Is Pornography Better than An Affair?
The world keeps offering us endless justifications about why pornography is OK, including "At least I am not committing adultery." But is that really a valid argument?
*The following transcript has been slightly edited from the original audio text for readability purposes. All speakers’ original intent has been maintained to the best of our ability.
Ken Larkin has joined us in the studio. Ken is a counselor for the Residential Program here at Pure Life Ministries. Ken, it's good to see you again. Thanks for stopping by.
It's good to be here. Thank you.
Ken, we want to deal with the question that came in from an individual who has been struggling with Internet pornography for years. In justifying it, they're looking at it from the perspective that they're not actually involved in an affair; they're not involved with another person. They kind of look at this as just blowing off steam and they're enjoying their free time. Yet they're asking the question "How can I continue in my spiritual journey while doing this?" Interesting question there.
Yes, it is. First of all, I would say if they have a sincere desire to grow spiritually and to become more like Jesus, the Internet porn has to go. You can't go to the world and to sin to blow off steam. Without a doubt, any sin - especially a longstanding sin like habitual pornography - is hindering them in their walk with God.
Let's take a look at some of the negative effects of viewing pornography.
All sin has consequences even if they're not readily apparent. What I would say first of all is their heart is becoming more defiled and increasingly hardened as they continue this behavior and with that, it's going to affect your relationship with the Lord in a negative way - there's no way of getting around that. Lust is selfish by nature, so you're going to be alienating yourself from the Lord and from other people, the more you're involved in this behavior.
Yeah, for sure. Let's deal with the perspective that he had that I think is very common for men that are involved in pornography. It is "After all I'm not really having an affair" or "I'm not having sex with another person." Tackle that issue if you would.
OK. What I would say is it is a heart issue. Even though you're not physically involved in a relationship, you are committing adultery in your heart; you're having an affair with someone in your heart - that would be true whether you're married or whether you're single. With that, you're heading down a dangerous pathway spiritually. The wages of sin is death and there's no way to get around that.
Jesus talks about this too.
Yeah, he sure does. Jesus explains to us and gives a serious warning in Matthew 5:28-30. He says "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than for your whole body to be cast into Hell and if your right hand cause you to sin cut it off and cast it from you for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than for your whole body to be cast into Hell.
Now obviously Jesus is not admonishing us to literally pluck out our eyes or to cut off our hands, but you started this discussion by saying if this individual was sincere and if they had a sincere desire to grow spiritually and become more like Jesus. We're assuming that the person who has heard this admonition from the Lord has that sincere desire in their heart, so what really is to be taken from the scripture? What really would you admonish a person to do if they are serious?
We would call it 'radical amputation' - do whatever it takes to free yourself of this addiction. First of all, you have to get rid of the pornography. It is non-negotiable. Maybe an internet filter that would help you would be great.
Whatever it takes. That may mean getting rid of the computer or getting rid of the smartphone if some kind of protection software isn't going to do it for you. I only say that because I know you can have all the protection software in the world, but if you really are craving sin there's always a way to get around it. So if it means getting rid of the computer, then it means getting rid of the computer.
That is so true. What are you willing to do to be free Secondly, I would say if you haven't done so already it's important that you share this sin and get it into the light with your pastor or some godly individuals you can trust. They can provide you with guidance and accountability as you're coming into freedom over this addiction. Thirdly, I would encourage you to enroll in our 12-week Overcomers-At-Home Program. I've seen many individuals radically changed from the inside-out as God has dealt with them at the root issues -pride, selfishness and all the things that aid and abet your sin. When God gets to the heart issue, it goes past just getting a filter or doing something to try to keep you from this sin. God begins to take the desire out of your heart for your sin. I've seen men come into a relationship with the Lord they never had before, where they have something better than their sin and they enjoy that sweet fellowship with the Lord.
Yeah, that's so important. I think that was the thing that was missing in this individual's question. He saw the issue as "OK, what do I do about my spiritual journey?" Really he was focused on pornography and he missed what so many of us miss until the Lord opens our eyes - pornography really isn't the issue, it is just the manifestation of the deeper issues of the heart that the Lord wants to deal with.
That's so true. I would also say the Lord is not trying to take from us. God is wanting to give this individual more of Himself and this pornography is just getting in the way. As he opens up his heart through genuine repentance and puts his faith anew in Christ, He wants to pour in His spirit and give him that abundant life that He's promised for all of us.
Ken, thanks so much for talking to us about this question today. We do want to let folks know if they are interested in the Overcomers-At-Home Program or our Residential Program, there's information on both of these on our website at PureLifeMinistries.org - just click on the counseling tab. Thanks so much.
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