“Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects
the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a
sin against your own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
Kirk Franklin is a contemporary gospel, hip-hop and R&B artist whose music has reached multiple-platinum status, garnering five Grammy Awards and twelve Dove Awards. Credited with single-handedly taking gospel music to the mainstream, Kirk’s meteoric rise to stardom put him in the same celebrity circles as Stevie Wonder and Oprah Winfrey. This celebrity status provided the platform from which he and his wife, Tammy, have been able to address the devastating effects of sexual addiction and pornography — including a 2005 television interview with Oprah Winfrey herself.
Kirk’s road to recovery began when he painfully confessed to Tammy that he was addicted to pornography. Tammy admits Kirk’s confession hurt deeply, but she believed he truly loved her so she “gave him a soft place to land,” becoming an avenue through which God’s mercy flowed into Kirk’s life.
Tammy says, “We’re reaping the blessings from God because we handled it in a godly manner, and we went through the process. Because we did, our marriage is stronger. We are now blessed to help people.”
Taking Kirk to the roots of his addiction, God healed him of the childhood abandonment issues that plagued him into adulthood, opened the door to pornography and, later, led to his destructive substitution of sexual experiences for love. He believes that many churches have failed to balance their teachings with enough of an emphasis on grace and freedom, which has inadvertently been instrumental in keeping people in bondage because “whenever you do anything that is based on legalism, it doesn’t last.”
Instead of admitting their struggles and getting help, people learn how to hide their addiction. When they feel they have a safe place, they easily give in to temptation. For example, statistics show that 70% to 80% of people who stay in hotels order adult movies and the numbers spike during religious conventions.
“I know Christian men who feel viewing pornography is better than cheating on their wives,” Kirk says. “But when they turn off their computer or stop watching a movie, they bring the images to bed with them. They don’t have the will or knowledge to mentally turn them off.”
Kirk’s rescue began when he learned who he was in Christ and experienced grace and forgiveness. “It took God’s grace to admit that I had a sin problem, and then I could give myself and everything to God.”
Tammy praises her husband’s honesty and bold leadership. He arranged counseling for them together, so he could maintain total openness with her. He also revealed his struggle to his pastor, Dr. Tony Evans, who allowed what Kirk calls “a personal invasion” by making himself available, regardless of the day or hour.
“There were times while traveling,” Kirk admits, “I called him at two o’clock in the morning.” That invasion made such a difference that Kirk pleads with his audiences, “Imagine how many lives would change if men, who live in freedom through Christ, would open up and allow those in addiction to ask for help?”
Kirk believes that when we acknowledge addictive behavior as sin, God is then invited into the issue and will begin to divinely orchestrate relationships where we can ask to be held accountable. He also recommends that we ask friends to help, even if they don’t see the issue as seriously. “Tell your buddies, ‘This addiction is killing me and killing my marriage, so don’t justify it or make light of it around me.’”
“If you view porn on the Internet,” Kirk warns, “realize that you’re looking at somebody’s daughter. She is God’s daughter. If you have children, imagine men looking at your child that way.”
He urges people to see through the lens of God, to be honest and acknowledge their addiction as sin. As Kirk learned truth from God’s word on sexual issues, he found new ways to weaken the enemy’s grip on his life.
“The Bible says that you sin against your own body when you give in to sexual sin,” Kirk notes. “You play with a fire that can consume you physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
He utilized brutally honest prayers daily to force himself into an open dialogue with the Lord. “God, I’m struggling with lustful thoughts for women and fighting the desire to look at pornography. But You are not struggling with those things, so I give you permission to do in me today what I can’t do.”
Tammy is thankful to God that she has a new husband. She encourages couples to go through the process together, no matter how difficult, because she believes there is an end to the problem through grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Make the decision to open those dark corners of your life to the forgiving grace and healing power of God. If you are not struggling in a specific area, open yourself to a “personal invasion” by someone who is working to overcome an addiction.
“Lord, forgive me of my sin. Thank you for freedom from enslavement in Jesus’ name. My body is Your Holy temple. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can be the person You created me to be and help others realize their full purpose in You, too.”