Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pornography Use and the Christian

The following statistics are taken from Covenant Eyes website 
  • 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women say they are addicted to pornography. 
  • 75% of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use. 
  • Regular church attendees are 26% less likely to look at porn, however self-identified “fundamentalists” are 91% more likely to look at porn.
  • 9 out of 10 boys were exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
  • 6 out of 10 girls were exposed to pornography before the age of 18. 
  • The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old. 
  • 71% of teens hide their online behavior from their parents. 

The problem of pornography use then in regular church attenders is real. Looking at porn regularly makes it extremely difficult to feel close the Lord. Addiction to porn makes is near impossible to worship and serve in the church in a healthy and pure way. 

Regular use of porn will shape how men and women view others: as objects to be used instead of people to love and serve. And yet the Bible teaches us it is essential to have a pure thought life, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8).

Although the problem of regular pornography use cannot be broken easily, the Bible does give us instruction on how to approach sexual sin of any kind, and this is especially true of pornography. The few words from the Apostle Paul are fitting for a highly sexualized culture, “Flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor 6:18).

There are two Old Testament illustrations of this. One is positive (Joseph), the other negative (David). One was able to flee sexual sin, the other did not. Both of their lives can be instructive to us.

King David: The Failure to Flee 

2 Samuel 11 is the low point in King David’s life. This is the account when David sees a woman bathing, seeks her out, and then sleeps with her. There is a discernible pattern of sight, seeking, and sin that applies here also to porn use. Often there is a porn trigger. Maybe it is some ad on a website that is sexually arousing, or a word pops up after a Google search. Either way if it leads to seeking more out, then sin is at the doorstep. 

David’s failure to flee teaches us several things about what went wrong that can offer help to those who truly want to flee porn use. 

Prayerlessness At his high moments, David is found praying. We get many psalms from him that show his closeness to God. But here prayer is absent. I’m not sure if that is intentional in 2 Samuel or not, but it does stand out. D.A. Carson said, “A prayerless Christian is a disaster waiting to happen.” David was not always prayerless, but here he is and disaster falls in his life. 

Curiosity The bathing woman catches David’s eyes and like any man he is tempted by what he sees. But he takes it further. Again, instead of inquiring of the Lord, he inquires about her. This curiosity leads to David seeking sin out instead of keeping a safe distance. Porn use begins with curiosity. The turning point in fleeing sin seems to begin at the place of curiosity. That is where the proverbial fork in the road appears. We will look at this next time with the example of Joseph.  

Greed The striking thing about David’s adultery with Bathsheeba is the greed it is wrapped in. To understand this better we listen to what Nathan the prophet tells David in 2 Sam 12. He confronts David with a parable about a rich man who steals a poor man’s lamb. David is outraged until he understands the parable is about him! Then he is broken by his sin. Porn is also wrapped in greed. It is not satisfied in the spouse God has given (or will give to those single). Porn always says, “I need more.” 

Next time we will look at Joseph in Gen 39 as a positive model of fleeing sexual sin. For now, we can strive to become those who are more prayerful, less curious and less greedy. Cultivating those traits will certainly aid anyone who truly desires a pure heart that gazes on God and not porn images (Matt 5:8).