By John Leyendecker, FOCUS Missionary

So yesterday Chad Ochocinco (his Twitter handle is: @ochocinco) responded to me (@johnleyendecker) on Twitter! Can you believe it? I mean, c’mon, the guy has 3.2 million followers and he responded to me! This was huge! My kids have his Bengals jerseys (sorry Patriots fans) both with Johnson and Ochocinco on the back. My 4 year old son’s nickname is Sojo, which he immediately turned into Sojo-Cinco. Needless to say, we are HUGE fans.

What was said was troubling, but not surprising.

Here is the thread:

It all started when a Twitter follower of Chad Ochocinco’s asked him about a pornography website.

Ochocinco responds:

@ochocinco A very interesting site, I get most of my creative ideas from there to keep HER guessing what's next.

In response to this tweet, I tweeted:

@johnleyendecker: @ochocinco you claim to be Christian, yet look at porn? You are a joke. Be a man. Honor your God and women. Kids look up to you.

This is when Ochocinco responds directly to my tweet:

@ochocinco: I tend to back slide every now and then kind sir. RT@johnleyendecker: @ochocinco you claim to be Christian, yet look at porn?

@johnleyendecker: just hope that people realize you are backsliding, not glorifying it. Peace & grace to you!

@ochocinco: I love you to oh Holy One RT @johnleyendecker: just hope that people realize you are backsliding, not glorifying it. Peace & grace to you!

From this interaction, almost 300 people on Twitter replied to our conversation. Some defended him and some encouraged me…but they mostly defended him.

Twitter only allows 140 characters, so I wanted to tell Chad and others what I really meant:

First, I want to apologize because in my zeal I left out a key phrase that would have given better context. I meant to say “you claim to be a Christian, yet you are glorifying looking at pornography.” So for this, I ask your forgiveness.

But the rest, I have to admit, I meant. Men who look at pornography and have no remorse, regret, or even go so far as to make it seem creative as you did Chad are a joke. Not joke, funny, but as in a joke not to be taken seriously.

I appreciate your comment about backsliding. I know a lot about backsliding. I know a lot about my own brokenness being what Christ is using in me to heal others. I know very well St. Paul’s words, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) I have to admit Chad, I don’t take it lightly.

You see, I’ve been in ministry for 10 years and have seen the destruction that pornography causes in men’s and women’s lives. I have friends that work to liberate women and children from the sex slave industry that is built on the foundation of pornography. I will not quote to you the statistics or the studies, you can read them all on your own, but I want to share with you my heart and extend grace to you. Maybe you don’t know how destructive porn is? Maybe to justify your own addiction, you make light of it? Or worse, maybe you talk about it because you think it’s what your fans want to hear? I’m not sure, but I want to assume the best of you.

As men we are called to be responsible. A man who follows Christ takes responsibility. There is nothing funny or cool about pornography. Women have a tremendous dignity, a dignity that should be honored and guarded by men, not exploited and degraded. We are responsible for those men and women as leaders. Chad, you are a leader. Many young men and women look up to you as an example whether you like that or not. St. Paul says, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

I ask you, and remind myself of it as I ask it of you, to have the courage of your convictions. If you are trapped in bondage to pornography, ask for help. If you are embarrassed or feel guilty about some of things you have said, let’s repent and do better. Women deserve better, God deserves better, and as an adopted son of God, you deserve better too Chad. I wrote this because I care about you bro. I hope it can be an encouragement to you. If not, and you think I’m completely off-base, please resolve to pray for me. Please see that I wasn’t throwing stones at you or judging your heart, only God knows a man’s heart, but I can’t let a brother in Christ actions go unchecked, especially when it is hurting so many.

John converted to Catholicism in 1999 after a very prodigal lifestyle. It is from this place of brokenness that he shares what Christ has done in his life. He received his degree in classics and theology from Xavier University. Working with FOCUS at Colorado State for 4 1/2 years has made him passionate for the work of the New Evangelization. Currently John and his wife of 9 years, Lisa, live in Fort Collins, Colorado, with their five children.

You can follow him on Twitter @johnleyendecker

You can follow FOCUS Equip @focusequip.

