Faith & Insight: Let’s talk about pornography
Pornography is killing our nation. Porn is killing our marriages, our families, our children and our churches. Atheist activist Darrel Ray said, “Religious people use 10 percent more pornography than secular people. All that religious preaching does no good.” Pastors.com says 50 percent of all Christian men and 20 percent of all Christian women are addicted to porn. The church must not be silent. You can’t avoid addressing this wickedness. Nine out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to porn before the age of 18. Porn is a darkness that must be attacked. Purity is God’s plan!
The explosion of porn is sparked by three “As” — Accessibility, Affordability and Anonymity. When a baby boomer was a teenager, you had to go a store and reach for porn on the shelf of a magazine rack. Today, you can consume it in the privacy of your own home, wherever you have your laptop or phone, there’s porn on demand, free to view.
Malcolm Muggeridge wrote to his father when he was living in India as a young man of an incident that happened to him as he was swimming in the river. He saw a woman in the distance: “She came to the river and took off her clothes and stood naked, her brown body caught by the sun. I suddenly went mad. There came to me that dryness in the back of my throat; that feeling … of wild unreasonableness which is called passion. I darted with all the force of swimming I had to where she was, and then nearly fainted, for she was old and hideous and her feet deformed and turned inwards and her skin wrinkled and worst of all, she was a leper. This creature grinned at me, showing a toothless mask, and the next thing I knew was that I was swimming along in my old way in the middle of the stream but I was trembling. When I think of lust now, I think of this leprous woman.” All men can identify with Malcolm.
I’m writing about Christians. I’m writing about the church. Caught in a web of online pornography and masturbation, a believer wrote to their pastor: “I do not know who I am anymore. I am so scared … I do what I know is wrong. I have tried to stop — really I have. I have cried and sobbed at night. I have prayed and kept journals. I have read books. I am honestly at loss, I love God. But I cannot continue to ask for forgiveness over and over and over for the same thing. I know I need help, but I do not know how to get it. I know that God has so much more planned for my life than this. But this sin continues to conquer me.”
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:15: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” What’s in us is what will come out of us. If you don’t feed your heart with what’s good and true, your heart will gravitate to lies and trash. Jesus said in Mark 7:20, “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that comes evil thoughts …” If you don’t feed your heart with truth, you will do the thing you hate. The Bible says, “Confess your sins to one another so that you may be healed.” Few churches have a safe climate where confession can take place. Many times that confession isn’t replaced with feeding the heart truth.
We must say yes to Jesus. We must say yes to God’s word. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Develop habits where you’re flooding your mind and heart with God’s word. The psalmist wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” The battle against porn in one’s life is best summed up by these words from Heath Lambert: “You need to be the kind of person who fights for a close relationship with Jesus more than you fight against pornography … When you find yourself working to look to Christ more than you find yourself working to avoid porn, you’ll know you have turned the corner … A living, breathing relationship with Jesus will drive porn out of your life quicker than anything else. When you turn your eyes to Jesus, there isn’t any room for anything else in your heart because he fills it up.”
Porn will rob you of joy. Porn will corrupt you. Porn damages your self-esteem. Porn will drive you away from God. Porn will remove any desire for God’s word. Porn will destroy your marriage. If you want victory, say yes to Jesus. Say yes to God’s word. If you want some help, give me a call.
Ben Fleming is the pastor of Silver Hills Community Church.