This is a guest post by Bruce Hughes, Ph.D. Bruce is the founder of Broken Snares Unlimited, a speaking and writing ministry to those who have been caught in immorality of all kinds, such as pornography or any sin that keeps someone from having the joy God intended. He speaks from personal experience and says he enjoys a new life of freedom after claiming the victory found in Psalm 124:7, “Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken and we are escaped.”
Continued from Part 2
I was in misery. Every time I visited one of those sites I wept and asked God to forgive me. Finally, one night I climbed under my desk and cried out for the Lord to rescue me from the trap I knew I was in. If I could have crawled under the floor I would have done so. I wanted to hide my whole self from God and the world. I wanted to have the Internet disconnected and seek counseling for my lifelong torment. How would I ever tell my wife? I had never told her about the abuse, and I didn’t think she suspected anything (as far as my Internet use was concerned). Two days later, the FBI and State Police appeared at my door and a long legal process began.
As I waited three years for the process to unfold, I found various jobs to help make ends meet. I went from an annual income of six figures to jobs at minimum wage or slightly higher. I went from an executive position with lots of prestige, to manual labor. In spite of that, the Lord still blessed because the work He gave me was in areas that I truly enjoyed. For three seasons I worked in greenhouses from late November through May. I had a small greenhouse at home, and gardening had been my hobby for years. One summer I worked at a garden center—again, something that I truly loved doing.
After the three-year wait, my sentence was finally handed down. As noted earlier, I received three years probation, a fine, and the requirement to register as a sex offender for ten years. The sex offender status has made it nearly impossible to secure any work in the public sector. Once again, the Lord blessed and provided. Since we live on my in-laws’ farm, they have provided me with employment. The hours are flexible and I walk to work. However, the work is very strenuous, and there are times when I work in a great deal of pain. During these times I sometimes become depressed and identify with what the prodigal son must have felt like when he was feeding the swine. At times my prideful heart thinks, “Here I am with a PH.D, feeding calves and wading in manure.” And yet, I am still thankful for God’s provision.
I began counseling with a Christian counselor the day after the police and FBI were at my house. I participated in over one hundred sessions over a six-year period. My wife sat by my side during every session. I believed that I had excluded her from my burden far too long. She was a constant source of support and encouragement.
My counselor helped me face the realities of my childhood sexual abuse and the distortions and lies about myself that Satan had convinced me to believe. I finally faced the fear and anger I had directed toward my abusers, as well as my ambivalence toward a God who allowed such actions to happen to me, an innocent child. I finally became fully aware of my need to grasp the realization of “who I am in Christ.” That realization was far different from what I had always believed. I discovered that instead of holding God back from intimate involvement in my life, I needed to wholly surrender myself to Him and grasp the concept of His forgiveness for my past and present sins. I became painfully aware of how my belief in Satan’s lies had made me miserable and caused me to live in confusion for years.
Through my counseling, I came to understand how it was that I could be so irresponsible to repeatedly visit the website that had the child pornography images and the entries from other men, who, like me, had been abused. First, I was naïve to believe that if it was a free website, then visiting it could not be illegal. Secondly, I was overwhelmed by the comments made by these other men. I felt like I was not alone for the first time. Unfortunately, my visits to this site led to links to other sites, and I became obsessed with this sinful behavior. Even though I was miserable, I felt as though it was out of my control. I had no one to whom I was accountable for my Internet usage, except for God, and I was under great conviction by the Holy Spirit.
This brings me full circle. I have previously mentioned the results of how God answered my prayer to be rescued from my trap through the legal process. I have now begun a ministry to try to assist others who are trapped in this or any other type of snare from Satan. I relate to Paul’s attitude when he says, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12). I am thankful to Covenant Eyes for the service it provides. I now have accountability through three partners on earth, as well as to my closest and lifelong partner, Jesus Christ.