A Christian struggling with lust and as a result also struggling with guilt and thoughts of self harm

Just to give you a background, I am a Christian and grew up in a Christian community. Even taught Bible studies at a point in my life. I grew up being taught that sex is for married couples and that I should cover up my body. But I shamefully struggle with lust, pornography, masturbation, and the entire rabbit hole of it all. Needless to say given my background that I feel guilty. But it also feels like something so human and natural that its hard not to give in to. The guilt has been so intense that coupled with other issues, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder almost 3 years ago. The guilt and inability to stop makes me hate myself. I feel filthy and causes so much strain in my relationship with my God. It makes me hate myself to the point that I have harmed myself and continually struggle with suicidal thoughts. This isn’t something I open up about. Regardless of what our church teaches about staying accountable to other people, I just don’t want people up in such private business such as my sexual issues. I dont want to be judged especially as I am a woman and this is frequently an issue stereotypically viewed to be more common among males (even though i understand it is not exclusive to men). This is my first time sharing it and asking for help because of the anonymity this page provides. I was being eaten up by my self hate once again and physically beating myself up because of it just minutes before. Thoughts of suicide have been running rampant in my mind all day and I was just tired of life. I was tired of feeling alone in my problems. I know how deeply my family would be hurt if I ended my own life and I’m just clinging on to whatever help I can grasp at to continue wanting to stay alive.

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Hi Mallow.
I’m so glad that you posted here. Please know that this community is supportive and is a safe space. I want to start by telling you that your life and your story are so incredibly valuable and important. It’s so hard to see through all of the fog of guilt and shame. But I can tell you with certainty that your life is so important. You are needed in this world. I want to encourage you to reach out to any crisis lines or resources if you feel that you need to.
You are absolutely not alone in your struggles. I say that because I have been through the guilt and shame that you’ve described. I also know many people that have or are still struggling with those things. Please don’t ever hesitate to open up about those things here. I think you’ll find that many others can relate to this topic. In fact, I think this is something that isn’t discussed enough.
Have you considered maybe talking with a therapist about what you’re going through? That was one of the best things I ever did when I was going through that guilt and shame. Discussing things like sexuality and anything intimate should always be done in a space that you feel safe and comfortable with. Having healthy boundaries with others when it comes to those topics is so important. There is so much freedom in communicating boundaries and maintaining them. I believe that it’s possible for you to take care of your mental health and still have a good relationship with your God if that’s what you want. Please don’t give in to the weight of guilt. Talking with a therapist or someone that you trust is so important.
I can assure you that I have no judgement toward you. I have been where you are and I remember how vulnerable it made me feel. Experiencing the judgement of others is so uncomfortable. You are always welcome here. Please take care of yourself. People need you here.

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Hello @Mallow,

Nice to meet you!

You are free to disregard anything I say if it doesn’t fit in for how you feel. I personally am agnostic and asexual, but I can imagine what kind of feelings you’re going through.

I’ve talked to several different Christians, Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, you name it. And honestly? It’s crazy just between these and even Judaism how much people can point the fingers against each other and judge, when you’re all supposed to be people under the same mantra— to believe and serve for God. You are very aware of your thoughts and feelings, and your situations; but I don’t think you’re in the wrong for any of it.

I think reaching beyond your church for love and support might be a good idea for you. I know a lot of Christians start fearing how their church may react with information like this, but it’s perfectly natural for you to have feelings like that— just as you said. I’m sorry it’s to the point you feel like you need to suffer physically from it. I would encourage to talk to a professional, and see where they think that you could find a healthy balance in finding happiness and pleasure for yourself, and not feeling feelings of regret and shame from it.

I’m so sorry you’re going through this, Mallow. But I know you already know you’re not alone. If there’s anything that you can think of that you’d like to try, let us know, okay?

Take care hun

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From: Rohini_868

hi Mallow,

In my opinion, no God, of any religion, would want to look at you, at Their child/ devotee/ follower and see you hurt yourself, or be consumed with guilt and shame. No God would want you to feel so badly about the “rules” that you consider ending your life.

You are human. Guess who made you? Guess you knows your destiny inside out? Guess who knows your struggles? And guess who loves you still?

these are struggles most people go through. It is something to work through. Maybe, if there weren’t so many “rules” and stuff that religious organizations state, then people would be able to have a better understanding of their own needs, how to meet those needs, and how to control them.

To me, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not a sinner. You’re a person with human feelings, desires, wants, and you’re working out how to address those. God is an unimaginable force, watching porn or touching yourself isn’t going to make an unimaginable and unfathomable being be disgusted or horrified. You are loved, and you matter. These struggles do not define you, not do they condemn you. There are others here who hae had similar struggles, all are loved.

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From: eloquentpetrichor

Welcome to HeartSupport, Mallow! I’m so glad that you felt comfortable coming here to open up about your struggles and thank you for sharing your story with us and trusting us with it.

