Covenant Eyes Creates Safe Space Online
What Christian guy do you know who would not benefit from the Covenant Eyes software program?
::: crickets chirping :::
I have been a Christian for almost seventeen years. I have been online, in some fashion or form, since 1993. That equates to almost sixteen years. In that time, I have tried many services to help filter out the tsunami of sexual images that the cyber-world would hurl at me. To be honest, I needed a filter to keep me out of the various seas of sexual images that I wanted to swim around in, too. In my experience, Covenant Eyes (CE) is by far the very best.
Why Exodus International Uses Covenant Eyes
Technically, I have no clue how they do what they do (not even going to try and figure that mess out)! All I know is that two godly men, whom I trust, check my CE report every week. With a fine tooth comb, they do this. In fact, our whole staff at Exodus is covered by Covenant Eyes, even the straight laced choir lady who does our accounting; she never looks at anything crazy except maybe the (LOL) Cats Blog.
Whatever that technical mumbo jumbo is, it creates a report of every single Internet site I visit. EVERY single site. Not only that, it tracks how many times I have been to that site, length of stay, what time of day I am online, and what I ate for dinner that evening.
(Just kidding about the dinner part.)
The software even breaks down sites into levels of risk and makes the report easy to read. To top it off, it also says “Close Review Recommended” in BIG BRIGHT lettering, if Randy needs to be asked a few questions. I love this service.
So far, this post sounds like a typical commercial. Right? Well, let me spice it up a little. I am 40 years old. When I was a young teen, all of my male friends had crushes on Farrah Fawcett or Heather Locklear.
My first crush was on Bo and Luke Duke.
Not having been raised in the church, I easily identified as gay and with gay culture. Nothing really challenged my belief that I was “gay” until a few months after becoming a Christian. It was in communion with the Lord that He completely, lovingly compelled me to question why I identify as gay and to be obedient to Him regarding my sexual behavior.
That prayer time was on July 23rd, 1992. I have not had a romantic relationship with another male or identified as gay since then.
That doesn’t mean I have been floating around on holiness or glowing like Moses, either. I am a man, and every man among all men I have ever met has to reign in his sexual appetites.
Have you ever met a guy who hasn’t? If so, I really want to interview him for my blog.
Like my brothers, and increasingly my sisters struggling with porn, I had to have help from the Holy Spirit to tame my wild eyes and figure out what was going on.
Offline, in my early walk, I went to an Exodus Member Ministry called Living Hope. It was a little traumatic, because even though I was a Christian, I really didn’t like Christians. Even so, they gave me unconditional friendship, didn’t treat me like an immature heathen (which I kind of was), and offered their opinions. It was up to me to apply the lessons they offered or not.
What I discovered is that the topic of lust is powerful not simply because of the sinful aspect of it. The reason why sexual lust is so potent is because God designed sexuality to meet powerful-core body, soul, and spiritual needs. My brothers and sisters in Christ didn’t just hold me accountable to not sin … they helped me discover for myself what legitimate needs I was trying to express, and to find practical biblical solutions to meet those needs.
Over this long journey I cannot tell you I no longer have homosexual temptations. I do. I share that without shame or fear. However, in 1992, I was tempted every five minutes or so. Today strong temptations are rare, and more often than not, when temptations do happen they are like what my friend Ann Paulk says, “an annoying fly on the wall, easily swatted away.”
Because the Lord created a safe “space” for me to step back and lay down the sin, but also to meet legitimate needs in His way and timing; if that annoying fly comes along, I know the reason why, I know how to deal with it, and I know what to do about it.
A Safe Space Online
And we all know that online life brings a whole new level of temptation. That’s why I love Covenant Eyes. It’s the online facilitator of having some safe space. I know that my brothers in Christ who receive my weekly report have my best interests at heart and will hold me accountable to not only confess if needed, but also to encourage me as well. So even when I am tempted, I remember that CE is working in the background. Unlike in my early days, it isn’t a “bummer”; it is an encouragement to know that I am not simply resisting sin; I am standing with my brothers and moving forward in righteousness.
My mind goes toward the “new” Christian or to the person who is just now breaking out of the addictive pattern of sexual sin (regardless of orientation.) I highly encourage you to use Covenant Eyes. While it only affects your online activity . . . face it . . . that’s a lot of activity!
Am I right? You know I am right.
Covenant Eyes can help create some space, some room, to not only “repent” from the sinful aspects of looking at porn or online sexual activity, but the Lord can use that time and “space” to help you meet your deep-seated heart needs in a way that will actually fulfill you, honor the people around you, and honor Him.
Feel free to come visit my blog, or if you struggle with homosexuality, visit ExodusInternational.org. Also, if you struggle with sexual sin in general, one of our Member Agencies has resources available to you as well. Please check out Desert Streams and their S.A.L.T or Living Waters programs.
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This is a guest post from Randy Thomas, the Executive Vice President of Exodus International (the largest evangelical organization dealing with homosexual issues). Randy oversees more than 230 professional mental health and church-based member agencies across North America that offer hope and help to individuals wanting to leave homosexuality. Randy travels extensively, speaking on the topic of homosexuality.