Set Free From Pornography

 Clay Crosse talks about his secret struggle with pornography.  

It happened when he was in fourth grade. Clay Crosse was at a friend?s house hanging out after school.

"My friend?s dad had these magazines," he said. I was just a kid, and I knew that I wasn?t supposed to be looking at this stuff, but I did."

That afternoon, visions of pornography were burned into his eyes, and more than 20 years later, the popular Christian musician discovered his ministry and his relationships were becoming clouded by a sin that he kept hidden from the world.

"It?s been heavy on my heart," Crosse said in an interview with the Baptist Press. "I?m not the kind of guy who can be a public figure and put on a happy face when something is so pressing on my heart. So I just want to be honest."

Crosse grew up in Memphis, Tenn., in a Christian home. He accepted Christ at the age of 13 and was active in his youth group.

But in high school and college, Crosse said he had occasional glimpses of "girlie" magazines. Still, Crosse didn?t seem to think he had a problem.

When Crosse turned 23, he married Renna, his high school sweetheart. " I thought that whenever that temptation would come up, I would say, ?It?s not a part of my life. That happened when I was in high school. I have a beautiful wife, a great life,?" he said.

That worked for the first three or four years of their marriage. But, eventually, Crosse?s personal standards began to slip.

Several years ago, in the middle of his vibrant ministry, Crosse said pornography crept back into his life. "Occasionally, I would watch videos or see magazines. It?s available wherever you might want to get it," he said. I knew I had a problem. I had to be broken."

That moment came on an airline flight in 1998. Crosse was returning from an engagement in Seattle and the long flight home to Nashville, Tennessee, gave him time to reflect on his life and the secret sin he held in his heart.

"On that airplane, God made it so clear. I was way up in the sky, looking down on my life. I hated what I saw. I needed to clean up my life. I had never committed adultery, but I knew it was going to happen. Pornography is one thing, but it only leads to a physical reality."

The next step for Crosse was difficult?He had to tell his wife. Crosse received his wife?s forgiveness, but the healing wasn?t overnight. "To this day, there is healing. It was a time of reckoning. I had to admit that I am vulnerable to this. I?m not this guy walking around that?s incapable of failure. I had to make this area of my life a priority with God."

Two years later, Crosse said he maintains strict accountability in his spiritual walk. "I have people that I?m accountable to," he said. "It?s amazing how God sent people into my life that I could talk to about this."

As Crosse prepares to venture out on a new musical tour, he said the message he will bring is one of hope. "I?ve experienced something that other people have been through and are going through, but praise God, I?ve come out of it."

Reprinted with permission by New Man, May/June 2000. Strang Communications Co.