About the author, Chris McKenna

Chris is the Covenant Eyes Educational Resource Manager. Chris has a BA in Accountancy and Spanish from Western Michigan University. After 12 years in business advising with Ernst & Young, God led Chris to a full-time student ministry role. He started protectyoungeyes.com in 2015  as a ministry to equip and educate parents and teens on the latest gadgets, apps, and how to use the Internet well, which led him to Covenant Eyes. God works in unexpected ways!

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Overcome Porn: The 40 Day E-mail Challenge

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

Find freedom with Overcome Porn: The 40 Day E-mail Challenge, a step-by-step action plan designed to help put porn behind you forever.

11 thoughts on “The Importance of Accountability

  1. In counseling 1000s of sexual sinners (A.K.A. “Sex Addicts”) for over 25 years, from all across the U.S., I’ve found that 99% were caught in their secret sin. It is at that point that they are motivated to change behavior. Heart change has likely not occurred. Accountability is set up to manage the behavior. So the accountability parter asks the sexual sinner, “Have you looked at porn in the last week?” Answer: “No!” Question: “Have you just lied to me?” Answer: “No!!” Now comes the critical question of all accountability: “Have you just lied to me about lying to me?” Bottom line, you are only as accountable as you want to be; unless your heart has truly changed. So which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

    • Hi Dr. Harry, I suspect you’re correct. I can continue lying. I think the types of question used between accountability partners really matter. Not always questions about the behavior in question. Questions like, “How are you becoming more holy?” “When were you most aware of the power of the cross this week?” “Can we go to the Lord in a general prayer of confession right now for how we’ve fallen short of our calling?” “Would your children be proud of the legacy you created this week?” “Would your wife feel loved and adored by your thoughts, words and actions over the past week?”

      More probing questions might lead to more effective heart change. Give the Spirit space to convict and correct. Break open the Word and allow it to “cut” to the heart. But, you are correct – being open and honest is a choice.
      Chris

  2. Addiction to porn cannot be hidden, even if a person lies about it. While I was still entangled with it, even my colleagues at work and family could notice that something was amiss with me whenever I slipped. My countenance would become so dull and uncheerful regardless of what was going on around me. There was just a profound absence of peace and a biting soul anguish which affected me for a considerable length of time until I had stayed clean, cut-off potential triggers, prayed and prayed, meditated on and memorized the word of God, praised God oftentimes and fellowshiped with the brethren. Till date, though I don’t have an accountability partner, but I intend to soon because I reckon that times of the ungodly desires might come as long as I am still flesh and blood.

    Its a situation that is better not to have ever gotten into in the first place. But, we can conquer through Christ Jesus.

    Please do not show my email address in the comment.

  3. What about those of us that don’t believe in God? You all just assume that there is salvation but no one really knows. I am trying to overcome my addiction and I grew up Catholic, but I haven’t seen any evidence that God exists. There is too much evil in the world for there to be this divine spirit. It seems as though if there is, he has a sick sense of humor. Why would this God not intervene? I am working hard to recover from my addiction and I have been open and honest with my wife. I don’t believe she has been as open with me about her recovery. If she would have sex with me my recovery would be more fruitful. I know that she is suffering because of my actions, but I am past the guilt. I am no longer accepting the blame because I don’t feel like she is trying for both of us as I am.

    • Hi John, you might be interested in this article from The Gottman Institute, which talks about the harm porn does to relationships. The Gottman Institute is not religious, but they are the foremost marriage and relationship experts in the world today.

      From your brief comment here, I obviously don’t know what kinds of choices your wife is making in all this. However, it might be helpful for you to note that many many women in this situation will meet the criteria for PTSD. Again, this is not a religious thing, just a reality of this situation. I find that women often do not get the help they need for the trauma; it goes unrecognized and untreated and does continue to impact the relationship. Your wife might want to look for a trauma-informed specialist in her area to help her process through this pain. She may be feeling much more pain than you are at this point, hence her inability to “try for both of you.”

      The online group Bloom is also a great resource for healing; it focuses on trauma healing for women, and relationship attachment for the marriage, both of which I find to be extremely helpful. There’s a lot of support for your wife there, plus classes you can take together for healing the marriage.

      Peace to you, Kay

  4. Hi Chris.
    Thanks for this article and others.

    I am 23 and have been trying to break this habit for almost three years now. The first time I saw pornographic material was on a friends phone in high school. I stumbled on it various times as I grew older but only through the devices of others who stored them. I never made attempt to access porn but I had also seen many lustful scenes in movies.

    It was not until I got my smart phone and had constant internet access that I really became addicted. I started lightly and always thought I could stop but after going clean for days and weeks I still fall back.

    By God’s grace, I am still fighting but I must say that I have really questioned my Christianity sometimes and if God is actually listening to me. This is because I have taken almost every step I know of yet I can’t find sustainable victory.

    I’ve bought and read books, articles, installed covenant eyes( I always sought out new ways to navigate through filters and even UN-installed it at times just to look at what I had been longing for) and have accountability partners including a pastor who receive my reports and have been very helpful in directing me towards Christ.

