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.
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.