Escaping the Weight of Shame
By Shannon Woodland
The 700 Club
CBN.com“Shame, guilt, embarrassment, I knew it was wrong. Born and raised in the church, I knew it was wrong,” declared Chris Amos.
It only took one look at a porn magazine and ten–year-old Chris Amos was hooked. It gave him a sense of power, acceptance, even love – things a boy unsure of himself needed. “Here’re the most beautiful women in the whole world and they are there to meet your every need. They are there to accept you. You want unconditional love? Look at pornography.”
But he quickly learned there was a flip side. “As soon as that need is met immediately comes the guilt, and the shame and the worthlessness, and the self- condemnation. Inside I was tormented, inside there was a hopelessness growing. Inside I was resolved to the fact that, ‘This is my destiny. This is my life.’”
After high school Chris joined the Norfolk, Virginia Police Department. He also married Anne Marie and they attended church regularly. Even then, he couldn’t shake his addiction. Chris said, “You wake up thinking about pornography. You go to bed thinking about pornography. You get to such a place of despondency, where you have no self-esteem, no self-worth, no self-value. You have nothing. You just feel like a pervert.”
At times he took off from work without telling his wife so that he could frequent the go-go bars and adult video stores. He grew accustomed to lying to cover his tracks. Until, his first child was born. “I realized I could lie to my wife. I could lie to my coworkers. I could lie to my family, could lie to my pastor, and still function. But when I looked into the eyes of my newborn son, just something, I can’t lie to him. He deserves better. Anne Marie certainly deserved better and that’s when the thoughts of suicide started entering my mind.”
For weeks Chris thought about killing himself. One day on a call, he made up his mind. “I remember walking into the townhouse and hearing a gun shot. And there’s this 18-year-old young man that had just shot himself, still bleeding from the side of his head. And the thought is really cemented, ‘Well that doesn’t look too bad. That looks pretty easy. That looks pretty painless.’ I think that kind of sealed the deal. ‘OK, this is what I’m going to do.’”
Chris waited until his wife and son left the house. “I took out my city issue revolver, and I remember first putting it in my mouth, then to the side of my head. And (I was) watching this whole thing in a mirror, and started to squeeze the trigger and the hammer started to move back.”
At that moment, Chris heard a voice. “And it says simply three words, ‘There is hope. There is hope.’”
Chris put down the gun. He believes the voice that stopped him was God’s. “That was just enough light, just enough hope to pierce that darkness that had become my life.”
Chris knew he had to tell Anne Marie about his addiction, but he didn’t know how. So he left adult videos out for her to find. “All I could do was drop to my knees and pray in the name of Jesus,” said Anne Marie. “First of all that You would protect my marriage and You would protect Chris and You would help me to work through this and love him anyway.”
Now that she knew, Anne Marie kept an eye out for Chris. Building trust would take time. But more importantly, she prayed. “And there was hope in that because remember, I’d been totally alone in this addiction,” said Chris. “Parents, no one knew. She was the first person to know on the face of earth what I was going through. I gained hope from that.”
But Chris’ journey to healing had barely begun. First he had to regain his wife’s trust. Anne Marie was in the journey with him. She says, “And there were times I may have sensed there was something was up and would just tell him, ‘I just want you to know, I’m praying for you. And you’re going to win,’”
While in church one night, he says God spoke to him again. “’It’s time to step out behind the masks, the lies, the deceit, the deception. Satan has robbed you of over half of your life,’” God told Chris. “’It’s time to put an end to this. There was an alter call at the end of the service. I grabbed Anne Marie by the hand we went forward and I knelt down and for the first time I prayed, ‘Father forgive me for the hell my life has become.’ The only way I describe it was God walked up, Jesus Christ walked up as I’m kneeling, key in hand and put it in a padlock, unlocked this padlock, 14 years in the making, and started to unwind this chain, that had become my life. And I got up from that alter, the first time I can ever remember not feeling like a pervert; the first time I can remember feeling clean, feeling like I was worth something.”
Chris admits that until that moment he had never let God into his life despite years of going to church. With his new faith in Christ, he found strength to fight and overcome his addiction to pornography. Now married for 27 years, he has three grown children and two grandsons.
“I am more dependent on the Lord now than I was the night I was saved, the night I accepted Christ into my life. I’ll never forget my past, never forget what God delivered me from, but I don’t live there. And it should give anyone out there hope, no matter where you’re at, the pain you feel is real, the loneliness is real, but the hope of Jesus Christ is real, too. The hope of Jesus Christ is real.”
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