The Rope is Hope (Review: “Delivered”)
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The Author

Lindsay is a graduate of the University of Maryland and of the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). She loves Jesus, grammar, and Harry Potter, though not necessarily in that order. Learn more at her personal blog, Lindsay Loves.
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Image by agentkramer at flickr.

As you know, I read a lot. I believe that we read because it teaches us what it means to be human. Most of the nonfiction I read is for Austin CNM these days, so it doesn’t all apply to me. My job here is not just to share what I think and feel about what I read, but to share it for the benefit of others. So this time, I’m sharing a book I read for some of you.

I also believe that words have power. I use the word “hate” sparingly. I hate spiders. I hate wet socks. I hate sin. I hate pornography. I really hate pornography, in particular because I know how thoroughly it ensnares people in my life. I wish I could say that was a broad definition of “people in my life,” but I could name names. I’ll bet many of you reading this post could, too. One of those names might be yours. This is for you, and for them, and on this side of eternity, for all of us.

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Cover image courtesy of Catholic Answers Press.

Having overcome his own addiction to pornography and turned to a life of evangelization, Matt Fradd has gathered together the stories of nine men and women who have given up sexual sin for the grace of God. Their testimonies make up Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women Who Turned from Porn to Purity. Among them are a Catholic psychologist who specializes in helping men find freedom from pornography addiction, a former porn performer who rose above the ashes of a lifetime of abuse, and Catholic musician Audrey Assad. Every story is different, and the depth of their despair is clear. While reading, I found myself unable to respond beyond prayer, particularly for those people with similar backgrounds who haven’t broken free from the darkness. My heart was broken.

What makes this book stand out in particular, though, is not its gritty truth or its realistic individual voices. It’s not about shock value. It’s the message of hope. We have just completed a liturgical season that calls us to hope: for the celebration of Christ’s birth, but also for his Second Coming at the end of time. Hope requires us to trust that God’s plans for us are good and that he will do as he said, that he is faithful to his promises. It is only hope that keeps us going when giving up would be so easy. The men and women who write Delivered guide us through their descent into sin, yes, but they each have a story of redemption as well. Over and over, a writer describes how simply throwing away the magazines, cutting the cable cord, or finding a better use for idle hands was not enough. Stress led easily to old habits. They only found complete healing (or, for some, almost complete) by replacing the disorder with order, the brokenness with strength, the sin with the Savior.

That’s the element that is missing in our feeble human attempts to grit our teeth and claw our own way out of our sins. We can’t do it alone. We need Jesus. Each of the stories in Delivered is a story of hope. Each storyteller gave up pornography and took up the love of Christ instead. If you try to give up a vice without replacing it with virtue, you have left a vacuum. The evil one waits eagerly to fill it again unless you do first. “Cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12): this is the rallying cry of anyone struggling with sin. This is the anthem of hope.

The beginning of the year is a time for changes and renewal. If you are struggling with sexual sin, this could be the push you need to finally find freedom. Give it all up and cling to our merciful Lord. If you aren’t, you probably know an area of your life that needs to be surrendered to God. Turn away from that and turn toward Jesus. He’s waiting for you, and he will always take you back.


Many thanks to Catholic Answers Press for providing a free copy of Delivered for me to review. I received no other compensation in exchange for this review.

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