The Talk is an excellent resource that provides a step-by-step, biblically-based approach to talking with your children about sexuality. In our sexually saturated culture, our children are in danger of being introduced to sexual misinformation and secularized values about sex at a very early age.
Why does the fool return to porn? This book discusses the AAA Engine – Accessibility, Anonymity and Affordability – that make is so easy. Our reviewer describes the rest of the story as the author gives Biblical guidance for those caught in the cycle and trying to get out.
One of the great difficulties the church faces in talking about sex is the pervasive attitude that the only real barriers to sex are age and consent. Thus the only way to sin sexually is to have sex with someone who is unwilling or underage, or to have sex with one person while there is still a commitment to another. Even then, we don’t call it “adultery,” we call it “cheating;” the same word we use for not following a diet or the rules of a game.
Perhaps the best way to describe Prayer by Philip Yancey is by using the adjectives “devotional” and “slow.” Prayer cannot be rushed. It requires the slowing down of activity and a contemplative mind. “Contemplative” is another useful adjective to describe Yancey’s examination of Christian prayer. Through careful attention to the realities of daily life, as well as to God’s promises as they are applied to daily life, Yancey dissects Christian prayer with a raw honesty that resonates with the reader.
When I selected this book for reading and review, I will honestly admit, I was out to debunk what I thought would be another book promoting humanistic philosophies of self-esteem. When I saw the title, red flags appeared. I assumed it was the kind of Christian self-help book what would promote the Laws of good works over the Gospel of Jesus’ redemption and forgiveness. Happily, I was mistaken – feeling great relief that Mr. McGee placed the sole emphasis on Christ. “…the point is clear that Christ is the source of our security; Christ is the basis of our worth; Christ is the only one who promises and never fails.”
If you mean fantasizing (dreaming) about engaging in sex with someone you’re not married to, then those thoughts would dishonor marriage and God (Hebrews 13:4). This is not who God made you to be. God calls all people to believe in his Son as their Savior. When the Holy Spirit creates that saving faith in your heart, you become a temple of the Holy Spirit, which will compel you to honor God with their whole being—mind, soul and body. So yes, it is sin – but it is also a sin Jesus paid the price to forgive.
Talk to your friend about it. Tell the person why you suspect he or she might be viewing porn and make it clear you are concerned and want to help. Tell the person that he or she is forgiven through Christ. Recommend this website. Offer to be an accountability partner. Offer to help the person find the right people that can help him or her (pastors, Christian counselors, etc). Pray for your friend often.
Do not minimize or rationalize the sin. (If the person is in denial, help him or her understand how serious the sin is.) On the other hand, do not condemn the person. Do not act as if the sin is unforgiveable or worse than all other sins that God detests (pride, selfishness, etc.).
You may be surprised to know that sex within marriage doesn’t cure pornography addiction. Those who entered marriage with a porn problem soon find that they still have a porn problem! Therefore, don’t allow the Devil to deceive into thinking this will fix itself if you get married. The time to act is now both for your own sake and the sake of your future spouse, if you do get married in the future. Finally, remember that the God who created you as a sexual being is able to sustain and strengthen you for purity, even if that means a life of celibacy like the Apostle Paul or Jesus himself.
The distinction regarding pornography use – is it a sin or an addiction? …and if it is an addiction, is it a disease like appendicitis that we have no control over? – has been argued about for some time. The same arguement exists regarding alcohol use.
Pastor James Berger in John Cook’s book, Conquerors Through Christ, answered the question regarding sin or disease regarding alcohol abuse/addiction by saying that alcohol abuse/addiction is both sin and disease. One does not become diseased with alcohol addiction without the sin of abusing alcohol in some way. He called the person addicted to alcohol a person caught in a sin. “Caught in a sin” is his key phrase.
An alcoholic does not become addicted to alcohol without bending the elbow to get the drink to his or her mouth. One does not become addicted to pornography without using it. If you search the Bible carefully you will note that drunkenness is the sin, not the glass of wine that we drink or the beer that we sip. Lust is the sin, not the nude picture or the act of intercourse between husband and wife. God gave us sex as a blessing. God gave us alcohol as a blessing. It is when we abuse either that we sin.
We abuse God’s blessing of sex upon a man and a woman in marriage with lustful desires for anyone not our spouse. We abuse God’s gift of sex with adultery and fornication. Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Addiction is the continual and habitual use of something that is sinful or the abuse of something that is given by God as a blessing in such a way that it becomes a powerful, controlling force in our lives. An addiction is something physiological in the brain that compels us to keep on doing that which we, as Christians, know is displeasing to God. When that happens the addiction rules our lives, not our God. We are caught in the sin of abusing the thing to which we are addicted.
According to some scientific studies, the brain activity and pleasure intensity is the same for both:
- The person sinning in lust as he or she views porn
- The person addicted to the pleasure provided by crack cocaine
It does not take long for the brain to crave the pleasure of crack cocaine or the pleasure of lust and porn use. When the brain begins to demand that it be pleasured, the pathways of the brain change. When this change happens, the addiction happens. The lust and the abuse come first. The sin is there with the lust and the abuse. The word, “addiction,” describes being “caught in the sin.” It is not only a sinful feeling and a spiritually sinful abuse of a blessing from God, it has also become a physical corruption in the brain.
An addicted person will always be an addict for his or her whole life. But when the addict stops the sin – the abuse and misuse of sex with lust or porn – then our God of love has blessed him or her again. No person caught in a sin gets set free without Christ. Jesus Christ is the power that is greater than any chains of sin or addiction. Repentance is being sorry for sin, trusting in God’s forgiveness, and turning away from that sin. There are fruits to repentance. The cravings and the desire may still be there for the addicted person. But the continued misuse of God’s blessings is no longer there. Sinful lust no longer controls the person, but is banished when it enters the mind. By God’s grace in Christ there is forgiveness. A sanctified Christian life in recovery is being lived with the help of God.
In God there is victory! In our Triune God we are more than conquerors.
The Bunny Has Become the Canary
And just when you thought the news was good for God’s people…
If you worked in a mine and hated the sound of birds chirping, you may have felt a momentary happiness when the infernal tweeting stopped. This happiness vanished, though, when you realized that the canary had stopped because it was dead, and it was dead because toxic gas was leaking into the mine shaft.
The canary’s death was a warning of increasing danger.
Playboy’s recent decision to quit publishing nude photos might give those who appreciate the damaging effects of porn reason to rejoice, at least at first. CtC Chairman Mike Novotny would disagree – explaining why in a recent email to the CtC team:
|Playboy is closing its doors…I mean, pages. Well, kind of. Did you all hear the news? Playboy magazine recently announced that it will stop publishing pictures of (completely) naked women.
Good news, right? Wrong.
Playboy spokesmen explained that the reason for the decisions was because of internet porn. In essence, they admitted, “You can get whatever sexual perversion you want for free online, so we can’t keep this old magazine thing going anymore.”
And just when you thought the news was good for God’s people…
Friends, maybe this is just a reminder of the importance of our work. We live in a digital age where the most notable name in sexual impurity, Playboy, is surrendering to the onslaught of free porn. Therefore, what we are doing in equipping parents for “the talks” (plural!), shipping brochures to pastors, presenting to hundreds of high schoolers, connecting with teachers, creating CtC’s mobile version, and everything else on our to-do list matters.
It matters because we are facing an enemy a billion times bigger than the magazine a 12 year-old used to find in dad’s bottom drawer. It matters because we are sharing a Savior whose broom is always bigger than the mess porn makes.
So, let’s finish the year strong and remember why we do what we do. Bodies and souls are at stake!
A fellow conqueror,