I can understand your fear of these feelings because of your religion and your fear of being judged for being human. I’m sorry that that is causing you so much strife and depressive feelings. I believe that as long as those things you describe do not interfere with your life and with your ability to do the things in life you are responsible for such as work, personal life, self-care, etc. then they are not truly issues or anyone else’s business unless you wish to bring someone into your confidance.
I would also like to point out that being interested in those things or being “lustful” is not your fault. It is 100% about being human and filled with chemicals. A libido is a very real thing and I suggest you research it some. It is something that people cannot usually control and can cause some people all kinds of stress. The chemicals and hormones inside of us drive our bodies to crave sex. I know that you say this is a common male issue and stereotypically that may be true but if you look at how we, as women, are built and how incredibly varied our hormones are and how much they change throughout the month I think you may start to understand yourself a little better as well. It really is quite a fascinating topic to research. The fact that chemicals in our bodies drive us to do things we don’t want to do or things that we have been taught by society or religion to be wrong is just endlessly interesting in my opinion.

I’m getting a little off topic here. I urge you to do some research and to find someone outside of your religious circle to talk to, maybe even a doctor, about these things. I hope it helps you. And I want to thank you again for coming here to share with us and I hope that you find what you were looking for here and I hope that you come back and share more about your journey with us. You are a wonderful person and you deserve peace within yourself. Never forget how much you matter :hrtlegolove:

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From: Mamadien

Mallow, first of all I’m glad you decided to come to Heart Support. This is a safe place to talk about what you are going through and what you are feeling. I will tell you that I too am a Christian and I attend church regularly. I’m also a woman. So I think I understand what you are talking about with the guilt and shame that you are struggling with regarding lust and pornography. I will give you my best understanding of what I believe. First off, God created us as humans and He gave us that sexual drive that we all have. It was His idea and I believe He understands what you are struggling with and isn’t surprised by it. Second, I will say that pornography is highly addictive because of the dopamine rush that it gives when you watch it. Your brain craves more, so this is more about breaking an addiction. I will tell you that God is NOT mad at you. Jesus struggled with any and every temptation a human can have when He walked the earth, so He gets it. And He is waiting for you to just talk to Him about this. Know that He loves you so very much. As for practical steps you can take - if you are uncomfortable in talking with anyone at your home church, perhaps talking to a Christian counselor independent from your church could be a good starting point. They will be able to help work through breaking an addiction. You may want to look into putting software on your computer to block porn sites to help you stay accountable to yourself. Find other ways to stay off devices. Over time as you view less porn the need to view it will decrease. It may be a fight to get there but you can do it. Please don’t let the enemy lie to you any longer - you are a beloved child of God who is reaching out to you because He loves you and is not condemning you. Please don’t beat yourself up - you are worth so much more than you realize.

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From: Manni XP - Snow Edition

Thank you for sharing here. You are safe and you are loved. Everyone sins, yet God loves everyone. This is because sin is part of being human! Because sin is part of human nature, and everyone sins, then everyone here is imperfect - and all that means is that we cannot judge one another - and this is one of the core teachings of the Messiah! Now, sexuality is also part of being human…but sexuality itself is not necessarily sinful. Sexuality is beautiful and sacred, so it must be approached with love. That may mean love toward a spouse. That may mean love toward yourself. In my eyes, (sexual) lust means approaching it without love. This is part of why porn hurts us, but masturbation itself is considered healthy (by some docs - and I’m not a doctor). So, it sounds like less a matter of it being bad, and more one of finding balance. It may help to talk with a sexual therapist about this. Please remember that with God in one’s heart, one has no room for judgment.

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Hi Mallow, I am a Christian as well :yellow_heart:.
I actually happened upon your post while trying to find something for myself. I struggle with lust as well as well as self-harm ideation :disappointed: and suicidal thoughts. This has been a huge downfall in my life for a season now and I can at least relate a little to what you’re going through. Know I will be praying for you :cry:, what you’re going through sounds worse than what I have been facing sister in Christ. Hug I can tell you that God still loves you even when it feels like you’ve messed up beyond repair (Isaiah 43:4, Romans 5:8, and Jeremiah 31:3) and that He longs for a deeper more intimate relationship with you. Longs to help you overcome these sins and be a pure and blameless bride (Ephesians 5:27). And that there is hope, it says in Galatians 5:16 that if we walk by the Spirit we will not gratify the desires of the flesh… It also says in Ephesians 5:18 to be filled with the Spirit and also talks about it in Romans 15:13. So, in order to be set free from any sin we must be seeking the Lord’s Spirit for helping in breaking down these strongholds in our lives (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)… I know for me it’s so easy to go backwards if my heart isn’t focused on the Lord… There’s an awesome Christian resource in overcoming addictions of any kind called “Porn Free” by John Bevere, it’s free on an App called Messenger X. John struggled with porn for a long time but God helped him to be delivered from it and he shares how others can be liberated as well. I will pray for you, not sure if you’ll see this, but I know God can get it to you if it’s His will. :yellow_heart:

If you’re interested you can find Messenger X in the App store or Google Play store, or online if you look up Messenger X, but its not as easy online to use.