2016-5_LT-Confession

My Faith/Reconciliation/Sacraments

Breaking the Silence: 5 Tips for Confessing Porn

You looked at porn.

Maybe it was the first time in a long time, maybe it was the 100th time this past month. You know what you need to do – you’ve got to get to confession. You need the grace to move forward and do better.

Only one thing stands in your way:

Confessing porn can be super awkward.

All kinds of thoughts may start to run through your head:

What if the priest judges me?

I’m the “good youth group kid,” the priest will never look at me the same way, again.

I’ve already confessed this sin before, God is just going to give up on me.

Ugh, do I really have to do this?

Relax. You are making this way more difficult than it needs to be. Confessing porn doesn’t need to be the agonizingly awkward experience we think it will be. Here is how to confess the sin (and kick porn in the face):

1. Know Why.

One of the biggest obstacles to confessing porn use is a misunderstanding why we need to confess it. You need to confess porn because silence only makes it stronger. When we speak something out loud, we take back some control. Not only that, but when we confess porn use in the Sacrament of Confession, Christ gives us grace to be stronger in the face of temptation and take steps to avoid temptation so we don’t fall victim to the sin again.

2. Be Blunt.

If you are going to confession because you viewed pornography, then make that the first sin you confess. Don’t dress it up or tiptoe around it by saying things like, “So, I, um looked at things on the computer.” Looked at what? Pictures of cats with tiny fedoras? A bunch of GIFs of Kanye West? Remember – silence gives sin power. Rip the mask off it right away.

3. Give It a Number.

A powerful aspect of Reconciliation is when we number our sins. Again, it isn’t about beating yourself up about how “bad” you are – it is about taking power away from the sin. Plus, it allows the priest to offer some spiritual counsel. If you’ve looked at porn twice in three months, the priest may give you different advice than if you’ve looked at porn ten times this past week.

4. Get Consistent.

A big temptation for people struggling with porn is “priest hopping.” You know you are a priest hopper if you’ve gone to 12 different churches this past year to see different priests for confession. You know you are a priest hopper if you’ve ever tried to peek into the confessional while you were waiting, and then left if it was the priest you saw last time. You know you are a priest hopper if you’ve been in line at a conference for confession, saw the priest you were about to see, then let someone cut in front of you so you could get a different priest. Don’t be a priest hopper. Having a consistent confessor not only is good practice, but will help you overcome porn. He can challenge you and encourage you. Maybe last month you viewed porn ten times, but this month it was only five. You may be feeling bad about that, but your confessor may offer you encouragement.

5. Go Often.

Schedule regular confession monthly. If you find yourself really struggling with porn, you may need to go weekly. That is all right. Just be sure to set aside one time, each month, that you go to confession. Regular confession not only holds you accountable, but it also provides tons of grace to fight against porn.

Finally, remember this one reality:

Sin is boring.

All sins are pretty much the same. Sin makes boring people. So, when you confess your sin to a priest he is probably bored by what you are saying. That is a good thing. He isn’t judging you or condemning you. What he looks forward to most in confession isn’t beating you down for your sins. What the priest is most looking forward to is the moment he makes the sign of the cross over you and says,

I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t let fear and silence keep you from confessing porn. You deserve to be free, fulfilled, and fully alive. Kick porn in the face. Get to confession. Live free.

For more blogs on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, click here!

About the Author

Joel Stepanek

I spent most of my 8th grade year in detention because there wasn’t a dare I wouldn’t accept. But in high school, my youth minister dared me to follow Christ and I haven’t looked back. I love all things Wisconsin, especially the Green Bay Packers. I can probably eat more cheese than you. (Please don’t dare me to prove it.) Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @LT_Jstepanek.