“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery’. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28
Hello, all you beautiful people! Thank you for remaining constant readers and being so kind to share with me in this journey called life through my blog. As always, I appreciate you!
You remember the game telephone, right? It’s the one where you whisper something into the ear of the person next to you, and then they do the same to the person on the other side of them, and so forth, until the message is finally relayed back to you. For example, I may start out the game by saying, “I have sensitive skin that bruises,” or “He’s the strongest person I know – with strength of character that’s like a lion.” And either of those statements will come back totally different than what the original communicator said or intended.
If there’s one thing that I learned in the Effective Communications course that I had to attend for work (that lasted 2 full days…way overboard, in my opinion), is that: Communication is a two-way process by which the sender relays a message to the receiver and the receiver understands the message relayed by the sender and communicates that understanding.
That’s why it’s so very nonsensical (meaning, it doesn’t make any sense) for someone to try and communicate with someone who’s in a coma or mentally incapacitated (or asleep, even!). The sender and receiver of the messages could be talking or thinking about something completely different than one another. You don’t see anyone trying to have a rational conversation with someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s. Individuals who, unfortunately, experience such illnesses are not in their right (or normal) minds.
So, back to the telephone game: when messages are sent out, they don’t always remain the same or have the intended results once passed down. It happens all the time in written communication, as well. Even the things that we see relay messages to our brains, and, sometimes, what we view leaves the wrong impression – that can be devastatingly, lasting.
Yes, that includes entertainment choices. Images remain in our brains for much longer after we’ve looked at them and moved on to something else to view. That’s one reason why pornography has such negative effects on the brain, that many people don’t even realize.
Pornography viewing is a growing problem. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that probably brings in more money than the top 5 profit-producing businesses in this country alone. I didn’t know anything about pornography or its addictive nature until a Christian confided in me that it was a struggle for them in maintaining their purity before God.
I eventually became that person’s accountability partner, and embarked on learning more about the problem of pornography and how I could help them break away from the bondage of it.
Pornography use and addiction affects many people, including Christians. Some people think that it’s harmless because they are not physically doing anything to anyone or causing any visible damage.
However, our Dear Lord said that looking at someone to lust after them is adultery of the heart (Matt. 5:28). Viewing pornography is a sin. And when people get addicted to it, it actually affects the brain’s chemistry.
People just click and click, until they begin to escalate their use and gradually move from soft pornography to more hardcore forms to reach their high again. Users become obsessed with clicking and with viewing images. And, those images do not go away very easily. Someone told me that they still remember, vividly, pornographic images that they watched (unbeknownst to their parents, of course) as a child.
Whether or not people will admit it, viewing pornography impacts real relationships with other people. Husbands or unmarried men who are users eventually begin to objectify women or hold some unrealistic expectations of what a woman should look like (or do in the bedroom).
This can, and sadly does, affect the intimate interactions between a husband and wife. A husband may never have time or energy for his wife because of staying up late nights viewing pornography and being physically spent from it. A wife may feel like she will never be able to live up to the standards set by those her husband constantly views online, because he seeks to gain pleasure from watching women on a screen instead of being with a real person right in front of him.
That kind of stuff only produces tension and unnecessary problems for the married couple who should be basking in one another and not withholding from their spouse.
Viewing pornography also makes the users more irritable with others, it makes them become isolated, and it induces guilt and shame in them. That last one is probably more so for people who recognize that it’s wrong to do and not those who openly and unashamedly use it.
I recently read an article titled “Looking at Centerfolds has an Effect on who Stays in the Fold!” by Brad Harrub. In the article, Harrub honed in on a recent study, conducted by Samuel L. Perry and George Hayward, published in the journal Social Forces: “Seeing is (Not) Believing: How Viewing Pornography Shapes the Religious Lives of Young Americans.” Harrub wrote:
“Pornography is destroying the church. In the past year I have had over 20 individuals confide to me that they are struggling with a pornography addiction. More than half of those were preachers. I speculate this epidemic is even worse in young people, who have easier access than previous generations but are more reluctant to discuss their viewing habits.”
Pornography is having a major influence on Christians, and the topic needs to be addressed more openly with tangible resources and help to bring those who struggle with it out of their sin.
There are software programs available to help with accountability. Covenant Eyes is one of them. It allows an individual’s internet use to be filtered and monitored and sends a report to the accountability partner(s).
If preachers and Christians who are married experience this problem, then people who are prohibited from marrying – like, Catholic priests – are sure to have problems with keeping their desires in check. (It seems that if they are going to maintain their organization, that the Catholic church needs to change the requirements that it imposes on priests – requirements that were never given by God – for them to not marry, in the first place.)
“81% of Christians actively seek out pornography.” – Josh McDowell, “The Porn Phenomenon”
Harrub also mentioned a survey done by Josh McDowell called “The Porn Phenomenon” From it, McDowell noted that “in 13-24 year olds, 81% of Christians actively seek out pornography” and that ” if you take 29 and under, you get a total shift in truth. 56% will say that “not recycling” is a moral sin, but only 32% will say watching porn is a moral sin.”
So, in our day and age, morals are being thrown out the window. People care more about paper and plastic than they do for respecting others, themselves, and God. I’ve heard of parents who do everything in their power to protect their kids and bring them up in the nurture and instruction of the Lord, yet they still found their 7-year old searching the internet for “inappropriately dressed women.” (At least he knew it was inappropriate, right?)
Pornography is a serious problem, in general, but especially for Christians who are trying to make it to heaven. The person that I was an accountability partner for eventually abandoned their faith in Jesus Christ and sent me links to pornographic sites (which I’d never viewed or known about) – telling me to not be so strict about how I viewed sex, and that the commands of God from the Bible about sex were too restrictive and only meant to control people. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
What a befitting title of Brad Harrub’s article.
God’s commands about sex and purity are designed to protect the individual and to keep us from being corrupted by the world. He intends for sex to be enjoyed in marriage only, and between a man and a woman. God doesn’t want to control us; that’s why He gives us free will. He only wants to preserve us for His use and for being set apart from the world.
“Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2
I think that means that parents have to be mindful of and vigilant about what their children view on the Internet on their computers and their smartphones. It could mean taking the phone away from them at night or placing the family computer in an open area. It also means adults have to do what it takes to stop such a destructive habit.
Pornography’s effects can be detrimental to the Christian and we have to help our brothers and sisters to not go down that path or to turn away from it, if they have already started walking that road.
Just because you are by yourself and you are not physically harming anyone when watching pornography, the impact of viewing pornography can end up being very hurtful to you, to others, and to God.
What we see, what we hear, what we say, and what we do can have profound effects. (Whether we realize it, or not.) And the most important thing that we can ever hear is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The most important thing that we can ever do is give our lives over to the Lord. He died so that we can be free from the bondage of sin (like that of pornography) and so that we can live spiritual lives forever connected to Him.
The way that we give our lives to Christ is by obeying His Word.
We must believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of all.
We must confess His wonderful name to others.
We must repent of our sins (stop committing them).
And we must be baptized (fully submerged in water) to receive the forgiveness of our sins.
Then we must live faithful lives in His service.
It’s the most important thing that will have the most profound impact on any of our lives. Are you in the fold?
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