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How Porn Poisoned a Jewish Atheist and How Jesus Set Him Free: Hugh’s Story

Last Updated: July 21, 2021

Victory Stories

Every day at Covenant Eyes we hear inspiring stories of victory over porn. Here are just a few of them.

In 1971, when I had just turned 14 years old, I got up the nerve to ask my dad if I could have a subscription to Playboy Magazine if I paid for it with my own money. I intentionally picked a moment when he seemed preoccupied, and to my surprise, he agreed without voicing any protests.

Subscription to Darkness

Expecting him to respond negatively, I had prepared an argument to defend my position. I was going to tell him that many of my friends’ fathers had the magazine (which was true). My father’s nod of approval instantly made him the “coolest” dad around.

Over the next four years, I collected every month’s edition systematically, arranging them by successive months and years until I went off to college, having virtually packed a huge portion of the bookcase in my bedroom. True, I was a hit with my friends, but what I didn’t realize:  a deep-seated pornographic paradigm and an unperceived spiritual darkness that was set in motion during that time of my life.

Gaping Holes

My access to Playboy and other porn publications became an integral part of my young life. Pornography influenced how I thought of women and how I interacted with them. It sounds almost cliché, but I viewed them as sex objects, basically existing to bolster the self-esteem void in me created by growing up in a dysfunctional family.

Throughout my childhood, I was demeaned and constantly reminded by my own mother that I would never be able to stand in my father’s shoes or be half the man he was.To patch that gaping hole in my nearly non-existent self-esteem, I was often involved with one or more relationships.  During my last year in college, I became involved in a toxic relationship that included two abortions and a marriage that ended in divorce in less than two years.

I just didn’t want to feel any more pain, so I launched headlong into a promiscuous and atheistic lifestyle that included porn, drug use, alcohol, and smoking until I was two months shy of my thirtieth birthday. Pornography continually defined the way I dealt with women, using them for my own needs and purposes.

Redemption on the Roadside

On April 21, 1987, I was radically saved on the side of a North Miami road after hearing about Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins from my ex-girlfriend. She also gave me a Bible that day, and after reading the entire Gospel of John that night, I finally fell into a deep slumber with my new Bible next to me. When I woke up the next morning, I didn’t feel any different; but for the first time in quite a while, I had no desire to light up a cigarette. As the day went on, I realized that all those desires were gone! I had been delivered from all those bad habits—especially pornography—and I hadn’t even known what deliverance was!

I had a new love, a true love. My life had needed to be turned upside down, and Jesus–Yeshua–did just that. I immediately destroyed the magazines, the liquor, cigarettes, drugs, and paraphernalia. I had fallen in love with my Messiah and Savior. While I prayed one morning, I laid down my compulsive need to be involved with women, expressing my desire to really know God—to have a real relationship with my Father. My heart was sincere and God knew it; I told Him that the only thing that really mattered to me was to have “facetime” with Him.

God must have known it was not good for this man to live alone. Just three months later in July, I was introduced to a Jewish (believing) girl at my congregation (two Jews meeting at a church!); we became friends, fell in love, and married the following year.

Erosion

For almost 20 years, I remained porn-free. During that time, there were huge advancements in technology: the Internet, computers, and “smart” phone—smart and dangerous–became widely accessible. These devices and systems are gateways to great good, but also house terrible evil that’s all too easy to access privately.

It was about this time that an ever-so-slight erosion began, almost imperceptible at first, a gradual slide backwards. It didn’t just happen all of a sudden one day, jumping off a cliff­. I had taken my eyes off God and focused them on myself; I didn’t like what I saw. The pall of a mid-life crisis began to settle over me, as did discontentment and unhappiness. My devotional life had eroded to the point of becoming non-existent. The Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10)–my joy had been supplanted by misery. No longer was I reading God’s Word or praying at all. Worship and praise music was replaced by rock and country; although the music might not seem dangerous in and of itself, it played a negative part in my downfall.

I had also been alcohol-free since becoming a believer. One day, however, I gave in to the temptation to have a beer. It was cold and refreshing to me. One beer became two, then three or more. I moved on to liquor; first, one cocktail, then two, then more than two.

Just One Peek

“Can a man scoop burning coals into his lap without his clothes being burned?” Prov. 6:27

One day it happened. When no one else was around, I clicked on a porn site, thinking, “Just one look, I can handle it…just a peek and I’ll walk away.” Once I cracked that door, the devil himself bashed it wide open. It was just one website, not just one peek. I felt guilty, but my conscience became seared.

Over a short span of time, I began to surf the net, constantly going online with my laptop and phone. Although this was a secret habit, my wife knew deep in her heart that something was really wrong. I began to order DVDs and other porn media, trying to bring them into our bedroom. I told my wife Lisa that we needed to “spice things up” and that “God said we could do whatever we wanted in our bedroom.” But this made her feel dirty, used, and defiled; there was nothing intimate about any of this.

