Accountability Part IV

December 31, 2019 by  
Filed under Blog

Moving on in this series on accountability to part four.  This blog will likely be the most difficult one to write and articulate as it focuses on the areas where a man has fallen into the more dark areas of his life.  

I mentioned in the last blog that I will be addressing and offering some of my processing techniques for some imagery that falls quite out of the mainstream as regards impurity.  We will focus on images that deal with same sex attraction, barely legal porn, child porn, bestiality, cross dressing and transgenderism.

Same Sex Attraction Images

Your accountability partner’s report has revealed that he is struggling with same sex attraction (SSA) disordered imagery.  What is your initial reaction?  Probably shock, but lets forego that initial shock processing and assume you have reconciled in your mind that your accountability partner, perhaps, is struggling with SSA or at the very least has the temptation of SSA images online.

Alright, for now it is enough to just accept this reality and begin to plan your outreach.  Of course, you, as a partner, should do all the things recommended in parts 1, 2 and 3 of this blog series.  If you have done all of that and you are in a face-to-face meeting with your accountability partner, here’s what I suggest as regards this particular engagement.  Speak about the images and the acting out as if it were the same as so-called “mainstream porn”.  Having engaged and ministered to men who struggle with SSA for almost 16 years, I believe with SSA images, the approach needs to be the same.  Recognizing that the man’s wounds will indeed be different in comparison to you, but in truth, his struggles are very similar to yours.  His acting out is just as much self-medication as it is for you who does not struggle with SSA images.

One follow-up to this encounter might be to ask if he is aware of the apostolate of Courage, which ministers to men with SSA issues.  If not, you might consider connecting him with a Courage chaplain within his diocese or nearby diocese.  Outside of this recommendation, I would treat a man who is seeking accountability for his struggles online  with SSA images no differently than a man who is looking at “mainstream porn”.   Please refer to the “Priorities” outlined in Accountability III for further guidance. 

Barely Legal Images

Okay, now we are in a bit of a danger zone.  This is a huge “red flag” to potential illegal behavior or soon to be such.  Obviously, sin is sin and it is all bad, but in this regard, we are talking potentially about child endangerment.  If you see something in a domain title that reads “barely legal” then I suggest moving with great caution.  First of all, don’t open the imagery on any report.  It is enough to see that in the domain.  Secondly, acknowledge that your friend needs more than accountability.  He will need serious counseling if he is not already engaged in such.  If your friend hasn’t already crossed over into the dark world of illegal pornography, then he is soon about to.  My guess is he probably already has.  Your accountability offering has just become an urgent cry for help from your accountability partner who needs therapy and immediate support.  

If you are able to generate some face time, I recommend coming to that meeting with professional counselor recommendations who specialize in porn addiction recovery.  Bring contact information with you in case he is currently not in therapy.  If he says that he is not interested in such help, then there is really nothing you can do except pray for him and encourage him to get help, but you must recognize that you are not able to provide the support that he needs.  I recommend disengaging from trying to support him in this struggle with the accountability software until he enters into a more therapeutic recovery program.

Child Pornography Images

If, somehow, you see that your accountability partner has viewed child porn, then you have just received a tremendous burden and obligation to get your accountability partner immediate help.   You cannot shirk this responsibility!  You are now complicit in this man’s behavior given your knowledge of such content.  I should mention that I seriously doubt that anyone who is looking at child porn would be engaged in accountability software monitoring or anything like we are discussing in this series, but just in case, it is important to know what one should do.

If your accountability partner has gone from acting out with porn to  sexual deviance like child porn viewing, you need to treat it with an extremely high priority to ensure your friend gets the help he needs or that he is not potentially putting any children in danger.  The reality is that men who look at child porn have access to portals of men who are putting children in danger.  The darkness of this world is really too dark to even describe.  Suffice it to say, if your accountability partner is not seeing a sex addiction therapist for his problems, he must begin immediately.  If he is non-compliant with such request then you must inform your accountability partner that he will be reported to the authorities–it is that serious of an issue!  Your accountability partner likely needs an in-patient sex addiction recovery program.  This is, again, outside of your ability to help him with his problem, and your attention and focus needs to be on the children who might be in potential danger. 

Bestiality Images

I regret that I have to even say anything about this.  Again, the likelihood that any man who is engaging in accountability software monitoring will be looking at bestiality porn is very rare.  However, so as to leave no stone unturned, the sexual deviance of bestiality is beyond most people’s understanding and imagination.  The dictionary defines bestiality in two ways: 1. savagely cruel or depraved behavior; 2. sexual intercourse between a person and an animal.  

Your accountability partner, should this issue come up, needs serious cognitive psycho-therapy and more than likely an in-patient treatment plan to help him move towards less depraved ways of acting out.  

Cross Dressing Images

This issue, although rarely encountered among accountability partnering, is an issue that I have been exposed to with my men’s ministry.  Although, the likelihood is less among most men, given the statistical significance in my outreach the past 16 years, I thought it important enough to offer a few brief comments.  Many of the issues related to this issue are on a similar par with men who struggle with SSA.  Think about the logic here.  Men who dress like women have many likely causes for doing so, but one simple observation and cause would be to attract another man.  I mean not to grossly reduce this very complex issue down to one factor, nonetheless, I would defer to my comments above under SSA images for proceeding with any related accountability offering.  

It should be said for those who are struggle with cross dressing that a comprehensive therapy program is best for paths forward than accountability monitoring, but this would certainly be a healthy first step, especially if it is a younger man.  Let me also state that cross dressing is not synonymous with someone with transgender issues.

Transgender Images

Despite the cultural trend which is attempting to normalize this behavior, I would say, and yet again, the probability that anyone who is dealing with transgender issues would be using accountability software is very low.  But should one encounter such, a healthy response to anything that might be perceived online would be important to offer your accountability partner.  Tremendous encouragement in the area of their masculine gender is needed.  It is possible that in a culture which embraces some of the lies about a person’s gender, one might be possibly triggered to look into such imagery online if their curiosity has been peeked.   Pray for your accountability partner and encourage them in their manhood.  Ask them questions about manhood.  Do things with them if possible and invite them into your man’s world.  Help them to feel like one of the guys and continually affirm their manhood.  My sense here is that a lack of connection and bonding with a father is common for those who struggle with their identity as a man.  

Healing retreats are good for all of the above and certainly the transgender issue just mentioned.  I would say professional counseling should not be ruled out for any of the above issues as I stated, but keep in mind that counseling is not necessarily a cure either.  God can do anything and he can heal in an instant any ill that we might have.  I don’t necessarily think that these outlined issues are to be feared nor do I believe that God’s power is beyond curing any of us who may struggle in these areas.  That said,  Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour and his tricks and deceptions are beyond our ability to grasp.  So if you encounter any of this in your accountability work, stay calm.  Listen to your accountability partner and in the words of the recent and popular Frozen II movie, which I saw with my kids recently,  “do the next right thing.”

Yours in Christ’s healing love,

Mark

 

 

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