Faith and Family: Protecting from porn — Porn can be associated with lust pattern of sinful naturecomment (0)
May 29, 2014
By By Dr. Tommy W. Smith, LMFT and Lisa E. Keane, LPC-S
As professional counselors, we have many individuals who come for help with a variety of addictions. One of those addictions is pornography.
Often an addiction to pornography begins with soft pornography. Without intervention, the individual may progress to hard-core pornography and later escalate to illegal pornography.
Once upon a time pornography was hidden in the back rooms of bookstores or introduced to young men at fraternity parties. However, now pornography is widely available and anonymously accessible on the Internet.
As therapists, we see the lies people believe about pornography and the impact pornography has on their lives. In so many cases we have seen a spouse’s addiction to pornography contribute to the breakup of a marriage. We have counseled hurting spouses and hurting children.
We have even worked with a family whose 7-year-old son had been exposed to pornography on his father’s laptop computer. Unintentionally the father had introduced his own child to pornography. It has been said that if a child has a computer and the Internet, that child will find porn or porn will find that child.
One of the first lies you might tell yourself about pornography is that it will only be one time. You might see something that piques your interest, a sexually suggestive photo or video, for example, and decide to look. Later you might find yourself looking at the picture again or searching for more images online.
Like most people, you may think you can stop at any time. At first, you think you can handle it and that you will be able to keep your interest under control. Before you know it, however, you look up one day and realize that one image has snowballed into an addiction or habit that you cannot seem to stop.
Unfortunately most people who view pornography find themselves unable to shake free from its grasp. They experience shame and guilt for continually allowing themselves to seek out sexually explicit content. Like any addiction, the experience of “first things” only excites for a little while before a strong need to “go further” overwhelms one’s best intentions.
Another big lie many people believe about pornography is that they are not hurting anyone else by viewing these images as long as no one knows. However, we see that pornography can be part of a whole array of behaviors that are associated with the lust pattern of our sinful nature.
Viewing images or videos to gain sexual gratification is self-seeking. Such behavior does not honor God’s original design of sexuality, which is to bring glory to Him in the context of marriage. Believers also are instructed not to lust after another person. In fact, in Matthew 5:28 Jesus equates the sin of lust with having an affair.
God has a beautiful design for sexuality yet our sin nature has greatly distorted that design. Romans 1:24–25 says, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen.” When God’s design is distorted in any way, there are grave consequences to the individuals and to our society as a whole.
The last lie people believe about their choice to view pornography is that it will not have any long-term effects on them. “What is watching porn really going to do to me?” one might ask. Regardless of the type of addiction, an addictive lifestyle causes a person to be only a shadow of what God intended. Addiction of any kind is synonymous with idolatry. We develop our own ways of coping when we desire something as much or more than we desire God.
When we invest our time, energy and money in pornography or other addictions we become a cheap imitation of what God really designed us to be. Like Adam and Eve trembling in fear and nakedness in the garden, seeking comfort from their shame and guilt, we cling to our ‘‘fig leaves” to hide from the only True God. He is the only One who can make you and me whole again.
Do not believe the lies of pornography. Know that there is hope. The cycle of viewing pornography and sexual addiction can stop. Find help and seek out those who can support you in your journey toward healing and being who God designed you to be.
Pathways Professional Counseling www.pathwaysprofessional.org 1-866-991-6864