I had coffee with Sam (not his real name) recently; Sam and I were trying to catch up after a few years of minimum contact with each other. As it often goes with life, our circles cease to cross or even touch. He went to his church and I went to mine, and there were no social events that overlapped both of our very separate lives.
I can’t say that we were deep friends when we attended the same church together but Sam was a very likeable guy, he invited friendship. We had coffee many times, talked in depth about marriage, family and work, the usual subjects of men drinking multiple cups of Java converse about. We connected and I liked getting to know him, even when he exposed a secret that he thought would scare me off. Sam wanted to talk about his addiction, one that didn’t go over well in the church men’s groups he tried to connect with.
Sam was addicted to porn.
He was brutally honest about this addiction, desiring help to beat this demon down and be free of it. Instead of scaring me off, it broke my heart that he seemed alone in his battle. Over the course of a few months we met over coffee, we talked, prayed and addressed issues connected to his addiction. We set up accountability checkpoints and attempted to enlist other men to draw along side him…but nothing seemed to click with other men and it frustrated me.
Where were the other brothers?
My family eventually left that church and settled in the church where I now pastor. As I said earlier, Sam and I drifted and lost contact. Eight years later and once again Sam is sitting across the table from me and his words hurt my heart. Sam tells me…
“Jay…I don’t have any friends”
Sam is in his early 50’s and he feels friendless…alone in his battle. This is the great tragedy of many men; their hearts are vacant and isolated. If nature abhors a vacuum, more so a man’s heart…it will try to fill it somehow. Sam fills his with porn.
He knows its sin, he knows it’s an addiction, he knows he needs help and he knows he can’t do it alone. He loves God, loves his family and feels absolutely horrible about his actions and yet 8 years later…he still can’t connect with men from his church. When he brings up his issue with them, the group grows quiet and unresponsive…no insight, no acknowledgement of similar struggles...nothing.
It is the great silencer… isolated even when in a group…and he retreats deeper in the sinkhole of addiction.
Sam and I have entered the fight together once again but my point is this. Look around your church, there is a “Sam” in your midst and he needs you to drop your guard and fight alongside him. Silence is a killer and destroys the brotherhood of our hearts. Your “Sam” needs a place where his voice doesn’t invoke shame but invites standing with him in his battle. Yeah, it just might expose your own wounds, your own issues… that my brother is a good thing. Men like Sam, when freedom comes, they will fight the gates of hell for yours. We all need a brother like that.
Back to back, shoulder to shoulder…no man gets left behind. Let’s do this.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17