The Struggle Against Pornography
My very first encounter with the internet in the late 90’s was in the office of one of our farming families. They had been signed up to a government trial on how the internet would be beneficial for farming. I will not go into the detail but a link from a church web site landed us on a porn site.
One of my more recent encounters with internet porn was when I was fixing our washing machine and clicked on a link that was supposed to show me how to break in to the front loader when the door handle was broken.
On top of this there are emails that arrive and web news sites that encourage a further click to follow a sex related story. … The reality is that all around me is the opportunity to intentionally or unintentionally find myself on a web site that is openly pornographic. On top of this there are constant TV ads using ‘soft’ porn to sell anything from cars to furniture to housing bricks. And then there are the multitude of TV shows.
The point is that porn is freely available all around us. And even from a non-Christian point of view porn is incredibly destructive for anyone who participates in it. It doesn’t just stop at a private viewing of that supposedly sexy photo. One sermon on porn I’ve heard encouraged us to take a step back from the photo and see the families of those involved, the photographers and their families, the drug use and literal ‘vomiting off camera’ that so many of those trapped in the industry are reduced to as they struggle with what they are asked to do by the directors. And then zoom back further to see the make-up artists, the plastic surgeons, the image editors, the suicides, and the drug dealers people resort to so they can cope. Porn is truly an evil thing.
Here are some reasons why porn is destructive (I will speak from a male perspective but note that porn affects both women and men). Firstly, porn damages others: it distorts your view of sex because it is a lie, it ruins your view of women, it ruins women’s view of themselves, it abuses women, it is a sin against your wife (or future wife) and it destroys families as a result. Secondly, porn damages you: it is enslaving, it erodes your character, it wastes your time, energy and money, it interferes with and even ruins your relationship with God, it destroys your service for God and God’s wrath is against people who use porn as it is against all unrepentant wrongdoers.
Yet despite the damaging effects, porn is a horribly common temptation for Christians. Statistics repeatedly suggest that one in two men and one in five women in evangelical churches are using pornography. We cannot ignore the issue. And we must move beyond simply condemning those who struggle with porn, towards offering one another hope and forgiveness in a grace-filled gospel-centred way.
Here are five key steps to win the battle against porn:
- Hate porn (not just the shame it brings) and long for change.
- Love God and know that he offers you far more than porn both now and forever.
- Know forgiving grace, and be assured that you are loved by God and saved through faith in the work of Jesus.
- Commit to avoiding any temptation and take real steps to avoid it.
- Find a few trusted friends who will deliberately hold one other accountable.
If you struggle with porn and need help to overcome it, please come and talk to me. Accountability to one another is a key to overcoming porn’s destructive impact. A helpful book to read is “Captured by a Better Vision – Living Porn Free” by Tim Chester Rick