But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. –Matthew 5:28
I was walking through the Beatitudes with my 9th grade small group, and we came across the dreaded passage (today’s Scripture passage above). After we talked about it a bit, I made what I thought was a bold statement. I said, “I’m just going to assume that all of you guys are struggling with pornography. If you’re not, that’s great! But, I’m going to start with the assumption that it’s a struggle for everyone. Let me know if it’s not a struggle.”
Every one of those guys admitted that pornography is a struggle in some way. Several made commitments to have an accountability program (XXXchurch.com) installed on their computer. A few even listed me as their accountability partner.
Some weeks later, I got an email alert from XXXchurch.com regarding one of the guys in the group, listing the inappropriate sites he had been visiting. I forwarded the email to the boy and wrote, “It looks like Thursday was a difficult day for you. I’m praying for you right now. Let’s get together and talk. I know you can win this battle. I believe in you! I love you.”
The boy replied back saying, “I was having a more serious problem than I really admitted. It was really pretty bad until I got the accountability software. Now that I have it, I find myself on websites that are as close to porn as it gets without being porn by its core definition. Thank you again so much for showing me this software. I’m trying very hard to get out of the habit. It’s literally like withdrawals from an addiction.”
Pornography is insidious. Its lure is powerful, and its addictive capacity is a bottomless pit. These days, with porn just a mouse click away, there’s never been greater access to such a destructive evil. Everyone is vulnerable, from teens to parents to Christian leaders. One survey found that 87% of men admit to using porn in the past month. Another study set out to research the affects of porn on men compared to those who had never viewed it. When researchers couldn’t find any men who had not viewed porn, the study was abandoned!
The Scriptures warn us (with good reason!) to flee immorality. No good thing will ever come to your life, relationships, marriage, family, or ministry from exposure to pornography.
If you haven’t been caught in porn’s snare, wonderful! Keep doing what you are doing and know that everyone, even you, is vulnerable. If you have been ensnared by porn, let me encourage (and challenge) you: involvement with pornography isn’t the unpardonable sin. Do your best to flee. God wants to help you. Use accountability tools. Talk to someone. Help is available. Get help. And let me tell you, as I told the guy in my small group, I know you can win this battle. I believe in you!
1. To what extent has pornography influenced your life?
2. What practical steps do you need to take to guard your life and your family from the insidious snare of pornography?