I first became acquainted with Bill in January of 2006. He showed up on a sexual addiction recovery website, which is run by a friend of mine, called Higher Calling (http://higher-calling.com). In the typical fashion Bill introduced himself to the community. Also in the typical fashion he told us he had been using pornography regularly since he was young, roughly 10 years old. Then, in an atypical fashion, he informed us that he would be sentenced in 5 days for possession and distribution of child pornography. Let us not rush past this. Bill collected, used, and distributed child pornography.
Most people think that they, themselves, have very few enemies. I am no different. I have a very high opinion of myself in this regard. I'm not saying it's justified, mind you. I'm saying I have it. I am quite convinced that I have ample grace and mercy for my fellow man. So when I read in the bible that I should pray for my enemies, most days I have a hard time pinning down anyone that I truly consider falls into this category.
Unless I remember people like Bill.
You know why it's so easy to hate people like him? Of course you do. Say it with me, "Because they deserve it!" They directly, and indirectly, spread and grow and propagate a culture bent on preying upon the most innocent among us for their own selfish gratification. It is unconscionable. Unforgivable. Irreparable. And surely, rightly, in the eyes of man and the eyes of God, they deserve wrath.
Which is why I think it's important to note that what I did next was not born out of compassion.
I do not remember feeling any compassion for Bill in fact, only his victims. The kids in the photographs and videos. His family. His wife whose home was raided by armed federal agents. But not Bill. For Bill I felt what any rational person would feel. A combination of anger, disgust, and contempt. But something about this bothered me. In spite of myself, I started to feel convicted. Just being angry at Bill, and wanting justice to be done, wasn't enough. I wanted more. I wanted to be more than just self-righteous. I wanted to be a part of the solution. It's not that being a pissed off spectator isn't gratifying. You and I both know that it is. But that wasn't enough. I wanted to help. I wanted to help Bill become the sort of person that would never, ever, EVER do this sort of thing again.
Now, my delusions of grandeur were not so monumental that I considered myself up to this task. Not only do I lack the skill, but I'm fairly selfish with my time. And then there was the problem with Bill living half a country away. Compound that with his subsequent sentencing of 5-7 years in a federal penitentiary... you get the idea. It's a lot of trouble, really. Especially for some random stranger I met on the Internet. It would be much easier to just put the whole thing out of my mind.
But I didn't.