Beyond the Message: Pornography
Well students, we decided to tackle one of our toughest topics in our “Untouchables” series last night. Pornography is a word that always generates the sound of silence that I heard last night when it first came out of my mouth. And in my heart I’m really saddened by that. I hope you understand that it is my desire that our student ministry would be a place where you could come just as you are (struggles and all) ask any question you want and in return, get an honest and Biblical answer. So thanks for pushing through the discomfort to talk about a subject that affects every single one of us.
I’ll be honest… I was pretty blown away by some of the statistics I shared last night:
• Average age of first internet exposure to pornography = 11 years old
• Largest consumer of internet pornography = 12-17 age group
• 15-17 year olds having multiple hardcore exposures = 80%
• 8-16 year olds having viewed porn online = 90%
Like I said last night, that makes this a problem that we have to be honest enough to talk about. But what I want to do in this post is to point you toward help if you are caught up in porn – whether you are just dabbling in it or trapped in it. Like I said, the first step is to find someone to talk to. You cannot make it through this battle alone. My staff and I are committed to helping you no matter where you are in life without passing judgment on you. We encourage you to take that hard step and talk to someone.
How to protect yourself:
1. Get a filter on your computer. You are just asking for trouble to pop up on your computer screen whether you are looking for it or not. A filter is your first line of defense. Check out integrityonline.com, bsafehome.com or cyberpatrol.com.
2. Get an accountability partner. Chances are the person you ask is probably struggling too. Share your struggles, ask honest questions and pray for each other. There is also some great software that you can download that will send your AP the websites you visit each day. Check out xxxchurch.com (X3 software).
3. Get help! I keep saying… but if you have a problem you’ve got to tell someone! You may find yourself in one of the following three categories:
Every Christian guy is “targeted” by Satan. Just like most of you teenagers are a target for cigarette ads, because every teenager is a potential smoker, so too, every Christian guy is susceptible to sexual sin. Your walk with God, your faith, your ability to be a man of honor and integrity, are all under attack by sexual sin. If you are not “Tempted” or in the “Trenches” (see below) beware that you are not moving in that direction.
Guys in the “Tempted” group are guys who are already seeing sexual sin or sexual temptation impact their life in some way, have recognized that it could be a significant problem if not dealt with, and/or have recognized a propensity to struggle with lust or sexual compulsivity.
Most guys fit into this group. Most guys are somewhat regularly hit with sexualized messages (TV, magazine stand, movies) and often are exposed to pornography without their consent (SPAM, etc.). If sexual temptation is dealt with, is out in the open (via accountability relationships, etc.) then often it can remain just that, a temptation. But in many cases, just as our bodies, if left alone, will naturally decay–i.e., our bodies, on their own, don’t get “fit”–so too, your sexual purity will naturally decline without specific work to stay pure and move towards Christ.
Guys in the “Trenches” are guys whose lives are in some large part, being controlled by sexual sin. This could be in the form of Internet pornography, a sexual relationships outside of marriage, or other behavior. Maybe at one point, the problem was limited to the occasional viewing of a pornographic email or quickly viewing an inappropriate banner ad–but has now escalated into hours of pornography consumption per day. Being in the “trenches”, is by our definition synonymous with addiction. Other common symptoms of sexual addiction include behaviors that have caused or could cause legal, employment, or financial damage (seeing a prostitute, looking at pornography on the job, and using your savings for online pornography are all examples of this).
If you find yourself in the “Trenches” then let me recommend checking out pureonline.com. Just like alcoholism, pornography is an addiction and requires help to get free from the bondage of it.
Please know that I love and care for you. And I challenge you guys in particular to make the commitment or purity like Job did, “I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully on a woman” (Job 31:1). This battle starts in your mind and requires a series commitment on your part. But remember, you can’t and don’t have to fight this battle alone! God has given you the power of the Holy Spirit to fight your sinful desires. So fight to win!