Toll Free Number - 888.891.4673
  • Online Accountability Reports Can’t Reveal the Heart

    Today I received a phone call from another distressed wife that I’ll call Denise. Her husband left their marriage, home, and family for pornography, and she wants him restored.

    Denise told me her husband initiated contact with their pastor a few years ago. He wanted help, and hoped to find it through their local church. Their pastor advised him to get Covenanteyes for Internet accountability, and to set him up as an online accountability partner so that he would receive monthly online accountability reports. After some time passed, their pastor failed to follow-up, and her husband slipped further into pornography.

    Before I proceed to the problem at hand, I  want to be clear. I don’t think that Denise was blaming their pastor per se, and I don’t intend to either. However, I want to address the naiveté in this particular story.

    Online Accountability Reports Can’t Stop Porn Addiction

    Pornography is rooted in the heart, not the eyes and hands. Therefore, online accountability reports can attest to only a fraction of the problem at best. These reports can’t address the heart and mind where lust is bred, and they can’t address other sexual behaviors that aren’t committed over the Internet.

    As for accountability, it must be relational, intimate, frequent, and routine. Online accountability reports are merely one minor tool in the recovery workshop.

    Finally, I’m reminded of what I learned while reading one of our puritan fathers, John Flavel. Let his wisdom soak into your spirit.

    The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated and the best afterward; it is the seat of principles and the fountain of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be, principally fixed upon it…The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion is to keep the heart with God…It is not the cleaning of the hand that makes the Christian – for many a hypocrite can show a fair hand as he – but the purifying, watching, and right ordering of the heart. This is the thing that provokes so many sad complaints and costs so many deep groans and tears.

    From the Library of Charles Spurgeon: Selections From Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey. Complied by James Stuart Bell

    I hope that you and your household are learning to purify, watch, and order your heart with the Spirit of Christ and the Word of God.

    Before signing off, I’d like to hear what you think about online accountability reports. 

    • Do you have an Internet accountability service that provides reports of online activity?
    • How much credibility do you give to these reports?
    • Are you finding it easy to develop “relational, intimate, frequent, and routine” accountability in your local church and community? If so, how? If not, why not?

     

     

     

5 Responsesso far.

  1. Rob,

    Great article. You put a stake in the ‘heart’ of many men and their recovery system that lacks intentional relationship! God bless!

  2. Mike Jester says:

    I’ve always been a big fan of Covenant Eyes but I do completely understand its limitations. First if you don’t have truly dedicated accountability partners who are willing to call you out when they see your report than it does virtually nothing for you. Secondly and probably more important is that it is the last resort not the first and it addresses only the symptom not the illness. Ultimately we need to get to the heart of the matter to truly begin to heal.

  3. Steve says:

    You need to be balanced here. Someone could walk away from this post and be discouraged about Covenant Eyes. Covenant Eyes and other means are put in place to “cut off all access”, or at least the most immediate access. Covenant Eyes has done much to help prevent men accessing porn; do some men still continue in it, even with Cov. Eyes? Yes. Do some men who don’t have Cov. Eyes but has accountability that is relational, intimate, frequent, and routine? Yes. Those at Cov. Eyes, know that Online Accountability Reports Can’t Stop Porn Addiction, but they offer so much more than that to begin with. Some positive comments about accountability software, in particular, Cov. Eyes would be good this article. You do not want to discourage the use of it. You have not done so openly, but you could have planted the seed.

    • Rob Jackson says:

      First, Steve, I thank you for your comment, and for your concern for Christian men who struggle with sexual sin.

      You infer that I wasn’t balanced in this post, and I respectfully disagree.

      CovenantEyes is not the issue, however. Rather, we have a watered-down, cultural Christianity that places lots of emphases on behavioral approaches that ignore the stuff of a man’s heart and mind. So if anyone expects an online filter of any brand to solve the problem, he or she is naive and mistaken.

      No filter can “cut off all access,” and frankly I don’t know of any who make that claim.

      Locks on doors keep honest people out, and filters on electronic devices help those who have no intent to find porn. I have locks on my doors, and actually have CovenantEyes on my devices, but I know that both locks and filters are small deterrents to anyone who wants to violate a boundary.

      You charge me with planting the seed that would discourage someone from using accountability software. I hope that I have planted the seed that produces wiser Christians who use these softwares including CovenantEyes.

      I believe a wise person will use an online filter while realizing its limitations.

      I close by repeating my earlier claim, “Pornography is rooted in the heart, not the eyes and hands. Therefore, online accountability reports can attest to only a fraction of the problem at best. These reports can’t address the heart and mind where lust is bred, and they can’t address other sexual behaviors that aren’t committed over the Internet…Online accountability reports are merely one minor tool in the recovery workshop.”