too many dirty details but do not be vague. This gets all that secret sin out in the light where it no longer has power. Once you've prayerfully written the letter. Sit down with your wife and read it to her. This will be one of the most raw and heart-wrenching moments in your marriage but it will be a catalyst towards healing. It's like digging out a bullet before the wound can heal. If you leave any part of it in there, it will begin to decay and eventually cause great sickness and even death. Don't leave any sin unconfessed; get it all out.
Join a support group or accountability group specifically designed for men who are overcoming sexual addictions like pornography. This will help you see that, yes, there are other real-life men who have been victorious! It is possible!! You can ask for suggested groups from your counselor or find groups online with the help of you wife.
Be humble. NO MATTER WHAT. Your sin has caused great pain and you there's no way around it. It's your fault, and she's heart broken. Speak with humility, answer with humility, love her through the anger and pain. Healing will come.
Install filters and accountability software on your computers and smart phones. (Look for our resources page for more info).
If you have any questions or need further assistance in this matter, please feel free to contact me.
Walking in Freedom,
Tags: repentance healing pornography addiction ""the game plan"" accountability support counseling ""full disclosure""
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