By Quint Pitts, National Director, Welcome Home
I felt utterly defeated. I prayed, I read the Bible, and I quoted Scripture. I tried all the preacher tricks I knew, but I could not get free from the grip of pornography. In desperation, I fasted for three days and actually got some relief. I stayed porn-free for two months, but then relapsed and slipped right back into the same habit pattern. It was killing my spirit.
I was the pastor of a growing church, preaching the Word, baptizing new Christians, leading Bible studies, and ministering sacraments. After a year of living a duplicitous life filled with lies, frustration, and torment, I finally confessed to my staff and to the elders of our church. I fully expected to be fired. This was 1999, when people didn’t know what to do with pastors who confessed these kinds of sins.
I could tell by the shocked and disappointed look on their faces that the elders didn’t know what to do either. I told them that I would submit to whatever guidance they gave me, up to and including my termination.
Without a doubt, it was the most humiliating day of my life, but I cannot describe the power of that confession. The utter relief of having this dark secret out in the light was extraordinary. I’ve never felt anything like it before or since. In fact, I never returned to pornography after that confession to my staff. It was like God flooded my life with his grace and strength. I was surprised at how strong I felt after that simple act of desperate contrition, although maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised since God calls us to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16 NIV).
The Bible is a book full of stories like that. It’s filled with raw, compelling stories of the human experience—colossal failures and shameful acts of sin. Gritty, straightforward stories of flawed individuals. And those who humble themselves, admit their powerlessness, confess the exact nature of their wrongs to themselves, God, and another human being often experience recovery.
By the way, the elders at my church did not fire me; they decided to help me. They set me up with a Bible-based, 12-step program for sexual addiction. That was my first ever “step study,” and I was deeply impressed by the content and the process. I’m still the lead pastor at Horizons Church. Six years ago, we started our own Celebrate Recovery® program. I’m there every Friday night when I’m in town, and in April, I received my 20-year coin, marking two decades of porn-free living! Is recovery for pastors? Absolutely!