    Recently, I felt terribly tired of my relapses and how gross I was engaging in this sin. It almost became a sort of relationship as I would just type names into search engines and loose sleep for nights so I decided to give all my devices to one of my accountability partners so that I could make room to try to seek Christ more.

    Since then I have been using the internet only in public areas. I have also had those sober moments where I reflected on my life and cried to God in tears to change my heart and help me see all forms of lust for what they truly are. Giving my devices away has helped me to be more responsible in my use of time but has not solved my heart’s problem. I do not have any pictures or videos to look at anymore but have started masturbating to the things I recall.

    Since this struggle began, I noticed I have become highly sensitive, self-critical, impatient,always worried and procrastinate a lot. I have spent hours in deep reflection on my life, pondering the dangers of lust, praying and reading the word but have not learnt to obey Christ in this area

    Please, I need your advice. I really want to experience a lasting change in attitude but I do not know why I keep taking huge steps backwards anytime I set out to live right.

    Thank you

    • Hello Winston – I’m sorry that this comment wasn’t addressed sooner. I was on vacation with my family when you left it, and obviously, you didn’t receive a response from someone else during that time. My apologies. I do sense you pain in your typed words, and I’ve experienced some of that same pain of “WHY, GOD?”

      I’ll just toss a few things out for you to consider. I don’t feel like I have a perfect response for you, but maybe something will resonate.

      – Here’s a post from Dr. Doug Weiss, one of our allies, about seeing women as holy beings. It’s powerful. Take a read: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2016/08/05/holy-hologram/
      – Maybe the question of God isn’t “why won’t you take this away from me?” and instead it’s, “God, what amazing truth are you trying to show me through this struggle?”
      – In my own moments of relapse, I found great comfort in the notion of “give me this day my daily bread” from the Lord’s Prayer. They were words I said thousands of times as a kid, without much meaning, but in those moments, reliance on daily manna was what I needed. This is not intended to be a sales pitch at all, but have you tried a daily solution like our 40-day challenge app for iPhone? Maybe it’s the only app you have active, and through Restrictions, lock down everything else.
      – Psalm 13 contains one of the most beautiful “buts” in the whole Bible for moments of struggle. King David is crying out, but then in verse 5, he turns with “BUT, I trust in your unfailing love….” and lists all the truths about God in spite of the impossible circumstance.
      – Perseverance – this is your word. #presson #doitagain One of the best pieces I’ve read on the beauty of persistent, consistent, daily holiness is from G.K. Chesterton in his Orthodoxy, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-sun-has-risen-today-again

      Just some things I felt led to share, Winston. God is FOR you. Even in the midst of our stumbles, His grace is fresh every morning. Fresh for YOU. Peace, Chris (Covenant Eyes)

  5. I am so scared. My husband has a Porn addiction, and some other issues. I am overwhelmed by Betrayal Trauma, and some other issues.

    My husband was really trying from like April through July or so, and now our lives are on a downward spiral. We went to marriage restored in April, and installed Covenant Eyes on our devices, but I don’t think it works on the big smart tv we have hanging in our bedroom.

    I am his accountability partner, and it is unsuccessful because I am a bit snarky and when he is guilty, he just yells at me and won’t listen. I recently found a church with a support group, individual and couples counseling. For three weeks now, Tuesday rolls around and he won’t go.

    I go to counseling, but she has no understanding of porn addiction and betrayal trauma. My husband is not working or doing anything anymore, so of course money is also a problem. He knows the Bible, but will not attend church.

    What can I do to motivate my husband before I end up having to Live my life without him? I have read a lot, and I have only gotten him to read a little.

    Lady loves her Hubby
    We are 55 yr old, married 3 1/2 years, cohabitation for just over 5 yrs.

    • Well hey there. I’m so sorry for the pain you’re experiencing in this relationship. It sounds like you’ve taken some healthy steps already, although I think you may need to make some adjustments going forward.

      For example, if it’s not healthy for the relationship for you to be his accountability partner, have him find someone else. You shouldn’t have to feel responsible for his recovery: that should be his job. Same goes with whether he will go to counseling, groups, etc. Those are choices he needs to make. He may need a CSAT therapist if he’s going to make real progress.

      In addition, if your counselor is not a good fit for you, if she doesn’t have an understanding of addiction or betrayal trauma, then don’t waste one more penny of your hard-earned there! Find a counselor who does have experience, who does know what’s up, and get some real help.

      You might really appreciate the online resource, Bloom, which does take a trauma-informed approach for spouses.

      Finally, I would say consider what healthy boundaries will look like for you. Here and here are a couple of articles. Whatever he chooses, YOU choose to be healthy.

      Peace to you, Kay

  6. I’m a firm believer that the existence of sexual sin in the church today is directly tied to the absence of “one anothering.” Behavior monitoring, in the form of accountability is critical in the early weeks of secret sexual sin being exposed. It can be used to keep one from progressing to a new level of sexual sin out of self-pity. It may keep someone from committing suicide. After that, the church as a lifestyle, not a program for sex addicts, needs to embrace one anothering. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.” We must go way beyond accountability, both for heart change, and for the sake of the younger generation growing up in a sexualized culture.
    Hebrews 12:15-16

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