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How can I approach my friend about his problem with pornography?

I was at a friend's place the other day and discovered while on his computer that he has been looking at pornography. He recently started dating.


I was at a friend’s place the other day and discovered while on his computer that he has been looking at pornography. He recently started dating, and I know he’s struggled with lust in the past, and I think it’s only started to come back up since he started dating.

I graduated from college and don’t live with him anymore, so I’m not sure how to approach him with this issue. Your thoughts?


Don’t underestimate God’s sovereign guidance in the fact that you’ve come across this knowledge. Some might consider that a coincidence, but I believe God led you to this truth. You are chosen for “such a time as this” in your friend’s life. God brought you to this place for a purpose, and I’m glad you’re taking it seriously.

With that in mind, be encouraged that you are partnering with God in bringing truth to light, repentance where there is sin and a fresh start through redemption. He didn’t bring you this far merely to drop you off and let you take it from here. You are not alone.

The place to start is on your knees. This is not a time to rely on your own natural wisdom and abilities. You don’t want to run to battle without a weapon, and prayer is the most important one. You need supernatural wisdom and guidance, and God will gladly give it to you.

As for how to talk to him about it, just think about how you’d like for someone to approach you in the same situation. What if the roles were reversed? How would you want him to talk to you about it? You’d want the words to flow from a heart of compassion as one who also travels the path of redemption, but firm as one who sees the urgent danger.

I’ve grabbed my children a few times from walking blindly across a parking lot with such a strong jerk it made them cry. The suddenness of it, combined with my urgent tone made them think I was angry. I wasn’t angry at all. I feared for their life. When the car came speeding by a few seconds later, my child understood what I was doing.

If I were in your place, here’s what I would do. Within the next week or so, I’d find a time to hang out with him for a while. This is a conversation for only the two of you, so don’t bring it up with others around. I’d say something like this:

“Here’s a question for you, Mike. If you were swimming in the ocean and had no idea that a shark was closing in on you for attack, but I saw it, you’d obviously want me to scream at you, right? (Insert goofy reply here. Random laughter …) Well, I would obviously scream at you because I know that you would upset the stomach of that shark (more goofiness …). Well, I see a shark coming after you, and I wanted you to know that as your friend, I’m letting you know …”

Then simply tell him about how you came across the porn and that it has weighed heavy on your heart ever since. Tell him you’ve prayed about whether to say anything, and you felt led to talk to him about it because that’s what friends do. Tell him you would have wanted him to do the same if the roles were reversed.

Then just see where the conversation goes from there.

He might respond positively right away. If so, great. Accountability is critical at this point. It does no good for him to say, “You’re right; I’ll stop,” and then go right back to it. You might offer to hold each other accountable by using a service that emails to the other person the list of websites each of you view.

He might get defensive. Just respond as thoughtfully as you can. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts us of sin. It’s up to each of us to receive it and respond to Him. You don’t have to settle everything in one discussion. Keep the channels of communication open, and keep praying. All you can do is be obedient to how God leads you. The rest is up to God and your friend.

I’m praying with you.



Copyright 2009 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

John Thomas

John Thomas has been a Boundless contributor since its beginning in 1998. He and his wife, Alfie, have three children and live in Arkansas, where he serves as executive director of Ozark Camp and Conference Center, a youth camp and retreat center.


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