When it comes to sexual addiction, pornography is Enemy Number One. This is a big deal in our society where sexuality is flaunted everywhere. Pornography is sin. There is no other way to look at it (pun intended).
But let us also know that looking longingly at that girl in the t-shirt ad is also sin. Pornography does not have to be blatant to still be sin. Men are stirred up with pictures; women, as far as I understand it, get stirred up more with dragged out, blah, blah, blah, romance, talky stuff.
So whether you get stirred by t-shirt ads or two hour long romance movies, it’s the same thing. (Although it is interesting there are no adultery commands concerning what a woman thinks in her heart about a man. Oversight or possible point? Or perhaps another proof that we shouldn’t ask too many questions?)
Pornography is addicting. Brain scans show that it releases certain chemicals that drive a guy crazy and makes him want to feel the crazy over and over again. The growing pornography addiction is one that Christianity feels a need to address, and rightly so. But, once again, seems to miss the mark.
Christian porn-defeating advice takes one of these approaches:
1) “You can defeat your porn addiction when you see Christ as your fulfillment in life. When you see that Christ truly answers all your longings, you will defeat porn.”
Is salvation really about Christ fulfilling my fleshly lusts? I don’t think so. I suppose there is some truth in this, but frequently the truth is not communicated well. When I see a t-shirt ad in the sidebar on the weather page, my problem is not that Christ does not fulfill my needs, my problem is that there’s a woman who looks rather attractive and all come-hitherish, and boom, I’m hooked.
2) “Women are created in God’s image and they deserve better treatment.”
Yes, and God is beautiful. The Bible describes certain women as “very fair to look upon.” Which loosely translated means, “she looked hot.” Notice the Bible does not describe all women this way! It’s just a fact, even a biblical fact, that certain women are more good to look at than others. My being in Christ does not change this fact! A spirit-filled man wrote that she was fair to look upon! Even God realizes how good some women are to look at. There is nothing wrong with admitting this fact (although it may be insensitive depending on how such a fact is communicated). Women do deserve better treatment, and, at the same time, women who routinely go out of their way to trip up men should cut it out! Women posing in pictures for the express purpose of stirring up a man are getting the treatment they asked for. This does not get me off the hook, however, but it’s still a fact.
3) Pornography messes with the marriage relationship, general view of women, leads to stupification, and usually ends with guilt and emptiness.
Pornography may mess with you in many ways. I don’t think heaping up guilt on guys who probably already feel guilty is much of a deterrent. They already know this, but when Miss. Come Hither flaunts her goods, a guy isn’t thinking about such things. The power of an addiction is that it overrules rationality. These things are all true and a rational guy knows this, but rationality has little to do with it.
4) Think of the pain you cause your wife. If you loved your wife you wouldn’t do this.
It would be hard to prove that viewing porn was demonstrating love to your wife (although I’m sure some have given it the ol’ college try), but seeing a woman who is fair to look upon does not mean I don’t love my wife, it means I see a woman who is fair to look upon. There is nothing akin to love going on when it comes to porn. This charge is equivalent to telling a wife that when she desires to call the pizza place for yet another supreme pizza to satisfy her pizza craving she is not loving her husband who normally cooks for her. Porn is a physical reaction to a physical urge just like eating, sleeping, lounging, or any other physical urge. It has little to do with loving your wife and much to do with physical lust. (This may make sense to you, but it probably doesn’t to your wife.)
5) Just believe in Jesus really, really, a lot and you will be set free.
Covered this one yesterday.
So, if none of these are the answer (and I’m not fully convinced they are not, or aren’t at least part of the answer), what is the Bible’s answer? It’s the same answer it gives to all sin: stop it!
Defeating sin is a battle. The Bible says we’re in a war, we require spiritual armor. Temptation is the big enemy in addiction. Flee youthful lusts. Know the time and place where this kicks in and avoid it. Stay away from tv, books, computer, whatever it is that kicks you into your spiral and flee, run, resist, get away.
Confess it to someone. Battle it. Flee from it. Resist.
This is the Bible’s counsel on the issue. Why doesn’t it get more air time? Because it’s too hard and practical. We’d rather deal with psychological, feel better about Jesus mumbo-jumbo than do something hard. As Hebrews 12 says, we’re wimps “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Man up and fight!
(The problem I see is that most men who battle pornography don’t really want to defeat it. Wanting to defeat it is a good beginning point, and probably where 2, 3, and 4 above can be helpful.)
Plenty of other people have overcome sin, the great cloud of witnesses, so you fight it, too! No one likes this, sounds too much like works and self-righteousness. Nope, it actually sounds like sound biblical counsel. Sin is a big deal, lay aside every weight of it that slows down the race of faith.
Have you ever strived against sin to the point of shedding blood to flee it? No? Then you’re not doing all you can. Christ is faithful, the Spirit is powerful, the Father is willing to forgive, and you, you who are in the Body of Christ, are fully equipped to resist, so resist!
Everyone wants the magic rabbit’s foot that immediately cures all struggle. Not gonna happen. Fight the fight and run the race, and run it to win, which means controlling your body. Self-control means there’s some control the self has over itself. Self-control is part of the Spirit’s fruit. The Spirit enables the believer to control the self, but it’s not automatic, it’s a battle. One worth fighting. Never stop fighting. Never assume you’ve conquered the addiction–pride goes before the fall. We’re in a war; act accordingly.