Brian Kissinger

Broken Chains: Freedom from Porn is Possible

As a youth minister, when I speak with teens and hear how desperately they want to be free from sin, I have hope. I’m convinced that no sin, no addiction, no past, and no shame is too big for Jesus to overcome. I know that His power is real because I’ve experienced it in my own life. The good news of what Jesus can do isn’t just a bunch of ideas or catchphrases that I’d like to promote; I’m just here to share how He’s brought freedom and hope into my life.

Despite my best efforts, my countless promises and failed attempts to stop looking at porn as a teen, I was held bound by this sin that I had picked up just before I started high school.

It was Saturday night at a Steubenville Youth Conference when Jesus broke through. The Eucharistic procession had just finished, and I was pretty sure I had missed out.

Lots of holy looking teens (cross clappers and Jesus-shirt-wearers) were crying, smiling, or just swaying with other holy looking teens. Even my friends who I knew weren’t that holy were crying, so I figured something was wrong with me.

The speaker that night talked about how Jesus had the power to bring freedom into our lives. It wasn’t really a theme I could relate to, but I knew there were other teens out there that really needed to hear the message. They were struggling with real problems like drugs and sex, but I was a pretty good kid. I wasn’t perfect, but the whole “ask Jesus to set you free” thing didn’t resonate because I didn’t think I needed freedom.

I don’t know if it was my conscience, the Holy Spirit, or a combination of the two, but in that moment I was reminded of this one issue in my life. I had struggled with pornography for the past year or two. I knew that it was sinful, and several times I had promised myself that I wouldn’t go back to it, but I couldn’t quit.

Right then, I prayed the most genuine prayer I had ever said. It was short, it was silent, and it was something like, “Jesus, if you can really bring freedom, then please get rid of the porn in my life. I can’t stop on my own, so I’m asking you to take it away. I’m tired of going back to it.”

And then nothing happened. I didn’t hear Morgan Freeman’s voice from the sky. I still wasn’t crying, and I felt no different.

It wasn’t until about a week later that I noticed the change. When I had the desire to see porn, God took away the opportunity. And when I had the opportunity to see it, He took away the desire. I knew it was an act of God, because I had tried letting go of pornography on my own so many times and failed miserably.

I was encouraged by priests and my youth minister to regularly seek Confession, to surround myself with other guys to support and keep me accountable, and to avoid times when I could fall into sin. Though God had offered me freedom, I knew that the struggle for purity would not just magically disappear.

I realize that the grace I received that night was not my own doing, and it certainly wasn’t something that I could’ve earned. For many people, the battle to stop looking at pornography will involve triumphs and setbacks, falling down having to get back up time and time again.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul proclaims, “I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I didn’t know how powerful Jesus is until I realized how weak I am.

Here are some great resources to help those struggling with pornography:

Brian Kissinger

About the Author

I’ve never lost a game of "Scene It" and I just don’t understand why people have bumper stickers of paw prints on their cars. My biggest fear is dancing in public and I used to have an imaginary friend named P.J. Kuszykowski. Seriously.