Pornography is a booming industry mainly because sex sells and it appeals to the senses. Is there a way out from the addictiveness of pornography?
Our loving Creator God designed sex to be a wonderful gift. It is a way for those who are married to discover true oneness with each other physically. The Bible, however, is full of cautions and warnings to avoid sexual immorality in any form, knowing the painful realities. “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18, emphasis added throughout).
Many books and counselors, operating from a perspective that acknowledges biblical laws, are available to assist in this fight. This addiction requires a very loving and merciful accountability partner that we know well, namely one who will actually help in our battle, rather than call us a “pervert” and self-righteously condemn us. Some humans may be like that, but thankfully, God is NOT like that.
The following four-step process, while not detailed, will hopefully provide a fresh look on overcoming an addiction to pornography.
The four-step program
1. Stop rationalizing and call the addiction sin.
Many of us know addiction to pornography is definitely wrong, but some still seem to find ways to rationalize what they are doing: “God gave me these natural urges.” “I need stress relief.” “My wife just doesn’t satisfy me.” “These are just fantasies … it’s not real.” “I can’t help it … I’m addicted.”
Addiction to pornography may go on for years without ever turning into the physical act of committing adultery or fornication. However, according to Christ, that would make years of one’s time devoted to sin nonetheless, regardless of whether it is the actual physical act or not. Jesus Christ explained, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Be honest: An addict to pornography has sinned in the mind—every time.
Secular authorities will say having fantasies is healthy; that it keeps us from actually doing things that would be harmful to ourselves or others. Truth be told, fantasies that objectify, use, degrade and demean other human beings are not healthy; they are sin—especially if we are earnestly desiring to turn to God.
As with other addictions, what are we replacing God with? Are we choosing desire for human anatomy over God’s way? Do we desire images and experiences with the human anatomy more than our Creator’s many wonders and beneficial blessings, even in the realm of marriage and sex?
2. Learn to hate the sin as much as God hates it and understand why.
Once we admit that addiction to pornography is a sin and must be overcome, it is very easy to determine why God hates it. God is a loving Father who desires to reach the whole world and turn all people to a way of life that brings true joy and happiness.
Try to imagine His thoughts when so many of His children are being used as sexual objects. Porn addicts don’t truly care about others’ well-being when watching an Internet video or using an adult chat room. Perhaps only loving fathers can understand God’s anguish when He sees so many of His precious offspring, people He knows by name, being used and tossed away for sexual pleasure. He also sees us, more of His precious children, twisting our minds to a destructive view of sexuality that destroys all kinds of relationships.
Also, this is an industry that makes sex without love a very attractive thing, completely destroying God’s concept of deep, true oneness between two human beings joined in marriage. Consider how God’s wonderful, gracious gift of sex is turned into something dirty with no bounds of decency. Hating this sin should not involve hours of “woe is me!” and “how could I have come to this?” It should involve deep hatred for the destruction and heartless nature of the sin.
3. Make whatever sacrifice is necessary.
Ruts of self-pity lead only to relapse. When we repent, a brand-new day awaits, and God is eager to help us. We have to make sacrifices though. With help from our accountability partners, we need to be willing to put the blockers and filters on our computers, be open to others monitoring our web activity and change our media viewing habits as soon as possible. We need to immediately avoid any sensualized image, movie, television program or scantily clad person walking on the street. If we truly want freedom, we can no longer enslave ourselves to the pull of Satan’s version of sex: dirty, taboo and readily available whenever we want.
The body will often reject these sacrifices and try to get back into the old swing of things with rationalizations about how the sacrifices are unrealistic. They aren’t unrealistic, though; it is just the flesh working against us. Christ mentions how this turnabout can happen in Mark 14:38: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
4. Replace the addiction behavior with positive behaviors.
Something so secretive will constantly come back, especially if we’ve been allowing it to for years. When it comes back, it must find a very different view of sex: God’s view. God’s view of sex places it firmly in the realm of love between a husband and wife. Learning to love others instead of viewing many of them as sex objects is as good a place as any to start. Notice personality and sense of humor rather than anatomy. Yearn to help others through trials, as well as pray for them.
For additional ways to get started in fighting any addiction, including pornography, please read the “Freedom From Addiction” article “The First Month.”