Micah Byer’s May 19, 2015 interview was quite an interview…. The witness of this young man is a testimony to the innocence of a child exposed to the darkness of pornography and an example of just how far a man can fall from the ravages of that wound. That’s the bad news…the heartbreaking news…. But, thanks be to God, there is good news! Listen in as Micah shares his story, and his redemption through Christ and who he is in his creation as male “from the beginning” through the gift of St. John Paul II’s teaching of Theology of the Body.
DISCLAIMER: Please protect the ears, hearts and minds of innocent ones for this audio episode. Though the majority of graphic details are shrouded or not a part of the program, the topic is nonetheless one that is not appropriate for children/other innocent souls in my view.
Micah is such a gift! He is an incredible musician, and I anticipate great beauty for our world coming from his heart and God-given talents, in conjunction with his ever growing understanding of his identity through Theology of the Body. I ask you to please keep this precious young man and his family in your prayers as he continues his healing, and as he approaches his wedding date to his beloved very soon. God bless you, Micah, for your courage and your openness in sharing your story!
Wise words from Micah to you:
“Reach out to your family, close friends, pastors, don’t be stubborn and afraid like I was by not seeking help. SEEK HELP……You can’t do this alone. I would find myself asking God for help to beat this addiction, He offered help to me through the people that were in my life and I rejected their help.”
“Family members, close friends, and pastors, be Agape. Love this person unconditionally. Do not shame them, their bodies, or their desires. Learn about this addiction and the disease of addiction, it is truly no different than alcoholism or drug addiction.”
My friends, I tell you straight up that healing from pornography addiction cannot be done alone. The powerful grip of the evil one is too great in addictions, especially those related to our sexuality and our creation as male and female. Here are a few resources for you or your loved one to begin the journey of healing:
- The amazing work of Dr. Peter Kleponis, Ph.D. here, here, and especially here.
- Reclaim Sexual Health
- Catholic Psychotherapy
- Matt Fradd/The Porn Effect
- Theology of the Body Institute
- More and more women are becoming addicted to pornography. Beautiful singer Audrey Assad shares her journey of healing here.
- Here’s a post written by Micah which was posted at the TOB Institute site: “3 Ways TOB Better Prepared Us for Marriage”
The more I pondered on Micah’s words in his interview and thoughts above, the more I felt a need to share some of my thoughts with you. Of course, I had way too many thoughts to share. Here is just a shortish reflection…quite a bit more than usual, I know:).
What powerful words and witness from such a precious young man who has been in the deadly grip of the evil one through rather advanced forms of pornography. (Yeah, the devil IS REAL, ya’ll, and prowling about seeking the ruin of as many souls as possible in the time he has left.) Micah brought forth so much in these few short sentences as an offering of love and mercy to anyone who may in need, and is offering the redemptive healing he has/is receiving as a gift to you and your loved ones! How humbling and magnificent that Micah has united with God’s will for him to pour himself out as a vessel of beauty to a broken world. But….with healing comes a responsibility – the healing is not just for the healed; rather it is meant as well to be offered in humility to the whole world! That’s the call for ALL of us. By his witness, Micah is showing us how to embrace that responsibility with great courage and openness to God’s will.
Micah asks all to avoid stubbornness and fear in seeking help, humbly sharing the realization that he rejected the very answers to his prayers for help through hardness of heart which led him to turn away from the people God sent in aid. We all have to ask ourselves the hard questions when dealing with whatever it is that we struggle with, the first one being “Do I even want to be healed?”, and if not, why not? That may be a scary question to ask because we must then look at ourselves and our lives truthfully…and we will probably not like some of what we see. Ouch…..! But it’s time to get real; otherwise, the happiness, freedom and peace we seek will never be found.
If we can muster the courage to pray for even just the desire to want to be healed, He will give us that grace. He only wants us to ask. By asking, we demonstrate the complete freedom that God created us with to choose to love. God will never impose upon the freedom He gave to us. Awesome, right?!…..when things are good at least; however, complete freedom also means that we experience the consequences of the choices we make as well, not just the rewards. But, when we ask for help, we receive more graces than we can humanly imagine.
In expressing a desire for the desire to want to be healed, we must go deeper and examine our lives. This leads to more questions…..questions that we may not want to face. This is where many people get stuck, and do not move forward because it is believed too painful to deal with….thus the cycle of addictions perpetuates itself to try to numb the ache, but which in reality only causes more pain.
