I spent the first 3 decades of my life and the first few years of my marriage wanting so desperately to get well, but at the same time, not willing to trust the path towards healing.
You see, I was introduced to pornography in my early teenage years and became addicted to the sins of lust, pornography and masturbation. These sin struggles and addictions consumed me throughout high school, college and even into my marriage.
Even though my choices with pornography were extremely damaging to me and my wife, those decisions weren't the biggest problem. Rather, my biggest sin struggle was trying to manage what other people thought of me. This caused me to:
- Hide the negative and destructive sides in my life from others
- Let people see the good side of me
- Give vague half-hearted confessions to my wife and accountability group of men (which really meant I was lying and being deceitful)
- Not experience healing because I wasn’t trusting God’s best path for healing.
All of this wasn’t going on while I was a non-believer. Instead it all happened while I was a believer in Jesus Christ and a leader within the local church. I was getting paid to be a minister of the Gospel. I loved telling other people about how they could find freedom and healing through Jesus Christ, but wasn’t willing to trust God’s path of healing for me.
This all changed when I was tired of the half-truths, deceit, and the lies. I finally FULLY confessed to my wife and my accountability group. This was the main thing that I was missing in my pursuit of freedom and health: confession, real biblical confession. And what I found when I confessed was that those who I had hurt, not just through my poor choices with lust, but mainly because of the lies & deceit, met me with grace, compassion, love, truth and needed next steps.
Next steps included boundaries to help me fight and recovery to get at the heart of my sin struggle. Putting boundaries in place that restricted helped so that I was not always having to “fight” the temptation of looking at something I didn’t want to at home, at work or on my phone. Recovery helped me get to the heart of the sin struggles of lust and sin management, largely through a ministry called re:generation at our church, a Christ-centered recovery ministry.
One of the main things I learned is that even though I was confessing sins to the Lord and asking for His help (1 John 1:9) I wasn’t experiencing healing because I was not fully confessing my sins (Proverbs 28:13) to others (James 5:16). When I began to fully trust in God’s path towards healing, biblical confession to others and repentance, I began to experience freedom and healing from my addictions.
Here are some things that help me try not to manage my sin through vague, half-hearted confession. When I confess, I want to do it:
- Quickly – I want to keep short accounts.
- Humbly – I want to remember that sin, my sin is a big deal. I hurt the heart of God and many times hurts others.
- Authentically – I want to be fully honest, not hedging or managing information.
- Specifically – Being specific helps me be honest and keeps me from deceiving others through vague, general confession. Note: there is a difference between specific and graphic - and I don’t need to be graphic in my confession.
My wife and I have the privilege of serving with our marriage ministry at Watermark called re|engage. If you would like to hear more of our journey you can do so by clicking here. We hope that you begin to experience the freedom and healing that God desires for you so that you can experience the oneness and intimacy He designed for you in marriage.
If you are married, I encourage you to take an honest inventory of your marriage and the topics that consistently cause conflict in your relationship:
- What are the root issues behind the conflict?
- Have you asked others, who know you well, where you can grow and take some ground in loving your spouse?
- After you discover ways you have hurt your spouse or not loved them the way you desire to, specifically confess that to them and ask them for their forgiveness.
About the Author:
My name is Ryan Nixon and here are some things that I hope people know about me. I understand my need for my Savior, I am thankful for Callie, my gracious and beautiful bride of 10+ years, and I love being a daddy to Davey (6), Evie Leigh (4), and Little Ryan (20 months). For a number of years, I could be described as:
- A “closet” addict
But because of Jesus, I am increasingly becoming:
Thank you Lord for your promises in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 & Philippians 1:6.