April 14, 2020. This was the day I turned my life over to Jesus. Typing these words still feels strange to me. I grew up in a Jewish family and considered myself an atheist most of my life. As Jerry Seinfeld said, we are pretty much in the religion for the food and the comedy. Jews simply do not talk about Jesus. That’s just the rule. At least that’s what I was told. For my family, the Bible stopped at the Old Testament. That’s what makes my transformation nothing short of a miracle.
For most of my adult life, I was addicted to pornography and then ultimately paying women to have sex with me. I was first exposed to porn at the age of 9. From that moment, it grabbed hold of my life and it didn’t let go. As a latch key kid of the early 80s, I spent a lot of time alone, trying to fill the whole in my heart with the only thing I could – looking at my mom’s stack of Playboy magazines.
My journey to discovering Jesus started just a few weeks before the pandemic locked down the entire country. In February 2020, I was blackmailed by a prostitute that I had visited in Chicago on a business trip. By the time I left her hotel room, this woman and her partner had already found my wife’s contact info. Several hundred dollars later, I made it out of that room and was able to carry on with my day. But once the money dried up, this couple had no use for me and hit the nuclear button, calling Amy and telling her about my visit, sharing incriminating pictures. This set off a wild chain of events in the weeks ahead that ultimately led me to confess all of my sexual sins to God and to Amy. The good news in all of this, as big of a sinner that I was, God was still waiting for me with open arms. The power of forgiveness is real. After I admitted my addictions to Amy and God, Amy looked at me and said, “Neil, Jesus forgave me for my sins, how can I not forgive you for yours. I forgive you.” In an instant, the chains of my sin fell away and my life was transformed. That wasn’t just Amy forgiving me for my sins. That was Jesus.
One year after my unmaking, my old life is gone. God absolutely helped me walk away from it. I picked up my cross and followed Jesus. God helped me cancel my OWN sinful culture and replaced it with one that is full of the Holy Spirit. I read and listened to the ENTIRE Bible. I started going to church. I saved my marriage. I stopped drinking, stopped smoking pot. Lost 30 pounds and ran a half marathon. Most importantly, I broke free from my addiction to porn and everything that went along with it and I haven’t looked back. I know that sounds hard to believe. And frankly, it still amazes me. I understand that for a lot of people, turning away from your sins is a constant struggle.
No matter what you are struggling with – pornography, sexual deviance, drugs, alcohol, gambling – it is possible to defeat your sins and transform your life. Trust me, if someone like me can get saved, I promise there is hope for you too. The first step is pretty easy. Ask God for help.