In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus warns us against lust. In today’s digital word it’s all too easy to find images to lust over. What can you do when you know you keep looking at impure things?

First of all, although that’s embarrassing, know you’re not alone. There’s a really useful website out there, run by Christians, called the Naked Truth Project. Last year they held a conference for church leaders. 24% of the people taking part had viewed impure images in the past month – that’s church leaders. Being a mature follower of Jesus doesn’t mean you’re free from the struggle against lust. That doesn’t mean it’s OK. But it does mean your sins of impurity haven’t made you the worst, unreformable, Christian in the church.

When you get caught into impurity, it’s easy to fall into one of two traps. One trap is to say “I’ve sinned so I’ll just carry on being impure.” The other trap is to despair and say “I’m the worst Christian, I deserve shame and condemnation.” No, avoid both traps. Instead of going down the path of sin or self-condemnation, kick out the thought. You might even say to yourself out loud, “That’s not who I am. That’s not what I choose to think.” Whatever impurity is playing on your mind, you don’t have to be defined by those. At times you may have to kick out those thoughts 10 times in the course of five minutes. That’s OK. Keep kicking!

Naked Truth offer two resources worth knowing about.

One is a free online course of five video-based sessions, called CTRL ALT DELETE. Anyone with an internet link can watch these.

The other is the chance to take part in an online support group for 8 sessions with a facilitator and 6 people of the same sex struggling with similar issues – the project is called CLICK TO KICK. There’s no cost, though they hope you could make a £10 donation. But for legal reasons, they can only offer these groups to people aged 18 and over.

There’s been much in the news this week, too, about how children struggle with watching inappropriate videos online. Whether by accident or by their own intent, the very young, children aged 7-10, suffer particularly when they accidentally see these inappropriate images or videos. And sadly, children often struggle with addiction to these videos. For married couples in counselling, 90% of husbands admit that these inappropriate videos are addictive, and thus their marriage and families are in crisis.

Help is at hand! There is blocking software available, both to protect yourself and your family. You can break free of the shame and devastation this is bringing to your marriages, your families, your relationship with Jesus, and the souls and futures of your children! Don’t wait for Lent – kick out lust today, and may the prayers of St Michael and our Guardian Angels be with us all.