This series is exploring the Roots of Addiction laid out in the book of Ephesians. Before reading ROOT #6 – Trauma, you can start at the beginning here or watch Freedom Fight founder, Ted Shimer, as he provides the important context of our identity in Christ as a foundation for understanding the Roots to Addiction to help you address shame and porn addiction.
The Root: Trauma.
The Solution: Replace Lies With Truth.
“……the truth is in Jesus…put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor…”
– Ephesians 4:21, 25
Trauma, dysfunction or abuse can be a major source of shame. The shame from trauma often fuels the negative emotions people feel compelled to medicate. Not every porn addict has major trauma, but even minor trauma can deepen the addiction.
The purpose of exploring trauma is to identify the root of the pain a person is seeking to medicate with porn.
But it’s not the pain from the trauma itself that causes the biggest problems. The lies a person internalizes as a result of the trauma can have a much deeper and longer-lasting impact. Renowned psychotherapist and Harvard professor Elvin Semrad declared, “The greatest source of a person’s suffering is the lies they tell themselves.” This insightful observation is also a biblical truth related to spiritual warfare. Lies implanted by trauma can be another manifestation of how the enemy attacks. One of Satan’s key objectives is to establish strongholds in a person’s mind through lies.
The apostle Paul wrote:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”
– 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
A stronghold is a deeply held false belief. Strongholds determine a person’s perspective of how they see themselves, God and life in general. When a person feels the worthlessness that accompanies shame, they are easy to isolate and trap in addiction.
As a result of trauma, abuse or dysfunction, a person can believe certain shame messages like:
- I’m a failure.
- I’m unlovable.
- There is something wrong with me.
- The trauma or abuse is my fault.
- I deserve to be addicted.
Shame engraves these messages into a person’s mind so that these lies eventually become their identity
For many people, trauma becomes the source of the first and most significant shame message in their life.
Well meaning spiritual leaders today can often offer shallow solutions for deep brokenness, especially when dealing with the trauma of another. God rebuked his leaders for this kind of shallow healing when He said, “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14).
As followers of Christ, we must recognize the spiritual warfare related to trauma so we don’t offer superficial solutions.
People typically have more trauma than they think.
For the child of God, these lies attack the very identity we possess in Christ. Believing these lies can lead to many negative emotions that one medicates with porn. Standing against these attacks is not only essential for believers in overcoming sex or porn addiction but also in living out our identity in Christ. Whether it’s the trauma of abuse or neglect, these lies that become strongholds in our lives must be replaced with the truth for freedom to take root.
It is the truth that will set you free. Though Paul does not mention trauma, his focus on truth is the pathway to freedom for those impacted by the lies from trauma. When Paul said, “… the truth is in Jesus … put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor …” (v.21, 25), he reminded us of the importance of replacing lies with truth. When the lies from trauma are replaced with truth, they lose their power.
Lies keep us stuck, but truth can set us free to live our new life in Christ. When a person starts to walk in the light and replaces lies with the truth, the effects of trauma can be overcome. Some trauma may require more intense focus and professional help.
To replace a lie, the lie must first be identified.
And lies are much easier to spot when we know the truth. God’s truth cannot be unleashed in our lives to liberate us from lies and lead us into freedom if we are not regularly in God’s word. The truth is found in Jesus, and His word and the truth should be our community’s discussion topic. When a person saturates their life with God’s truth, they can claim the promise of freedom that Jesus gives, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
It is important for Christ followers to be honest as they process their trauma by asking questions like:
- Where was God during my trauma event?
- If God loves me, why did He allow this to happen?
- Why doesn’t he just instantly heal me?
Processing these questions in community and in the context of scripture is critical. The narrative of the Bible is full of suffering. Suffering is a part of the human condition in a fallen world. God Himself suffered on the cross.
There are no easy answers, but the Bible places suffering in the context of God’s love and greater purposes. Through trauma the enemy delivers powerful shame messages, which cast doubt on God’s goodness and love. But through Jesus’ trauma on the cross, God delivered His most powerful message of love.
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
– John 3:16
The 6 roots of addiction dig deep into a person’s soul and keep them in bondage.
Adequately addressing each root takes growth and development in key areas of life. Overcoming the lies that trauma implants in a person’s life happens when they replace those lies with God’s truth.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
– Romans 8:1
The ROOTS blogs (Roots, #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6) are all content summarized from a more thorough and detailed account found in the The Freedom Fight book. For a more in-depth look at each Root as well as a deeper dive into how brain science and faith impact porn addiction, check out Ted’s Book, Freedom Fight.