The Snare of Pornography
Our nation is drowning in a sea of sensuality.
About 70% of the time, pornography falls into the hands of children, so when a friend of mine was a teenager and found a stash of his father’s magazines, he began to browse at the pictures. Though he became a Christian in college, the images stayed with him, and so did his habit. He kept his fantasy world intact, making sure that no one found out about his secret pleasure. He both loved pornography and hated it.
One man with a similar story said, “I lived like a double agent for the CIA—leading two lives. I was actually pretty good at it and thought I would never get caught. But God had been on my trail all along. Now for the first time in my life I am able to be real with others about the junk in my life—not just the good stuff… I am finally living without the constant threat of others finding out who I really am.” Yes, this addiction like others can only be cured with the truth that sets us free.
There was a time when pornography was confined to adult magazines sold from behind the counter. Today, through the video and DVD, even more powerful pornographic images are brought into the homes of our nation. And then what shall we say about the internet which has brought pornography shops into American homes? Many sit peering at the screen, enjoying virtual images, in some instances translated live to the consumer. Recently a youth pastor in a Chicago suburb had to resign because of the reams of pornography he had downloaded from a website.
The snare of pornography is different from most others. Although we’re all born greedy, we’re not necessarily born with a love for gambling. We are not born with a love for alcohol, but must acquire it by beginning to drink. But because we grow up with persistent sexual appetites, sexual fantasies are never far from our minds. Our sexuality is so much a part of who we are that it is almost impossible (especially for men) to live without battling impure thoughts.
Incredibly, more money is spent on pornography each year than on the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball, combined. What is more, there are 4.2 million pornography websites! In any given day, 25% of all search engine requests are for pornography, most occurring between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day on business computers. It is now possible to purchase cell phones that can download pornography from a satellite, at any time of day or night. Even child pornography, although illegal, is a 3 billion dollar a year industry.
As parents and grandparents, we had better wake up to the reality of this tsunami that is crashing like a tidal wave across our land. We have to begin by taking care ourselves, lest we are caught in this plague that has engulfed us. Then we also have to put policies and practices in place that will protect us and our families.
In the question and answer section, I respond to just a few of the questions that might be asked about this subject. May God help us at this critical time in history!
How Are We To Understand Sexual Addiction?
Q: Is pornography just a harmless pleasure?
A: Pornography is not a ‘victimless crime’ as some would have us believe. Just ask the wives of husbands immersed in pornography. Research indicates that those who use pornography are more likely to go to prostitutes, engage in domestic violence, rape, and incest.
The fact that one out of every four girls born in the United States this year will at some time be molested, is to a great degree the results of pornography, the exploitation of sexual desires. Every form of perversion is available in pornography and as these desires are acted out, the result is sex crimes of various sorts.
Q: What should a wife do if she discovers that her husband is into pornography?
A: The wife should avoid the impulse to lash out and condemn him. To intensify his shame will not help their relationship, nor will it spur him on to deliverance. Perhaps she could say, “What you have done hurts me, but I love you; I know you have fallen into a snare, but I want to be here to help you. I promise to encourage you and to love you. Let’s face all of this together.”
This approach would have had two benefits. His secret would be out in the open, which is of great help in restoration and healing. At last, the charade is over, the guilt and shame of leading a secret life has come to an end.
Also, if the wife speaks to him with compassion and understanding he is given the assurance the marriage is worth salvaging. My advice to wives: stand along side of your husband with a spirit of helpfulness, prayer and encouragement. If not, he will be driven back into his world of sexual obsession veiled in an even more secretive shroud. If the addiction continues, consult a pastor or counselor.
Q: What is the path out of the addiction?
A: I agree with those counselors who tell us that it is not possible for an addict to come clean until he has come into the light; that is, until his secret is shared. Satan works undercover; his kingdom is one of darkness and shame. When the lid is lifted and the light of truth shines into the soul, there is hope and cleansing. Men who cannot share their struggle with their wives, must confide in a friend, a counselor or pastor with whom they can pray and be accountable.
Second, along with this sharing, there must be accountability; like other addictions, those who are caught in the web of pornography will always have a tendency to revert back to their addiction of choice. Most important, we must use the Christian disciplines, especially praying together and experiencing the power of Scripture.
Q: Where does healing begin?
A: The cleansing of the conscience is very important in our battle for purity. Guilt and unresolved issues that lie within the soul will always agitate for expression and resolution. If we do not find our peace in the presence of Jesus, we will seek to find pleasure to divert the pain. In the presence of Jesus there is forgiveness and hope.
Q: What can parents do to protect their children from this scourge?
A: This is the most important question any parent can ask. Since this is such a big topic, we invite you to go to the following websites for more information:
Too often, we follow our sinful desires, mentally justifying our lusts. King David’s enemies drove him to thirst after God, rather than his own desires. In this message, Pastor Lutzer notes three ways David was driven to be closer to the Lord. What brings us to the point of saying, “Only God can meet my ultimate needs?”