You’ve done it gain. You looked at pornography on the Internet knowing it’s wrong, but excused and justified your actions to assuage the guilt. You may have asked God to take away the problem and the desire. At times you make some progress, but the behavior keeps happening. God knows the bondage you are in, and you wonder why He would make you this way. Does God really want to see you overcome it? Will your marriage survive if your wife finds out it’s happened again?
Pornography hasn’t always been as accessible as it is today. It used to be an indulgence of the rich and until several years ago, a man had to drive across town, walk into a video store, and ask the store owner where the secret stash was. It’s a different world now; porn is accessible virtually anywhere, anytime, from a laptop to a cell phone. The potential for personal/relational destruction has dramatically increased as frequency and accessibility make it more likely that you will get caught. Increasing numbers of people are losing jobs, marriages and families. The future looks all the more bleak for the next generation when we realize that 90% of 8-16 year-olds have already viewed pornography on the Internet. Many accidentally run into it while doing their homework, but more often, mothers report that their sons are finding evidence of the father’s pornography.
The Scriptures clearly indicate God’s standard for sexual intimacy, which He created specifically and solely as an expression between husband and wife. From Genesis, to the Song of Solomon, to the teachings of Jesus and the writings of Paul, sexual intimacy has a divine purpose that cannot be found in false intimacy. In 1 Corinthians 7:2-5, Paul lays out a mutually satisfying and God-glorifying picture of sexual intimacy in marriage. Many Christian couples fall well below that experience. Is there a solution?
In Matthew 5:27-30, Jesus raises the bar higher than His listeners previously thought by declaring that “…everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (vs. 28). Then He states “If your right eye causes you to, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (vs. 29). This severe demand shows us the true nature of Jesus’ teaching on the subject and our radical need to solve the problem, and solve it completely. Jesus is not teaching self-mutilation. Your eyes don’t make you look at pornography again and again; the desire comes from your heart and mind. Therefore, just turning and looking away is never going to work. Jesus is saying that the situation is desperate; you could lose everything. The act of adultery must be avoided at all cost, but so must all the things that lead to an attitude of looking.
Real change seems impossible, but with God, all things are possible. Bouncing your eyes, following twelve steps or some form of behavior management is limited at best in conquering the problem and saving a marriage. The solution is based on a number of key elements:
▪ Cease resisting the sovereignty of God in the painful events of our lives, past, present and future.
▪ Come to believe that all lust is a problem of unbelief due to a disregard for God and others.
▪ Recognize the deception of our own hearts.
▪ Kill sin before it kills us.
▪ Identify the self-centeredness of our hearts and understand that it is expressed in many forms besides sexual sin.
▪ Understand the power of self-pity in setting us up for the justification of our sexual sin.
Cultivate a deep love for others in thought and deed.
▪ Accept the verdict that “…if you live according to the flesh you will die” (Romans 8:13).
▪ Believe the prescription that “…if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).
There are many varieties of resources, programs and counselors available. Stone Gate Resources offers a program that has been considered uniquely effective for over seventeen years, especially for those with a history of repeated failure in counseling. A person does not need to spend years in counseling or recovery. Lasting change is possible through a program that is biblically grounded, relationally focused, and spiritually challenging. The program includes private counseling, seminars and a comprehensive guided study program.
Copyright 2008 Harry W. Schaumburg. For web posting, please link to this page on our website. Any exceptions must be approved by Harry Schaumburg.