Hidden Things

I thought I was so clever at hiding my illicit activities and put passwords on my computer and my phone. But one day my teenaged daughter was on my laptop and somehow stumbled across a porn picture that I thought was erased. “What is this, Dad?” she asked me, turned the laptop towards me.

I made up some lame excuse that “it wasn’t me,” quickly closed the lid on the laptop, and snatched it away. I will never forget the look of disappointment on her young face and the crushing self-condemnation that I had let her down, as well as my beautiful wife. There was no way for me to lie or manipulate my way out of this.

One night Lisa tried to get into my locked cell phone when I was showering. When I came out, she asked me, “Are you having an affair?” I wasn’t, but in principle, I was. Jesus said, “Whoever looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery in his heart” (Matt. 5:27-28). At that moment I was so angry with her, I blurted out, “I feel absolutely nothing for you! I don’t love you anymore!” It was as if I’d punched her in the stomach. She cried so bitterly, and in the middle of this, our teenaged daughter, Peri, rushed into our room with a terrified look on her face. “Are you getting a divorce?” she asked.

Both Lisa and I reassured her that we were not divorcing, and after Peri went to her room, I confessed my porn habit to my wife. Even now, it is a very difficult memory for me. I had broken the heart of the woman I vowed to love and protect as long as I lived. My porn habit had almost ruined our marriage, leaving this wonderful woman feeling broken, ugly, and alone.

Battles

I was in the spiritual battle of my life, and I felt helpless to overcome these impulses. I knew it was terribly wrong, but I could not fight the temptation. None of our friends knew about this addiction, I had no accountability partners. I was miserable and frightened–our marriage of more than 21 years was in dire straits. To deal with my misery and fear, I began to stop 4-5 times a week for a 375 ml bottle of vodka as well as a soda at a neighborhood liquor store, eight miles away on my daily drive home. I typically drank the vodka straight for maximum effect, then afterwards drinking the soda to cover the scent of alcohol, downing all of it before making that final turn onto our street.

Every time I fell, I could hear the whispers of the enemy, telling me that I was weak, that I was a creep, a worthless failure and unlovable, that God had turned His back on me. I was ashamed of what I had become, and I felt that I was so far away from home that I couldn’t find my way back, due in large part to the effect my pornography addiction had on me. This desperation drove me to the brink of suicide, as one night I found myself sitting in my car in a mall parking lot with a loaded cocked pistol in my hands.

Thank God for praying wives! In spite of how miserable and mean I had become, Lisa had been interceding for me day and night—often with tears—fasting and praying for a breakthrough, for my repentance and restoration. This had gone on for many months, although I was unaware of it. To her credit, she never pointlessly nagged me–which would’ve been counter-productive, and more importantly, she never “threw in the towel,” never gave up on me, never threatened me with divorce. 

Breakthrough

 The breakthrough came suddenly, like a spring shower, on July 19, 2010. The catalyst was a Casting Crowns’ song—”If We Ever Needed You”—that I felt inexplicably compelled to download to my iTunes just that morning.  As I cued up that Casting Crowns’ song on the drive home that evening, the Holy Spirit used those lyrics to shatter my hardened heart. It had been years since I’d heard my Father’s loving voice and, as He spoke to me, I struggled to keep my car in the right-hand lane of the rush-hour traffic on I-65. I could barely see the road ahead for the flood of tears that streamed down my face. My normally 40-minute, 32-mile drive turned into a 90-minute journey of repentance and refreshment, with the Lord downloading into my spirit His love for me.

I got out of my car after pulling into my driveway, with swollen bloodshot eyes, a snotty nose, and two huge handfuls of soggy tissue. Lisa met me at the front door, shocked by my haggard appearance, “What happened to you?! Did you get fired?”

“N-no…!”  I stammered. “The Lord…!” I was so overwhelmed by my highway experience that it took me two weeks to begin to unpack what God shared with me on that eventful drive home. On that July day, I was the recipient of His wonderful grace and undeserved mercy. On that day, I was delivered a second time from the devastating effects of pornography addiction.

On that day, God restored our marriage.

Abundant Life

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Matthew 6:24a

“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.” Col. 1:10

Porn is a poison pill from Satan–meant to wreck our journey and sideline us. Sin crouches at our doors, but with God’s help we can triumph.

Most people need to walk out their deliverance. This means staying away from “places” you know are dangerous. This means having accountability partners and carefully scrutinizing all media, everything that could come through the “eye-gate.” The Lord promises to be right there with us—a realization that is both reassuring and terrifying.

Yet God is the God of second, third, fourth—and more—chances.

Jesus came to give us life abundant, and He calls us to follow Him.


