Why Minimizing Sexual Sin is So Dangerous
People in habitual sin often try to convince themselves that what they are doing isn’t all that bad. But minimizing our sin can have very disastrous repercussions in our lives. In this blog, biblical counselors Ken and Trey discuss the reasons why men in sexual sin choose to minimize their sin and what that can do to our hearts and minds.
Nate: Okay, so Ken and Trey, what we want to do today is respond to some conversations and thoughts that arise surrounding our ministry to men in sexual sin. We want to talk about what some of the issues are and try to expose some of the darkness that's in these situations. Let’s talk about a few of the things that came up in a conversation that we had in preparation for this interview. Trey, I think you were the one who brought up a number of these when we were talking about ideas for this podcast because these are real life situations that have come up in your counseling office. Let's talk first about a guy who minimizes the evil of pornography.
Ken: Well, Jesus doesn't minimize it. The Scriptures clearly teach that even just lusting over someone is equated with adultery in your heart, so it is a big deal. Jesus even talked about the radical nature of dealing with these types of things when he talked about literally cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye. He said that it's better to go through life maimed than go to hell with both intact.
Nate: Yeah, I thought about that example too because I can't imagine actually cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye. I mean you're talking about losing parts of your body that are so essential to life and Jesus is saying that it's better to just cut it off and go through life really inconvenienced. Most of us would think, “How am I going to live without a hand?” But Jesus says, “just do it,” because it’s better to do that than to go to hell.
Ken: Yeah. And obviously Jesus isn't advocating self-mutilation. Our bodies are created to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. But He literally is saying it would be better if you did that than to go to hell. In other words, do whatever it takes to deal with the issues that need to be addressed.
<pull-quote>Our bodies are created to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.<pull-quote><tweet-link>TweetThis<tweet-link>
Trey: Yeah, and when it comes to counseling men who are in sexual sin, we never just want to deal with the outward fruit, we want to get to the heart issues. So, the fact that they are minimizing wouldn’t be my main concern but rather, why are they minimizing and what are they minimizing? I'll explain it this way, they are either minimizing God's standard, or they're minimizing the weight of what they did or they're minimizing the consequences that may result from what they did. Typically, when they're trying to minimize, they are trying to protect something. I know in my own life, I might be trying to protect an idol that I don't want to be revealed because if it gets revealed, I have to cut it off and deal with it. Or maybe I’m trying to protect my image. In my case, before I came to Pure Life, I didn’t want to be convicted about my sin. I wanted to appear godly to others. So back then what I did was to minimize what God said about my sexual sin in His Word so that in my eyes, what I did wasn’t that bad.
Nate: That's really interesting that you say that, because I don't think I ever quite thought about the fact that it's coming from a place of self-protection. The thinking behind it is, “I have to minimize this, otherwise I have to face it and I really don’t want to face it, so I need to minimize this sin.”
Ken: I don't think I've ever dealt with a person that minimized their sin who didn't, in some way, still want their sin. They want to hold on to their sinful behavior, so somehow, they have to justify themselves in their mind, especially when they are professing to be a Christian.
Trey: Yeah. The enemy lives in the realm of darkness, the realm of not seeing things as they really are, and Jesus told us that the truth will set us free. So, it is important if someone's wanting to come into freedom to see things as they are and to see pornography as it is. We can easily minimize the weight of it by thinking that watching pornography is much better behavior than acting out with somebody. While overall there is a fragment of truth in that thought, it's still not seeing the spiritual reality of the darkness that is going on in your life.
<pull-quote>The enemy lives in the realm of darkness, the realm of not seeing things as they really are, and Jesus told us that the truth will set us free.<pull-quote><tweet-link>TweetThis<tweet-link>
Nate: What would you say the spiritual reality is then?
Trey: The Bible teaches the principle that you become what you behold. For example, 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that as we behold the face of Jesus, we will reflect His glory. Psalm 115 talks about people becoming like the idols they create. Back in biblical times, they didn't have pornography the way that we have it now. What they did have were pagan temples. So, imagine you're going into a temple. There's an atmosphere in that place created by the people and activities there. They are likeminded, and their intent is to pursue sin. So a person who is walking into an atmosphere like that is immersing themselves into the spiritual darkness that is in that environment.
If we really think of the spiritual reality of what's happening in pornography, who's influencing them to do those acts? Who's really directing the creativity? It's not God. It's not the Holy Spirit influencing the actors or whoever it is that's involved. It's the enemy. When you’re viewing pornography, you're engaging in a worship experience of Satan. When you see it that clearly in your heart, hopefully you don't even want to go near that anymore. And the reason why the Lord doesn't want us to minimize it is because He wants us to come into the truth of what real worship to Him looks like. It's the opposite of what we are doing when we are viewing pornography. With pornography we are beholding images, dissecting them, idolizing them and adoring them for hours and hours on end. The Lord wants us to do the complete opposite. He wants us to behold the face of Jesus and worship Him.
Nate: That reminds me of the picture in Ezekiel of one of the visions that Ezekiel had. In his vision, the Spirit of the Lord took him to the temple and essentially said, dig through the wall of the temple and see what they're doing. See how the inner chambers are filled with abominations and images of creeping things. When it comes to our mind and body, it's just the same how our temple is being filled with abominations. That is exactly what pornography is. It’s filling our temple with abominations. God doesn't really see it any differently now than He saw it then. If anything, it's worse because we have so much more light and understanding of what God is requiring of us.