You Can Win the Battle Against Pornography Addiction
It’s a billion-dollar industry. Some say it is harmless fantasizing. Others say it is destructive and degrading. For too many, unfortunately, it’s an addiction.
Pornography. Porn. Smut. Voyeurism. Spiritual adultery. Lust. Adult entertainment. Nudity. Sexually explicit material. Dirty flicks. Raunchy movies. For mature audiences only.
Pornography has become so much more than nude pictures in magazines. It is dirty chat rooms, sexting, phone sex, online videos, online images and more.
In recent years, even secular health authorities, without any moral or religious reasons, have weighed in on how damaging pornography is to the human mind. And, of course, Christian men know it is bad. Unfortunately, believing that pornography is bad doesn’t always equate to totally avoiding it.
The Bible clearly shows how much God hates this kind of sexual immorality. Though pornography isn’t directly discussed, the topics of sex and lust are covered extensively in God’s Word. God created sex to be the beautiful and pleasurable joining of two human beings into “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). “One flesh” includes the sexual union, but it goes much deeper and also describes the commitment and devotion of a married couple. Sex within marriage is the beautiful gift of enjoying that intimacy and closeness with one other human being.
How does pornography stack up against God’s amazing, fulfilling and pleasurable purpose for sex?
- In pornography, women are portrayed as mindless sexual objects to be used for men’s pleasure. In marriage, a wife should be considered a partner to be cherished and honored.
- In pornography, sex has no boundaries and can happen anywhere, anytime and with anyone. In marriage, a husband and wife commit to binding themselves together and recognize secure, healthy boundaries.
- In pornography, the sexual act is where sexual experience always ends. In marriage, sex leads to becoming closer to one other person, which leads to a better relationship with the rest of the family.
But for some, these points may be moot. For some, the question is not, “Is pornography wrong?” but rather, “How do I get myself out of this mess?”
Lies of pornography
It is helpful to review the many lies people believe about this topic. Recognizing these lies as lies can start one on the road to recovery.
Lie 1: This isn’t real. It’s just a way to escape reality for a while and enjoy yourself because it’s just fantasy—as harmless as watching a movie.
Truth: It is real. The men and women involved in the images are real human beings, whether their participation was voluntary or forced (a sad reality behind much pornography). Getting enjoyment from watching the use of human beings only for their sexuality makes a real impact on our thinking about others. It trains our brain to objectify the sexuality of human beings for our own gratification.
Lie 2: This will not negatively affect you or your current relationships. It’s just something you do in your spare time, and it doesn’t go any further than that.
Jesus Christ made it clear that even lusting after a person (who is not your wife or husband) is spiritual adultery.Truth: Like other addictions, pornography has the power to change the brain, making you desire it more and more. The brain begins to “need” the stimulus porn provides, causing the addict to be increasingly drawn to it. It also alters natural sexual preferences. Seeing human beings used and degraded can lead people to desire unnatural sexual acts and to feel dissatisfied with their spouses. For some examples of sexual acts God considers unnatural, read Leviticus 18.
Lie 3: This is something you can get away with. It isn’t really cheating on your spouse.
Truth: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ made it clear that even lusting after a person (who is not your wife or husband) is spiritual adultery (Matthew 5:28). Just because the physical act doesn’t take place doesn’t mean the heart is innocent. Imagine trying to use the same logic with anything else: “I’m not a racist, even though I think [fill in the blank] are lazy criminals.” Continually defending our thoughts as having nothing to do with our actual behavior will never make it true. At some point or in some way, the body catches up to the mind.
You may be saying, “I agree with all that. So now what?”
The road to recovery
Getting into a pornography addiction is monumentally easier than getting out, as can be said of nearly all addictions. So, when faced with the long road to recovery, it is important to remember a few things.
- God hates sin. Humans hate some sins. While a prideful and greedy person may look upon someone with a porn addiction with scorn, God is an equal opportunity “hater of sin.” This is both encouraging and sobering. It is encouraging in the fact that God hates greed and pride as much as sexual immorality. It is sobering in that God hates sexual immorality as much as murder and racism. When in recovery, it is good to remember our addiction is sin—nothing more, but also nothing less.
- Never stop fighting. Porn is so widespread because it can be done secretly, is readily available and physically feels good. At times it will feel impossible to resist the “wave” of temptation, which may lead to a failure to resist. If we are trying to recover and then fail, we have to start fighting all over again—not just give in. After we seek God’s forgiveness and repentance, there are many tactics we can use to fight. For example, we can keep ourselves out of situations that lead us to pornography, pray constantly, study the Bible regularly and even use porn-blocking software.
- Someone else needs to know. When dealing with an addiction, we have to let another human being know—preferably a friend who cares about us or someone who understands the addiction and is motivated to help us overcome it. Shattering the secrecy is the first step to getting help and gaining real accountability. The person can help us as an accountability partner after setting up filters on the computers, phones or other pornography portals.
- It doesn’t always have to be like this. Porn doesn’t always have to be the master. You can defeat it. Replacing pornography with positive and wholesome thoughts and behaviors is ultimately what God wants.
The fight is going to be ugly, but the reward of freedom from the slavery of pornography is worth it, isn’t it?