Hugh Nemet Profile Picture

Hugh Nemets grew up a secular Jew on Miami Beach, Florida, in a well-to-do, but dysfunctional family. He spent the first nearly thirty years of his life in the unsuccessful search for identity, meaning, emotional connection, and love, not knowing that everything he sought would be found in the person of Yeshua the Messiah—the One the Christians called Jesus Christ—when he least expected it.

Hugh has experienced many life-and-near-death experiences and has walked through a spiritual holocaust, both before coming to know Yeshua/Jesus and after. His face-to-face encounters with an angelic being in Heaven convinced him of his life purpose—to deliver a vital message from God to us all.

Hugh is a husband, father, and grandfather who enjoys spending time with his family. His family recently moved to Jerusalem, Israel. He is the author of Dead Jew Walking and blogs at www.hughnemets.com.

  • Comments on: How Porn Poisoned a Jewish Atheist and How Jesus Set Him Free: Hugh’s Story
    1. "D" on

      Wow…what a testimony.

      I can relate in some of the areas, I never dabbled with alcohol though…do not like the taste.

      I have to take extreme precautions so I don’t lust. No smartphone, strict CE filters, including blocking sites like YouTube and Yahoo (which have the availability to pornographic material), strict parental controls on our TV and all of the computers we own have my wife as the head administrator. She also has all the passwords for all of these devices, I can’t even add software unless she puts in her password. Yes, this is an extreme measure but I feel that if my flesh is playing hardcore, then I will as well. I’ve battled this fight for so long and seeing the levels others have gone, it absolutely frightens me. I’m afraid of what our culture has allowed in and unless Jesus comes back soon, what will our culture turn into within the next 5-10 years?

      Everybody is so connected to these devices, the rising virtual world is what the next generation will inhabit. Are we doomed to experience the “Matrix” like existence? What levels of addiction will porn users experience in the virtual world that is coming? I know my reply sounds bleak, but I remember the day when porn was not as accessible and one had to travel to the local X-rated store to purchase their porn. Now, it is available anywhere at anytime and I believe we have just touched the hem of the garment to what lies ahead.

      God Bless you Hugh, very inspirational testimony.

      Reply
      • Innocent on

        Thank you for sharing this and may God’s name be blessed for loving us sinners!

    2. Xavier on

      Friend, you’ve penned (well, tapped, smile-out-loud) a gripping narrative; I kept thinking: “What’s gonna happen? What’s gonna happen?” And that wife of yours…”her price is far above rubies”! Indeed, I’m certain that “the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her”. Mazel tov!

      Reply
    3. Desi Choot on

      Thanks for sharing, bro.

      Reply
    4. Akinyemi Temitope on

      I’m really blessed by this.Praying for grace to be faithful and true to my Best Froend-Jesus.God bless the writer

      Reply
    5. Greg on

      Hugh, thank you for sharing your testimony of God’s grace and rescue from porn! I can definitely relate on the surprising and amazing way(s) in which God rescues us from our sin.

      Praying that God uses your testimony to stir restlessness in others and rescue them also from their addiction(s).

      Reply
      • Armaan on

        It was awesome…

    6. Brett on

      Such a beautiful story.

      Reply
    7. Hugh on

      Thank you for the courage and desire to share your redemptive story! The honesty and candidness reaches the heart. And it is all very encouraging and uplifting…especially that God brought you back the second time! And thank you Covenant Eyes for this forum.

      Reply
    8. Dempsey Scott on

      Thanks for your honesty and transparency. I am involved in a Men’s study group. We are using PURE DESIRE SEVEN PILLARS OF FREEDOM. If you haven’t checked out the video series by Kingdom Works (Conquer Series) you must. Iron sharpening iron

      Reply
    9. Sagar Patil on

      very impressive, thanks for sharing with us.

      Reply
    10. Song Lyrics on

      Thank you for the courage and desire to share your redemptive story! The honesty and candidness reaches the heart. And it is all very encouraging and uplifting…especially that God brought you back the second time! And thank you Covenant Eyes for this forum.

      Reply
    11. Kathryn on

      Very well written. Thanks for letting the world know about it.

      Reply
    12. rahul rawat on

      awesome article thanks for sharing

      Reply
    13. Anup Toppo on

      Great Lines. and Your experience is also awesome. Jesus gives strength not only in our soul but in everything that we live in our everyday life.

      Reply
    14. Manoj Mehta on

      I thought I was so sharp at concealing my illegal exercises and put passwords on my PC and my telephone. However, one day my teenaged little girl was on my PC and some way or another unearthed a pornography picture that I thought was deleted.

      Reply
    15. Roshan Singh on

      Thank you for the courage and desire to share your redemptive story! The honesty and candidness reaches the heart.

      Reply
    16. Aman on

      Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
    17. gaurav singh on

      You are right…This is really amazing post thanks

      Reply
    18. Rahul on

      Really after reading this I am so happy that today I will learn some things about life. Thank you a lot

      Reply
    19. Arijit on

      Amazing story with a great message!

      Reply

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