“I love how you actually talk about freedom in your book. I don’t know of any other resource for men in this area that talks about freedom. Everybody spends so much time on behavior management, rules, and programs.” -a Christian counselor I met recently
Friends, it’s no accident that real freedom, really possible is the tagline of Unbound Ministries.
A man who struggles with porn believes that he will always struggle. I know, I believed that for most of 20 years. Every single man I have ever met who struggled with pornography or other sexual sin has shared a remarkably similar belief. And unfortunately, it usually becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. Even in seasons of victory, each man “knows” deep down that he’ll screw up again. And so, inevitably, he does. A man simply cannot act in a manner inconsistent with the way he sees himself. If he really truly believes that he’s a pervert, then over time he’ll act like one, even though it’s not really true.
Virtually every other offer/program/resource out there that purports to help men is based on results. 12-step programs (which make up about 80% of what’s offered to men) define men by their actions – the number of days of sobriety they’ve experienced. If you go to one of those meetings, you’ll hear “I’ve been sober for 3 days” or 97 days or whatever. I have a friend who is a gifted counselor, a good Christian man who worked part time for one of these programs. In his words, “I remember the day that I knew I needed to quit. I was on a follow up call with a group of men. One of them had been on this particular weekly call for almost three years. He was saying, ‘I’ve been sober for 1000 days as of today’ and I knew I had to find a different way to help these men…because even though he wasn’t looking at porn, he was the same asshole as the day he started in the program.”
Is the message of the gospel simply a change in behavior? Or is it freedom? When we talk about transformation, is it just in the way we act or is it actually in who we are? Jesus had some pretty strong words for the religious leaders of his day who “…[appeared] to people as righteous but on the inside [were] full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:28) Just two verses before that Jesus gives us the recipe, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:25 NIV)
What we believe deep down informs our actions, without question. But I’ve met too many men who were trying to ‘gut’ their way out of addiction and watched them fail to know that real transformation at the level of the heart is the only path to freedom. Unbound Ministries is committed to helping men find relationship, not simply results.
In Galatians 3:3, Paul, says to the church, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” In other words, why on earth would you think that you could triumph over any issue through your own flesh? It requires the engagement and counsel of the Holy Spirit! And a few verses later, Paul gives a recipe for finding freedom from porn: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16 NIV).
We want everything we do at Unbound Ministries to be Spirit-led and Spirit-focused. We want to walk with a man as he finds his own unique identity in Christ Jesus and then be in relationship alongside him as he walks that identity out. It’s messy, painful, authentic, and available to every man. Real freedom! Really possible!