Silencer copy

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



Bill (cycleguy) said…
Absolutely fantastic post Jay! I remember years ago there being a book called "The Friendless American Male." True words. Brothers like you are rare. Try reaching out when you are a pastor. Now there is anathema if I ever saw it.
Jay Cookingham said…
Never read that book my friend...might have to look it up. As for me, props's all the Father who moves through this vessel called my heart. Appreciate yours my brother!
Eddy Damas said…
I can identify with Sam. Even though it's been years since I have gotten rid of all porn in my life, and don't really have any immediate access to it anymore, the damage is still there. It's like a really bad image that has been seared into my mind. I fight to keep my thoughts clean, even though I don't lust anymore. But unfortunately porn addiction is a very lonely. Community/Church does help to a point, especially with the many men prayer/fellowship groups, but many Pastors are not speaking up on the subject too much, and if no one else is speaking up, I think it's because they themselves are in the same boat, but not willing to admit their own weakness. I often wonder if te pastors themselves haven't given over to adultery themselves. Thanks for posting this Jay.
Jay Cookingham said…
Appreciate your honesty brother, I don't know a man who hasn't been affected by porn...we need to be honest and courageous with each other. Thanks Eddy!
jasonS said…
I think sometimes there is silence because men don't want to face their own struggles. Like you said, every man has dealt with it to some degree and it's a mess! It is such a struggle to be transparent with others and then to be rejected on top of that? so sad. Having other men you can be open and honest with is such a key. Praying with your friend and glad you're filling the need for true friendship. Thanks Jay.
Jay Cookingham said…
Thanks Jason, I kinda feel I myself dropped the ball with this brother those many years ago...sure don't want to now!
Betty Draper said…
Bless you brother for tackling this issue and bless you for not separating yourself from this brother. The key is not your dropping the ball but that you picked it up again...all I can say is bless you. How badly we Christian need someone to help us through what ever we are going through . To be the ears and hands and heart of Jesus in their life. He would never drop the ball on any of us.
marthaorlando said…
Your friend truly needs you, Jay, and I'm glad you are there for him, but saddened by the fact that poor guy cannot find friends who will listen, love, and guide. Isn't that exactly what the church is supposed to be about? Loving one another and admitting that none of us is without sin? I pray all will turn out well for Sam in the end. Blessings!
Jay Cookingham said…
We (the Church) sure need a real solution to many people affected by this horrible addiction. Thanks for your prayers, I believe God will help our brother!
Jay Cookingham said…
Thanks Betty, appreciate the encouragement. This is a constant battle and I do believe God will prevail as we commit to His heart and His ways!

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