“60-80% of all Internet sites are pornography related!”
Pornography is rampant in society. We all know the statistics of how prevalent pornography is on the Internet � I’ve read that anywhere from 60-80% of all Internet sites are pornography related! With pornography so common, it is important for us to know why it is wrong. It is important for Christians to be aware of the dangers of pornography because of the harmful effects it can have on one’s walk with the Lord and life, as well as how to help ourselves or someone else who struggles with this issue.
The word pornography comes from the Greek language. In Greek, “porne” means harlot, and “graphein” means writing. It is translated literally as “the writing of harlots.” Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.” Typically where there is sexual excitement there is also sexual desire. Lust is defined as “an intense sexual desire” in Webster’s Dictionary. In other words pornography can be anything that causes lust. In Matthew 5:28 Jesus says that if you lust after a woman you have already committed adultery in your heart. The seventh commandment tells us that adultery is sin (Exodus 20:14). This answers the question “Why is pornography is wrong?”, but as humans we usually have to learn the hard way.
“We cannot allow ourselves to take part in what the world thinks is OK when we know it is sin.”
Knowing that something is sin doesn’t usually keep us from committing that sin. We need to look at how we can keep from committing the sin of pornography, as well as how we can help others who are struggling with this sin. There are many verses in Scripture that talk about sexual immorality. These verses tell us that sexual immorality has no place in the life of a Christian. Colossians 3:5 says to “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality …” Ephesians 5:3, I Peter 4:3, and I John 2:15-17 talk about no longer acting like the world acts. The world sees nothing wrong with pornography. This is evident in television, magazines, movies, the Internet, etc… As Christians we are to resist this. We cannot allow ourselves to take part in what the world thinks is OK when we know it is sin. Christians are to behave differently than the world. This is what the Lord expects of us.
Pornography provides an escape from reality for those who view it. Like many other things that distort reality, such as alcohol or drugs, it can become an addiction. Soon it may become the only way that a person can deal with the world around them. Those who view pornography often have a distorted view of reality because of it. Pornography devalues women and sex, and this influences how its viewers think about the world around them. Often they view women not as human beings, but as sex objects. Sex becomes something of little value. Instead of an act of love in the confines of marriage as God intended it; sex is a means for their own gratification. This fantasy world inhibits their ability to function in the world around them. Often they become increasingly withdrawn and less motivated to function in the real world around them. People who become addicted to pornography are consumed with the fantasy world and they begin to lose the ability to function as well in the real world. Those addicted to pornography also often become increasingly selfish and inconsiderate of others.
A pornography addiction is very similar to other addictions, but often it can be hidden more easily than alcoholism or drug addiction. Addictions are very difficult to break. One study showed that rats can become addicted to a pleasant or pleasing stimulus (the stimulus they used was an electric current to the pleasure sensors of the rats’ brains). In this study scientists gave the rats the choice of the stimulus or food, and the rats chose the stimulus repeatedly. They continued to choose stimulus instead of eating and they eventually died as a result of not eating. We know that we are different from animals and that we are a special creation of the Lord, but the example of the rats shows how powerful addictions can be. Unlike rats we were created with a soul and because of this we have the hope of being saved from addiction.
A pornography addiction can become extremely powerful for both Christians and non-Christians. Addictions often ruin the lives of those who are addicted, as well as hurt the people around them. In order to break a pornography addiction it is necessary to turn to the Lord. I Corinthians 6:18 says that sexual sin is committed against one’s own body. Because of this I feel that it is necessary to seek the forgiveness of the Lord in order to break a sexual addiction such as pornography. If you or someone you know is addicted to pornography there are 3 things that the person should do to begin to overcome their addiction:
- Confess � Admit to the Lord that there is a problem and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Be humble before the Lord. It is imperative that the person realizes that pornography is sin, but that the Lord will forgive them if they ask with a sincere heart. Submit yourself to the Lord’s will � we can’t do it on our own!
- Accountability � Find someone who you can become accountable to. This should be a person you can trust to be honest with you, and you should be able to be honest with them. It should not be someone of the opposite sex. Ideally it would be someone who is not struggling with pornography also � you may cause each other to stumble. Make a commitment to call one another whenever you are tempted to lust / view pornography. Accountability should be done in a nonjudgmental way. The two people should support and encourage each other in confidentiality. Pray together and for each other.
- Read the Word � In order to grow spiritually it is necessary to read the Bible and spend time with the Lord. Having a daily time with the Lord will help you to focus on serving the Lord and to not give into temptation. Memorizing Scripture is also important. Having verses to draw upon during temptation will make your ability to resist temptation stronger. Remember, we can’t do anything without the Lord � He is our strength. We must walk closely with the Lord to rely on Him for strength.
“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” Proverbs 7:27
If you are struggling with a pornography addiction or if you are trying to help someone who has one, look at David’s commitment in Psalm 101:3a. David says, “I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” As we know David struggled with lust and it had a devastating effect on his life. Pornography is vile. It is not the Lord’s design for sex because it is based on lust. It goes against what is wholesome and pure. Proverbs 5:22 & 23, and 6:20-35 describe how sexual sin can lead to destruction. These verses should be enough to scare us away from pornography. If you are struggling with this be encouraged! The Lord wants to forgive you. His invitation is open to everyone. David was a man after God’s own heart and he struggled with lust, and the Lord still did amazing things with his life.
Often people with a pornography addiction feel like outcasts because the Church has a history of ostracizing those who have committed sexual sin. It is important for Christians to act in love toward people who struggle with pornography. Alienating them will only intensify their escape from reality. They need to know that they are unconditionally loved and accepted. If the Lord can forgive and love them, can’t we � shouldn’t we!
Originally Published: October 2003