Church of God in Christ, Mennonite

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11


The definition of pornography is: movies, pictures, and literature that show or describe erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement.

While the heart of man has been the same from generation to generation, the current age is facing a level of immoral exposure like never before. Christians must battle courageously and knowledgeably “in this present world” (Tit. 2:12). What do we have to gain in victory? What do we stand to lose in defeat?


Life versus Death

Proverbs 7 illustrates the path of moral decline as the youth wanders down the path of sexual temptation. He walks near the corner of the street which he should have avoided at all cost. Then rapidly, he falls into the traps that have been laid for him, foolishly crossing boundaries, “Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life” (Prov. 7:23).

We need to be honest with ourselves that rarely does one fall into the trap of pornography without first disobeying warning signals along the way. We must deeply respect the inherent curiosity that is in us and the fascination with the forbidden. Being careless with what we allow ourselves to view or follow online will numb the conscience and still the voice of God. When God’s voice is stilled, the path declines steeply into a shadow-filled zone where goodness and truth are sacrificed at the altar of selfish desires, and the spiritual connection with God which seals our salvation is compromised. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15).


Freedom versus Addiction

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life [for it is the wellspring of life]” (Prov. 4:23).

Studies have shown that viewing pornography is a highly addictive activity. Viewers feel compelled to spend more and more time with it and seek out more deviant and hardcore material. Unlike the devices on which pornography is viewed, the brain has no delete button and history cannot be erased. We live with the consequences of what we have viewed. Besides the spiritual and moral costs, there can be deep and lasting psychological damage to the brain and emotional health. The wellspring of life ceases to be a fountain and diminishes to a trickle. Everyday pleasures cease to interest or engage us as we are hardwired to our addiction.

As parents, it is important to note that by the age of fourteen, around two-thirds of boys have been exposed to pornography on the devices they carry with them twenty-four hours a day. Also of concern is the fact that pornography targeting women viewers is one of the fastest growing sectors in the porn industry. Young people who grow up in a home where frank and open discussions take place are at a tremendous advantage. Issues can be addressed when they are of manageable size, and proper warnings are given together with the necessary precautions. Open communication and good parent/child relationships remain the strongest defense against these negative influences.


Honor versus Infidelity

“Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well” (Prov. 5:15). Pornography works directly against the sexuality sanctioned and created by God between husband and wife. Eroticism and lust replace the tenderness and intimacy that God created. In some situations, young men have entered marriage with completely unrealistic expectations fostered by their exposure to pornography, and they have caused almost irreparable damage to their young brides. Parents and pastors must be vigilant and communicative on these subjects.

Pornography attacks the marriage vow. Consider the gospel standard: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say to you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:27-28). Wives may react differently to a husband’s involvement in pornography. Some will be offended by the imagery of their husband feeding his lust on the image of other women. Some may feel cheated by the distance they feel and the incompleteness in the relationship they sense as the husband copes with his guilt and his lowered self-esteem. To many women, it is a blow to their personal self-esteem as they question in what way they have failed their husbands or left them unsatisfied. Again, communication and the open sharing of struggles and temptations will be a strong defense against the devil’s game. Never before has it been so important that our marriages are strong and built on the solid foundation of trust and fidelity.


Winning the Battle

Those who have struggled or are struggling in the area of internet pornography need to be awakened to the hope that lies in the gospel that victory must and can be theirs. Men must learn to hate the content that brings them low and must also learn to never turn that hate or disgust upon themselves. Through repentance, we are all worthy of God’s love and forgiveness through Christ who was tempted even as we are tempted but did not sin.

It is important that we do not make excuses for poor behavior. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14). When certain boundaries have been crossed in the past, we remain at higher risk of failure. For an alcoholic, one drink is a big problem. Likewise, in the area of pornography addiction, there is no small problem. It is a big problem because of how and where it will lead us. We must guard against the initial thought that would lead our steps into temptation. “Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away [and go on your way]” (Prov. 4:15).

It is good to consider our personal standing with God to understand what makes us especially vulnerable to Satan’s temptations. Are we generally careless and indifferent in our life and lifestyle choices? Has our Christian experience been one of outwardly conforming to the expectation of the church community without a sense of personal accountability to God that comes with authentic praying and studying God’s Word and living a faithful life? Have the pleasures or the cares of this life choked out the Word?

Our battle plan must be multi-faceted. Proper precautions must be made with active content-filtering on our devices. Certain situations or particular times of day or night that we have learned to associate with temptation should be avoided. We should learn to be transparent and to hold ourselves accountable to our spouses and our brethren so that trust can be rebuilt where it has been lost. Where trust has been lost by repeated failure, the one who is responsible for the loss should be humble and patient and faithful until the trust is restored.

Daily prayer and praise and submission to God will make the home a welcome and will help promote strong and open relationships that brings out the best in all the members of the family.

Messenger of Truth, 2019, No. 12 and 14