Ostrich-Like Approach Ineffective Against Sexual Addiction in the Church, He Says

A former porn addict says churches need to pull their heads out of the sand and do more to address the issue of sexual addiction among Christians.

Mike Genung is founder of Blazing Grace, a Colorado Springs-based ministry offering hope for those addicted to pornography and resources for churches to help them deal with the problem among their own members. Genung accepted Christ at a young age, but says he started dabbling in pornography as a teenager. "[T]here were some problems in our family which included sexual abuse," he shares on his ministry website, "and I learned to cope by using sex for comfort and love."

Genung says he was addicted to pornography for more than two decades, until one day in 1999.

"One morning I was reading through the Book of First John and reading all the verses about God's grace and that God is love, and I just got depressed," he says. At that point, says Genung, he asked: "Lord, why is when I read about Your grace and Your love, I get depressed?" According to the ministry founder, "The words came right back: 'Because you don't believe it.'"

While shocked to hear that, Genung says it was the truth. "The Lord had been saying 'I love you' to me all of my life, and I hadn't believed Him," he states. Since realizing that God loved him in spite of everything he had done, Genung's life has not been the same, he says. He started Blazing Grace Ministries to help men who are addicted to porn -- and he offers himself as proof that there is hope for Christians who want a way out of that addiction.

Genung shares that he overcame his addiction by relying fully on God's redemptive grace, and also by making himself accountable to fellow believers. And he laments that, like he used to be, there are many men in churches struggling with porn addiction -- but he says freedom is possible.

"I've seen God pull marriages [out] that were moving toward divorce and change the man and heal the wife," he says, emphasizing the latter "because a lot of what people forget about is the wife gets hurt in this whole process." He cites studies showing that upwards of 50 percent of men in churches struggle with porn, and 20 percent of women are involved with pornography.

The church, says the former porn addict, must do more to confront the problem of sexual addiction because of the high numbers of Christians who struggle in that area.

"We need to speak out [from the pulpit] because when we're silent ... a man who is struggling with this shame assumes that [he] dare not tell anybody else because [he fears he will] get rejected," he shares -- from experience. He says on his website that because so few people in the church were talking about struggles with sexual addiction, he assumed he was "the only one" -- which encouraged him to keep his "dark side" hidden. "This gave lust more power over me and intensified my search for 'more and better' sexual fantasies," he writes.

And that, he says, is why the church needs to be proactive in the battle against sexual addiction within the church. "Apathy and silence are Satan's greatest weapons in this war," he continues, "so we've got to boldly get out there, tell all of the truth, provide answers, and point the sexually broken to Christ. If we play ostrich in this issue, more families will be taken out -- there's a lot at stake."

Genung recently released The Road to Grace, a book about his victorious battle over porn.

Copyright 2007 AgapePress