With God’s grace, however, we can have the courage and fortitude to look within and truthfully ask ourselves important questions. What are the attachments or idols that are keeping me from the love and communion that I was created for, and that I’m desperately seeking though I may not be aware of the connection of my attachments/idols to my unhappiness? Is it pornography? Alcohol? Marijuana or other drugs? Sex? Pride and arrogance? Anger? Money? The You-will-be-like-God lie that Adam and Eve fell for in the garden (think of the entitlement, selfishness and narcissism in our culture….”it’s all about ME”) instead of my true identity as a son or daughter of the Most High God?
There are so many ways that we create idols or attachments to self-destructive things as a means to find God. However, we will never find Him through the attachments we’ve created. We are called to unattach to whatever separates us from our loving Father, and attach to Him. This part of the distinctly Christian journey (vastly different from the Buddhist understanding of “detachment”…another blog post sometime about that:) can be difficult, however, most certainly not impossible! Otherwise, the Lord would not call us to it. He desires intimate communion with us more deeply than we can fathom, and offers us every grace necessary for us to be in communion with Him.
There is so much wisdom born of profound struggle embedded within Micah’s admonitions. One that strikes me is that he didn’t seem to “see the forest for the trees” when asking God for help. Oh, how we all can relate! What do I mean by that?
When we ask God for help, He truly brings every grace necessary to battle whatever it is that we are battling. We are living in a very broken world of modernism/progressivism, atheistic and Manicheistic philosophies that serve to draw us into our selves, and away from authentic relationship of overwhelming LOVE and “communion” that we were created for with the Blessed Trinity. We become self-oriented and increasingly narcissistic, blinded to objective truth. This ultimately leads us to a vision of God (assuming we maintain some level of belief in Him) as a God of our own making, a God in “OUR” image who is limited to our own ideas and thoughts of what He is able or should do. We then expect Him to respond in the way that we think He should, and become angry or despairing when He does not.
This cycle of our response to untruthful expectations may be riding below the surface of our awareness, and we may not realize the web we’ve woven and are entangled ourselves within. We just know we are unhappy, don’t know why, and all the things we try to fix it just don’t work. You may have heard it said “God is not a vending machine”. What are the ways in which we fashion God in our minds as just that…a vending machine? Think of the times that, in some personal circumstance or relationship situation where we held expectations of God, and He somehow “disappointed” you. Is it possible that your expectations were not in line with the Truth of Who God is, and our communal relationship with Him? If you’re a human person, Truth will lead you to the only correct answer…YES. Hard to admit, I know:) Once we do, however, whiffs of what true freedom and peace truly are begin to permeate our beings, and we realize THIS is what I am looking for!
Micah now recognizes that the help of the Lord was being offered to him through the people in his life…but, his heart and mind were not open and receptive to that help. He was blind and could not see due to the effects of his addiction and his wounds, and from the effects of sin upon our souls and our relationship with our loving Father. How often do we as human persons look to God to fix a problem, and fail to see His loving and merciful help right before our eyes? Through our own hardness of heart, our choosing to remain in and operate from our wounds, and through our choice to sin, we separate ourselves from unity with God. When we refuse the union with God for which we were created from “the beginning”, we are unable to see as God sees, and close ourselves from the graces and ever present help He offers. We are not able to connect the dots of seeing His hand all about and within us, guiding our every thought, feeling, action and situation….the kicker is that we must be open and receptive to Him and invite Him into every thought, feeling, action and situation!
Micah’s story is of a young man who did just that, finding hope and redemptive healing for his pornography addiction through Theology of the Body which is teaching him who he is as a person, as a man called to be in the image of Christ, and what it is that he was/is truly looking for. For Micah….and for every human person!, Saint John Paul II’s teachings on Theology of the Body are truly…TRULY… healing because we are drawn lovingly back to the beginning…back before the Fall of mankind when sin and every kind of evil and brokenness entered in through our disobedience. TOB teaches us what it truly means to be human, and brings to redemption the rupture within our relationships with God, with each other, and within our own selves.
Want to know more about “as it was in the beginning”? Check out more here with a short summarization about Theology of the Body written by Christopher West.
Wow….what a long post! I didn’t even get to addressing the points of “shame”, and “unconditional love” that Micah spoke of, nor explore deeply enough idols and attachments. Future posts…..:)
Pax Christ ya’ll.