I realize that porn is an uncomfortable and touchy subject, but it is high time to clear the air. We (Christians) fight on many fronts and it seems that pornography is continuously gaining strength and velocity. It has permeated our culture, our homes, our marriages, our children….
Our culture has normalized porn; things that used to be absolutely scandalous to discuss outside of the bedroom are now part of our common vernacular. Culture has shifted. Think about it, in the last 50 years, we’ve gone from wholesome television to sex and adultery on nearly every station. We’ve moved from divorce being the exception to being the norm. Abortion, homosexuality….the list goes on and on. We have become desensitized.
First things first. We (yes, even Christians) are sexual beings. Sex is a deep and instructed desire in our hearts. God placed it there; which means He intended it for good. But if we don’t know the holy premise behind the pleasure, we become ill-equipped to handle temptation, ill-armored to fight sexual fixation, and ill-willed toward a God who we think demands obedience for the empty sake of obeying moral law.
So what makes porn such a big deal? It is clear that sexual sin has deep, personal and spiritual ramifications. Paul exuberantly warns the church at Corinth to flee sexual immorality. Why? Because every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body (1 Cor. 6:18).
Our kids and teens are being targeted with mature content by the world. A friend of mine recently put it this way: “Many of us grew up in an atmosphere of church, abstinence, and pornography, and what it did to us I don't fully know. But many young boys and girls are fighting a losing battle because they don't feel like anyone will help them lift that shameful burden. Men and women can resist porn. Boys and girls (especially boys) are another story. They are facing Goliath and have neither rock or slingshot.”
For our generation within the church, purity and pornography somehow coexisted and we are seeing the ramifications play out in front of our very eyes. He described pornography as a “shameful burden” and I cannot think of a more accurate description. It’s a known evil, yet we have done a terrible job giving children, teens, and even adults the proper tools (weapons, really) to fight against it.
So how do we deal with this ongoing battle against pornography? How do we join a brother or sister in the fight? How do we help our children guard their hearts and minds? In order to lift this burden; in order to find freedom, it must be talked about. Our silence is not moving us toward purity.
We must attack the root rather than just the fruit.
We’ve gotten really good at treating the symptoms without killing the disease. The truth is, not dealing with it God’s way has damaging effects on the Christian life. If desires and thoughts are not fully dealt with God’s way, or sufficient action isn’t taken, the temptation remains persistent and grows even stronger.
We are too plausible to ourselves, suppressing the light of conscience, rationalizing what is wrong so that it seems like the most natural thing in the world.
Shame is the barrier to freedom. Believers must be willing to do what He says to do about our sin. While Paul warns that sexual sin has deeper ramifications, it is still sin and should be treated as such. You don’t have to deeply search the Scriptures for instruction on how to handle our sin, for the Bible makes it quite clear. The answer is never to hide it, avoid it, or justify it; but to confess and repent from it.
We (the Church,) know that porn is not okay, yet there’s just as many viewing it within the Church as there is outside of it. We need sexual discipleship. Yes, you read that correctly. Right (biblical) thinking leads to right acting (behavior); it is not the other way around.
We’ve become sexual atheists-acting as though God has no authority in this particular area. The purpose of sex is intimacy (being known), but we’ve become fixated on the path to intimacy; instant gratification.
And the truth is, you can’t put to death what you believe is keeping you alive. Until someone is willing to push through the “shame” that is connotative with sexual sin and pursue confession and repentance, we are merely treating symptoms rather than the root issue. We don’t need to normalize pornography; we need to normalize being transparent about our struggle with pornography (and sin in general).
Churches are great at the “what”, but not so great with the “why”. We need more than behavioral correction; we need pure hearts. And the only way to get there is to:
- quit justifying and rationalizing
- look beyond individual shame for sexual sin
- seek support and accountability
Addictions-A Banquet in the Grave, Ed Welch
Killing Sin Habits, Stuart Scott
Making All Things New, David Powlison
Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, John Piper & Justin Taylor
Sex, Jesus, and The Conversations the Church Forgot, Mo Isom