I have read this excellent post and it touches on vast impact that porn is having (and will have) on society by distorting social interaction between men and women.
The slippery slope
Then I found this insightful article: What we learned from Ted Bundy. The three scariest paragraphs (for me) are:
His religious training and morality initially restrained him from acting out his fantasies, but he confessed that finally, “I couldn’t hold back anymore.”
“My experience with pornography … is once you become addicted to it, (and I look at this as a kind of addiction like other kinds of addiction), I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Like an addiction, you keep craving something that is harder, something which gives you a greater sense of excitement.
Until you reach a point where the pornography only goes so far, you reach that jumping off point where you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give you that which is beyond just reading or looking at it.”
There is just absolutely no way to describe first the brutal urge to do that kind of thing, and then what happens is once it has been more or less satisfied and recedes, you might say, or spent, that energy level recedes and basically I become myself again.”
Isn’t that scary? This research also confirms the connection.
It’s a dowhill slide
The essence of his downhill slide is contained in this bible verse:
But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. Do not be misled, my beloved brethren. – James 1:15
This should be something shocking to everyone who reads these bible verses. One thing leads to another and if it’s not stopped, if it comes to maturity… it leads to death.
But please, if you know someone who is a user, don’t bash them over the head with it. Pray for them. Have mercy and compassion. They are hurting and helplessly stuck (no matter what they say about it). Are they stuck? Yes. It reminds me of this joke: I can give up cigarettes any time I want. I gave up twice yesterday!!
What’s the issue?
The issue is simply: the person wants to feel better.
No one is perfect. No, not one. We’re all in this boat together, it’s just that some parts of the boat have a faster leak than other parts! hehehe.
There’s a problem and it will surface somewhere. The person’s judgement and morals wont allow them to do something else, but they will compromise and do this one thing… just this once. And so it begins. In my life I absolutely refused to do hard drugs, but my needs just surfaced in food. If it wasn’t food, it could easily have been anger… or something else.
The problem is inside the person – we’re separated from God and from His love. We’re built to be in relationship with Him, but we’ve been separated from Him.
But we’re born into a world which doesn’t teach us about self-love, it won’t give us a Godly identity and it sells healing in a pill or in intellectual books… but not through love. The world is of almost no value in this fight. It won’t outlaw the problems in society.
Anyone who is struggling doesn’t need to be bible-bashed, we need to understand their situation, accept that we could easily be them… and help.
According to research the use of porn in the world is astonishingly high. We all know that men are big users of porn, but this research group says the incidence with women is lower but still significant.
And the solution(s)?
So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. – James 1:21-22
Firstly, remove it’s grip in your home before it’s a problem.
Strengthen your kids by LOVING them. Teach them biblical principles. Aggressively keep all magazines that promote wrong images of women and men out of your home. Protect other people’s kids too – and they will protect yours. Switch off your TV and spend time with your kids instead. Model good relationships and respect for yourself and for others to your kids. Model affection, love and attraction. Show GOOD love, before they get to see the counterfeit love.
Secondly, remove it’s grip from society.
Speak out in PUBLIC against this scourge that is gradually ruining lives, relationships, marriages and society. Try to influence politicians, media (magazines, TV shows, rock music) and take a stand against inappropriate sexual themes. Talk and teach congregations about the dangers of pornography. Block cyberporn with software and appeal to the government to block all free porn, perhaps legislate an alternative .com (like .xxx) so that parents can EASILY block all access. No more free porn. No more teasers of any kind. Take a stand against the lowering moral standards in movies, DVDs, music.We live in a democracy – if you do not speak out, democracy doesn’t work, you won’t be respresented.
Thirdly, remove it’s grip from your life.
Regardless of if you’re male or female – you may need to fight this problem, so go GET HELP. Today. This problem will not go away… according to the bible it will only get worse and worse. The help we need is contained in the two words: healing and love. The problem is in our heart (a deficiency of love) and the solution is also related to our heart… the restoration of love. Whether you are male or female, dependant onsex or food, God absolutely must be restored to His rightful position in your life from where He will help you get out of the trap.
Fourthly, get into the bible, read God’s words, pray and act on them.
This problem doesn’t go away. The enemy is behind this, just as he is behind greed and every other sin that he uses to hurt people in society with. And the solution is always the same: God.
But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. – James 1:21-22
Getting free is not (usually) quick, it’s not (usually) a short process.
“Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump. – Matthew 5:29-30 (MSG)
In other words, you have to avoid the things that are making you fall. But that won’t be enough. The weakness, the emptiness is still in there. Perhaps read a bit about the healing process.
