When it comes to talking about people and their addictions to porn, what startles me the most is how complacent people are about it. They seem to think it’s just a stage they’ll go through and then be just fine or that it won’t take them farther than they wanted to go, keep them longer then they wanted to stay, and cost them more than they ever wanted to pay. The reality is that porn will destroy your life. I’m not just talking about if you have a moral failure or if you’re in ministry and it ruins your career. I’m talking about how an addiction to images will be so hard for you to get away from that you will literally think you need it. It will consume you. It will destroy your marriage or hopes of a marriage. It will distract you from all that you were meant to be and do. It will spiritually shipwreck you and cost you an eternity apart from the Lord. This isn’t just a scare tactic I’m supposed to do so your parents will like me. Read this testimony from Joe Dallas to see for yourself.
“I remember clearly, and with inexpressible regret, the night I walked into an adult bookstore and entangled myself in the use of pornography. I was a 23-year-old former minister at the time, well on my way toward a fully backslidden state, and I was considering whether to indulge in the many sexual sins that I had, at that point, only allowed myself to imagine. That evening in the spring of 1978, my decision was sealed when I embraced what I now call the “dark magic.”
The “magical” qualities of pornography were obvious and immediate. One glance around that roomful of graphic sexual images sent a rush through my system very much like a narcotic response. The longer I gazed, the more intoxicated I became, and over the next few hours the porn brought me temporary escape and exhilaration. I’d found a new drug, and it seemed to work beyond my expectations.
The darker aspects of this newfound magic soon became clear to me. I revisited the same porn shop nightly for the next two weeks. I then spiraled into the use of prostitutes, an affair with a married woman, homosexuality, and a five-year habit of reckless, degrading sexual practices. It began with the use of pornography, a product I continued to consume during my backslidden years, and which I have come to regard much the way an addict regards a drug — a destructive vice I have to strenuously avoid, always remembering its lethal impact on my life.[i]”
The Problem with Porn.
According to covenanteyes.com, 68% of young men and 18% of young women view porn at least once a week.[ii] 7 out of 10 teens hide their cell phone activity from their parents. 56% of divorces involve one party having an “obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”
If you’ve ever wondered why some guys can’t seem to stop watching porn even though they’ve tried to get off of it, it’s because porn is actually like a drug. It’s just as addicting as marijuana, cocaine, or alcohol. This may be hard to believe but here’s why. When someone chooses to look at porn their dopamine (chemical reward system in the brain) levels shoot up. This creates a “need” for dopamine again. Actually your dopamine levels can rise when you know you’re about to eat a donut or ice cream or anything else you enjoy. In addition to having a biological felt need for porn through dopamine levels one also becomes attached to whomever/whatever is pleasing them sexually. This happens through one’s mirror neurons which cause attachment. This is the same cause for a couple to grow in their love for each other after having had sex.
If you’re struggling with viewing porn then you need to actively run away from it. Notice I didn’t say fight it. I said RUN. The Bible talks about beating an addiction to sexual sin by simply getting away from it, not trying to have victory right beside it. In other words, you probably won’t beat your addiction to peanut butter if you keep surrounding yourself with it. I Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee sexual immorality because it’s a sin against your own body.” Run away from it because you’re hurting yourself!!
The way you beat this addiction is to remove it from your life through radical amputation. Jesus said, “If your right hand offends you cut it off because it’s better for you to go to heaven with only one hand then go to hell with both hands.” In other words, if a smartphone is keeping you from Jesus then get rid of it. Whatever is keeping you from God’s will right now, get rid of it! Another thing that will help is to memorize Scripture verses that deal with this issue. Some good ones are:
I Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
Job 31:1 I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.
Parents, if you don’t have an accountability system to check up on your son’s smartphone, computer, tablet, etc. then chances are high that he could be exposing himself to porn. I’ve heard parents say that they check their teens’ phone before they go to bed. I’ve read in Teenology[iii] that Jim Burns makes his kids dock their phones in the living room before they go to bed.
The sources available for porn are so many I can’t list them all here. It’s scary. I’ve heard parents say that their kid was exposed to it on Instagram (soft porn). My wife and I tried out another app which showed video clips for a while. She saw porn on it on her phone so we both deleted the app. It just wasn’t worth keeping. The internet obviously is a threat.
Reality is that if you’re not actively fighting to protect your children from evil then evil will reach them. Whatever it is you need to do to guide your teen to sexual purity please do it for their mind, future marriage, life, and soul. Solomon told his son a story in Proverbs 7 that outlined the temptations and consequences of sexual sins. Maybe you could read through that with them. Safe eyes is a great resource. You can get it here http://www.internetsafety.com/safe-eyes-mobile-iphone.php .
If anyone has fallen prey to this sin before there is hope. Jesus can do the supernatural act of cleansing you forever from this. It’s not okay to have a complacent view of this damaging sin. Rather seek the Lord and he will continue to redeem you. Keep in mind I John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
[iii] Teenology. Jim Burns. Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis,2010.