Joe was brought up in a Christian home and went to a good church. When he was 11-years-old, a friend told him about the pornography he was viewing on his smart-phone. Joe was shocked and angry with his friend and said he should stop this right away. However, it made him curious. He had a smartphone too and started thinking about visiting the websites his friend had mentioned. The more his friend talked about it, the more Joe thought about it.

Although he resisted for several weeks, eventually Joe gave in. He decided to have a quick look, just once, then stop. Within weeks he was addicted. He wanted to stop and didn’t want to stop. He felt sick about it and yet he also enjoyed it.

His parents eventually discovered his habit and they had a long talk about it. Joe felt ashamed but also resentful. Although his parents put certain safeguards on his phone, he soon found a way around them. Then his parents found out again. And so it became a cat-and-mouse game between Joe and his parents over many years.

His parents were in despair. They had done everything to raise Joe for the Lord and had great hopes that he would be a strong Christian when he was older. Now they were so depressed, not just about Joe but their other kids too. “What did we do wrong? How can we help Joe escape this impurity? How can we prevent our other kids going down the same track? How can anyone stay pure in such an impure world?”

But Joe was also in despair. He felt terrible guilt. God was far away. He knew things were going from bad to worse. In his better times he would ask himself, “How can I escape? How can I ever get back to purity and back to God?”

I’m sure many of us can identify with Joe or his parents. We have asked these questions and are still asking them. Why are such stories so common today? And what hope can we offer Joe and his parents?

For more see my sermon notes here.