The problem goes to the heart
Jesus said to not be too concerned about the outside of the cup when we should be focussed on cleaning the INSIDE of the cup.
Jesus also said that the fruit of the tree is there because of the ROOTS of the tree. We have to fix the roots.
So where do the desires come from?
But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him]. For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech. These are what make a man unclean and defile [him]; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean or defile [him]. – Matt 15:18-20
There you have it. It comes out of our heart… out of our needs… out of our hunger for love. We are all born hungry for God’s love, because we are designed to be born in the Garden of Eden, but we’ve been separated from Him.
Different kinds of love fill the emptiness
We therefore find other ways to fill the emptiness. It’s the great commandment: love one another. That is why the bible goes on and on about how to practically loving one another. It also speaks about the need to love ourselves.
Finding true freedom from sex addiction DOES NOT come from learning, activity programs, nine-step plans, reading books, attending groups, counseling or even from Bible knowledge.
These are very useful ways of encouraging growth in the healing process – but they don’t set the person free. They do grow the person, but they don’t resolve the deep core problem that all of humanity faces!
What sets us free?
There are three things that need to change:
- You need to fill the inner emptiness with different types of love (God’s love, love for self, love from others)
- You need to recover from the damage that caused the problem (the roots of the tree, the inside of the cup)
- You need to get a God-based identity, better dreams, a colorful and abundant life
The emptiness inside must be filled with something bigger, stronger and more attractive than sexual sin, otherwise the emptiness inside of the person will continue to drive that person to behaviors.
The emptiness inside must be resolved for true, life changing freedom.
Reduce the problem
This practical approach works…
- Closing your eyes, your ears and your home to all sources of wrong influences. To me this means closing my eyes at the movies and praying for His protection of me instead. It means not watching movies and not reading books with the wrong messages in them.
- Telling risky people to no longer contact you. Have boundaries and keep them.
- Taking a stand spiritually against things as they approach you – where you can. This takes strength that you may not initially have, but eventually it will become easier as you get freer and stronger.
- Stop the self-bashing! Do not enter into guilt and beat yourself up. Instead, learn about the grace of God and believe that Jesus HAS paid for all your sins – including these ones. There is no condemnation for the people in this process. Thank Him for choosing you when HE KNEW you had these problems.
Recover from the problem by
- Getting into healthy relationships with others at church and learning to give and receive love with them.
- Getting alongside helpful, loving and comforting elders in the church who can pray for you and help you grow. Their love will be essential in your healing, maturing and strengthening.
- Getting healing from what hurt you (usually by talking, sometimes by prayer).
Come into your new life by
- Reading the bible. It renews your mind by contiually explaining God’s heart and His intentions for you. It gives you new thoughts, new dreams, new hope.
- Decide to agree that God CAN do what He said He can do. Find the promises that God makes and say YES to them. He will give you a new heart, a renewed mind and a clean conscience. He says He will nurse you and you can live in unbroken fellowship with Him.
- Believe Him. He said He will not hold our sin against us. He says that there is no condemnation if you’re walking with Him to get free. Accept that if you want Him to be near to you, you have to be near to Him so take hold of Him and keep hold of Him because the Lord is with you while you are with Him. Place your faith in His power and ability to free you.
- Make a list of the things you believe He has said and that you believe HE WILL do. AskHim for these things and thank Him that He WILL give them to you because His words will not return to Him unfulfilled!
If you do none of the REDUCE and RESTORE points above points and only do these above, you WILL be able to heal and recover. But it will be slower and harder and HE WILL lead you back to do the above points anyway.
Be realistic. This is going to take a while. Maybe a year. Maybe less, maybe a few years. A lack of love over many years is what wounded you. Restoration of love will restore you, BUT change and healing takes time.
Keep doing these things and your life WILL turn around.
A NOTE TO GIFTED PASTORS
When men get together to pray, they really want to get together and find and give support to one another. It’s not really about praying, it’s about connecting together.
When you realize that the driving force in society – and in your church – is the need to be restored to God because we’re designed to be in His loving Presence… when you GET this, you’ll see why loving your flock, encouraging healthy love amongst the flock and teaching people how to love themselves – that is the greatest form of innoculation against sin.
We sin because we are separated from God’s love. We have a need.
Restoration of love (the greatest commandment) is the primary job of any gifted pastor. Other giftings are focussed on evangelism etc., but pastoral work is about love and healing of people. It’s not about teaching, it’s about healing people and connecting them together. Make that your focus.