When I was active in my sexual addiction, one of the single largest components that kept me trapped was the terrifying thought of confessing to my wife what I had done and was doing. Early in our marriage, Stacey had caught me masturbating and the effect it had on her was devastating.I remember not ever wanting to make her feel that way again, but also not being willing to stop. So I took my behavior farther underground. Over time, my compulsion to masturbate became combined with a serious pornography problem, which then escalated to a wild fantasy life, finally culminating in an all-our addiction that included physical adultery.
Could all of this have been avoided? Of course. Over the years I have come to peace with the fact that God could have stopped or exposed me before I went so far, but He didn’t. Although He has redeemed the brokenness and destruction I caused through my addiction and sin, I don’t want another man to experience the fear, shame, or pain that I did when I knew what my actions were doing to my wife and to our marriage.
So how could this have been avoided? One huge way is through a commitment to be honest and to confess struggles & failures. For me, this is still one of the hardest things to do. Although I have experienced physical sexual sobriety for several years, I still have a really hard time confessing when I’m wrong. About anything. I still have a fearful, prideful heart that hates showing weakness.
One thing I’ve learned, though, is that there is enormous freedom and peace in confession. Just to be able to say, “I was wrong…I’m sorry” is liberating; when for most of my life it was the hardest thing to do.
Maybe you’re reading this and you are a man who is neck deep in your own sexual struggle. Maybe you were up last night until 3 in the morning looking at pornography & masturbating. Maybe your experience has gone beyond that, to chatting & exchanging pictures with someone online, or setting up the next hook-up. I pray that your struggle has not escalated to some of those extreme places. Regardless of what you’ve done, if there is to be any hope for freedom, healing, and restoration…
…you need to come clean.
(Pause for a moment while many check out… “SCREW THAT!”)
For those of you who are still reading, understand that I KNOW what it feels like to virtually hyperventilate when thinking about confessing what you’ve done. I chose not to do it. I was exposed.
Listen to me when I say…It is a blessing from God when the truth comes out no matter how it comes out. But it is worse if you wait. It is worse if you are caught rather than confessing. Trust has been broken and seeing it restored is a long road. It’s longer if those you betray have to live with the thought, “I wonder if he EVER would have said anything if he hadn’t been caught.”
Don’t put yourself or your wife in that position. Today, ask God to help you believe that confession truly IS the step that you need to take. And ask Him to make you willing to take that step.
Check back for part 2…some practical suggestions for how to come clean in a way that is completely honest but also considerate of the emotional well-being of the person to whom you confess.