Will Using a Filter Set Me Free?

I can still remember the excitement I felt when I installed my first internet filter more than 10 years ago. I was sure I’d found the solution to my struggles with pornography. I had blocked porn at its source so now, even if I wanted to find it, I wouldn’t be able to. I was finally going to be free.

The filter worked perfectly… for a day or two. Until I realized how easily I could find ways to get around it. I’d always patch these holes as soon as I regained clarity of mind, thinking I would become free once again. But then I just would find another loophole… or buy a magazine… or go to a preview booth…

Clearly the filter was not my answer to freedom.

Over the years that I’ve been in recovery ministry, I’ve noticed how most people think of internet filters much like fences. They believe (as I did) that installing one on their computer or phone will create a boundary that not only keeps the bad stuff out, but ideally keeps them (or whomever they are trying to protect) safely contained from wandering into areas they don’t want to go.

The problem with that view though, is any fence you put up around your devices will inevitably have the potential for holes. And—as I knew full well from my own struggles with porn—if an addict wants to find one of these loopholes badly enough, he will find one.

This insatiable drive within an addict to get around the filter illustrates the reason why a filter alone can never set you free…

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