I can still remember a sermon I heard years ago from Dr. Charles Swindoll. I was listening to the local Christian radio station in the car and I had pulled into the driveway. He was talking about the danger of pornography. An image that he used cut into my soul in a way that made me shudder. I don't remember all of the specifics of the sermon, but one description stayed with me. He carefully depicted the way in which (I think that perhaps it was the Eskimos) would dip a knife in blood in order to kill a wolf. They would cover the blade in the scarlet substance, and then place the razor-sharp edge sticking up out of the snow. The wolf, hungry, would smell the blood and begin licking the knife. Eventually, as you can imagine, his own tongue would be cut and he would begin to lick his own blood without realizing it. In this way, he would feed on his own blood, ultimately bleeding to death and perishing in the bitter cold.
Swindoll then went on to relate this story to the manner in which pornography slowly weakens and then kills the soul.
Pornography. We think that it will feed us, satisfy us. But instead of nourishing, it actually accomplishes the opposite. It drains us of all that is true and pure and good.
Sometimes it seems so innocent. A little taste here; a lick there. Until the stream begins to flow and we are strangling on our own blood.
Pornography destroys. It crushes. We think that it is giving satisfaction, but it is really robbing us of that which is truly life-giving.
We live in a time when it is looked upon so lightly, laughed off, even--Oh, every man struggles with that--
But I believe that in not adopting a more serious attitude toward this sin, we weaken ourselves, we weaken our marriages, we weaken the church as a whole, and we become unfit for ministry in any way.
We need to take pornography seriously. We need to kill lust in our lives before it kills us, before it kills our families, before it kills our souls and sears our conscience until it is dead.
Our families are at stake. Our marriages are at stake. Our souls are at stake.
These are three ways that I believe pornography damages and destroys and then ultimately kills the soul--I am sure that there are more--
It damages our marriages
Pornography kills romance. It deadens our own souls against the soul of our spouse. I know that some may disagree with me, but I believe that viewing pornography when one is married is quietly committing adultery against their partner. This is why the Bible exhorts us to "flee immorality." Because it is so grievously damaging. Besides hurting ourselves, it also wounds the ones we claim to love. The late Pastor Adrian Rogers said that once a man breaks trust with his wife in his marriage, it may take years to repair the breach because a woman's emotions are so sensitive. Many men feel that pornography is no big deal and that women just need to get over it. But I believe that it may be difficult even after the woman has genuinely forgiven her husband, to easily "get over" her husband's actions. The sting of his deception and betrayal may remain for years and make it difficult for her to relate to her husband sexually or in other ways. This is one of the consequences of "soft" adultery.
It damages our relationship with God
Pornography immediately places a barrier in terms of our relationship with God. The more that we view it and engage in practices associated with it, the more our hearts are hardened, our consciences are seared, and we deaden the voice of the Holy Spirit.
It damages the church as a whole
Because we are weakened spiritually when we engage in viewing pornography, the church as a whole suffers. There is sin "in the camp," and so the church cannot go forward spiritually. I truly believe that this is one of the reasons for the weakness of the American church--unconfessed sin that is taken lightly and is causing our souls to rot in the blazing sun. Only true repentance and turning away from sin will bring cleansing and revival.
Lust needs to be killed in our lives, not stroked gently, not hidden away and then taken back out, not ignored, but killed.
Ultimately, feeding on lust shows that we are seeking satisfaction outside of Christ. We are discontent and that discontentment flows into the utter selfishness of taking that which promises to fill our deepest need.
We are empty and so we seek a temporary fix. We fill our souls with poison and refuse the Great Physician who would heal us if we would only run to Him, run to the Self-Giving One who alone can satisfy us.
I speak mostly to men, but I know that there are also women who struggle in this area.
I'd like to add a note here--the answer to a man's problem with pornography is not ultimately that his wife needs to fulfill him more sexually. It is true that a woman is biblically constrained to join together with her husband (I Corinthians 7:3-5). It is also true that this becomes a joy when her husband treats her with gentleness and loves her as Christ loves the church and that it becomes a painful act of obedience when she is not treated that way.
A man's problem with pornography is not ultimately the failing of his wife, but the failing of his own disobedience and failure to resist evil through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We need to take responsibility for our own actions and stop placing the blame on someone else--stop using someone else's perceived disobedience to give us an excuse to continue sinning. And we do this when we blame our wives (or husbands) for our sin when we feel that they are failing to fulfill us sexually.
What we need is not an attitude of making excuses and of indulging the flesh, but an attitude of cutting off that which is causing us to sin.
There is a scene in the movie Fireproof where the main character Caleb, uses a baseball bat to destroy his computer. He is struggling with pornography and realizes that he needs to get rid of that which is causing him to stumble. His wife is not fulfilling him sexually (which he gives earlier as one of his excuses for looking at pornography). But then Caleb turns to the Lord in repentance and begins to treat his wife in a loving, sincere, and gentle way. It takes time because he has wounded her so deeply, but eventually his wife responds to him and their love is rekindled.
There are times when we need to "cut off our hand," and nothing is too radical if it is causing our relationship with Jesus Christ to suffer and our soul to wither and die.
Do you struggle with pornography? Repent, turn to the Lord and He will give you the strength to overcome it.
I have read articles that talk about how the pornographic images that a man or woman sees may never be erased because of the chemicals that seeing these images triggers.
I believe that this is true, hence the peril of exposing oneself to these images--but I also believe that the Lord is able to miraculously redeem all things and to remove our sins as far as the east is from the west.
I believe that the Lord is able to refresh and restore marriages, hearts, and consciences that are seared when we turn to Him and turn away from that which is destroying our souls. He is able to redeem. He will redeem.
So turn to Him. Turn away from the darkness and deception of self fulfillment and let your fulfillment be found in the Person of Jesus Christ.
He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think. He can cleanse and purify. And He will--to those who run to Him.
This was a helpful article for further reading (clickable link).
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