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19 Comments

To all who love to use the always-misused "Judge not, lest ye be judged": it doesn't mean you're not allowed to condemn an action. It means you're not allowed to declare anyone unsaveable, or unworthy of forgiveness. Looking at porn is wrong. That's not a judgment, it's a fact (a belief, for those of us who are Christian).
Friends, if you are a victim of the evil of pornography, in whatever aspect, you must recognize that it is intrinsically evil and repent. There is healing in God's merciful love, but the victim must allow God's love and healing to enter his/her heart. If someone does not want or care to be healed or recognize this evil for what it truly is, then friends and loved ones must pray that his/her heart be opened to the Truth, Who is Jesus Christ. In this Truth, God sets captives free. Do not be discouraged. There is Hope in Christ, as I know from my own personal life. Let us pray that those who "do not care" about this sin in their lives receive the desire to know God's Truth and have a sincere change of heart. Do not give up and be encouraged to fight the good fight in Christ Jesus, Who loves you. With the recognition of the Truth and the desire to know Christ and have a change of heart, true healing can and DOES take place. Captives are set free. It does not necessarily happen all at once. God wants souls to realize that He alone is their Stength and souls must place their complete trust in Him. We are all weak and sinners and all in need of God's grace. But God is always with us and never leaves us, not even for a moment. Day by day, live on in His Love and depend completely on Him for everything, and in particular for the continued grace to remain pure in heart. God will not abandon us, although it may feel like it at times. Do not rely on your feelings and place your trust and faith in God. God loves you dearly.
With regard to spineless "anonymous" above, quote: "the vast majority who make porn are doing it by choice". I suggest you visit the site called "the pink cross". It is operated by an ex porn "star" and her husband. Read through the stories regarding the women, in particular, who have been victimized and then saved from the "industry". In virtually all cases, they were horrifically molested as children and or raped and abused among other horrendous crimes. Human trafficking is the term; look it up if you don't understand it. In fact, based on the childish, whiny tome of your entry it seems there is quite a bit you don't understand.
Just because you're a fan of Ocho and your beliefs on what a christian is doesn't reflect Ocho's, it seems unfair to like someone for who they are, make them a role model, then expect them change to fit your opinions on what christianity is. The word christianity/christian has lost its meaning as of late. Believing is all that matters.
Thanks for promoting the dignity of women! Your words are inspiring and I hope more people feel this way as time passes. Keep up His awesome work! Thanks for making my day!
You were not 'throwing stones'; you were doing your Chrisitan duty to reprimand the sinner. If more men would hold their sex responsible; maybe we might have a chance. Pornography ruined my marriage-it humiliated me as a woman-my husband preferred pornography to his flesh and blood wife. I have remained in this marriage-trying to work it out-but he continues to become more and more emotionally abusive and controlling-not physical. He absolutely does not care about what he does and how much it hurts me. He is unmoved by my tears or broken heart. Pornography does more than just break the marital bed-it removes the husbands desire for any intimacy with his wife. He no longer confides any feelings to her-but shares them with other women instead. Even if he is not physically adulterous-he is emotionally and spiritually. My children and I pray daily-but he only seems to pull further away. Despite knowing this; his 'friends' continue to send him 'fun and harmless little pictures.' God alone can heal my husband-but instead of seeking help-he only sinks further...If He doesn't intervene; I can only see a broken home in our future...this is the reality of what pornography gives you.
...in the meantime, john, what surprises me perplexes me is your decision make and persist in your choice of a ROLE model for your kids and spend the money to garb them in the image of ocho...like a TV channel, you have a voluntary will to choose the best role model for your kids...couldn't you have driven your point better by telling him that you will choose a better role model for your kids...like voting with your wallet? for ocho, the economics of the game trumps principles and will send an emphatic message a la St Francis' quotation in pragmatic terms...i believe that being a Colorado resident, you have a better choice now! So, put your treasure where your heart is and be consistent with your values and point...
"I know how the Catholics operate"? Wow. That says more about where anon is in his/her life than it does the Church. Please know there are authentic earenstly faith-filled Catholics & their brother Christians in this world, but a school or church sign does not guarantee it. Sorry your experience was not what it should have been, but that does not mean holiness does not exist in this world. For starters, seek out a small faith group where all are there voluntarily, and it will change your life. Final note: there are no "harmless" actions in the porn world. every hit on a site is money is SOMEBODY's pocket, and more affirmation to them to continue to ruin others' lives.
thank you for standing up for the dignity of men and women. the effects of pornography nearly destroyed a man in my life. keep shining a light on this encroaching darkness. God bless youl
John, you're amazing. Keep up the good work.
Even though Ochocinco is a public figure, a chastisement like this should be done in private. It does not matter how salient your point was or is. Even this article is inappropriate. You may say that he is causing scandal publicly, but it still doesn't matter: two wrongs don't make a right.
You, sir, are a lousy christian. Why, you ask? It all boils down to one simple sentence - "Judge Not, Lest YE Be Judged.". You judged Ocho without actually KNOWING the man. You judged him without finding out the reasons behind what he does/did. You thought one of his tweets gave you enough insight to make a call on his lifestyle and choices. And I hereby judge you - You are a sadly lacking "christian".
Your entire argument fell apart when you revealed your true feelings with one line: "Men who look at pornography and have no remorse, regret, or even go so far as to make it seem creative as you did Chad are a joke." That's a true elitist attitude - insinuating that you are to be taken more seriously than another human being (ANY other human being). Not the hand of God at work in those words. Choose them carefully.
I think the anonymous comment below brings up some elephants in the room and a chance for some points of clarification. I too grew up Catholic and went to a Jesuit school so I understand where you are coming from. Lots of points can be made here with everything you threw out, but I want to focus just on one. The key here is the difference between sin and glorify sin. As Scripture says, all sin and fall short of the glory of God. The Church is filled with sinners and isn't perfect. Catholics should repent of the many sins that have been committed and we continue to do so. But, we do not glorify the sins. We do not call them okay. I think John was calling a spade a spade. He is willing to do this in his own life as well...so I don't think it is hypocritical.
Between 80-90% of young adult males regularly look at porn and 1/3 of young women. It is an epidemic. You are fighting an uphill battle with the rest of us, but never give up. BTW - St. Francis never said "preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words." It is a made-up attribution.
The vast majority of people who make porn are doing it by choice. No one is forcing them to do it. There are alot greater sins in the world then watching sexual things or acting them out. Murder is worse. Starvation because of greed is worse. War is worse. Catholic priest molesting little boys is worse. So who is the hypocrite? In my opinion both of you are. As are almost every catholic I know. I grew up catholic and went a catholic grade school and a private Jesuit high school. I know from experience how the Catholics operate. It is just as 'revolting' as Chad.
Wether or not he is a "joke" or what he is doing is a "joke" you failed when you used that line. There's an art to conversation and throwing attacks like that is only going to put someone on the defensive and force them to not listen to a single word you say, or take YOU seriously. You are right about Porn, you are right about men being responsible....now be such with your words and remove the plank from your own eye, sir.
John, I appreciate this article and I more understand and appreciate your clarification. Twitter can leave a lot to be loss in translation due to the character limit, and my initial stance was that you were "throwing stones". May God bless you and prayerfully may many gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for that which you expressed.
"Preach the gospel often and if necessary, use words." -St. Francis You sir, made great use of those words. :)

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