Pornography is one of the most powerful weapons in Satan’s arsenal. He uses it to corrupt God’s beautiful plans for us as sexual beings. Pornography encourages lust, which then enslaves us, for sexual desire is the second most powerful motivation that human beings have after the survival instinct.
The Bible tells us, “Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. Because everything that belongs to the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle-is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.” (1 John 2:15-17, Holman Christian Standard Bible).
Pornography is a medium of both mental and physical images. We must constantly remind ourselves that we live in a world distorted by sin and must be careful of what we allow our eyes to see.
Unfortunately, one reason many in our society have been so susceptible to pornography is that far too often in American churches, particularly in conservative churches, we have shied away from teaching the full biblical revelation concerning human sexuality.
We know all about the don’ts. We know that First Corinthians 6 says our bodies are not intended for sexual immorality. But too often evangelical Christians have failed to adequately understand the Song of Solomon and share its truths with our young people. If First Corinthians records the don’ts, the Song of Solomon records the do’s. The Song of Solomon says that sex is holy and that God created us as sexual beings to bring about the most loving, caring, giving union that a man and a woman can know this side of heaven. If you think God does not approve of sex, you need to read a good modern translation of the Song of Solomon. However, our culture has made it dirty by selfish misapplication.
Hebrews 13:4 says the marriage bed should be kept pure and that marriage should be honored by all. If anyone needed to be told the appropriate place and purpose for sexual relations it was the first-century Corinthians. Corinth was the cultural cesspool of the Roman Empire. The Romans had a word for someone who had been hopelessly debauched. They’d say, “Well, he has been Corinthianized.” That’s how bad it was in Corinth.
It was out of this degenerate society that the Corinthian Christians were saved. And Paul admonishes them in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality! ‘Every sin a person can commit is outside the body,’ but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body” (HCSB). Paul knew that God created us as sexual beings to make of two people one flesh, and that we cannot separate ourselves from our sexuality.
Paul says there is no such thing as casual sex, for a person who has been promiscuous is profoundly changed. This flies in the face of those in the pornography industry who insist that pornography is a private matter and doesn’t affect anyone else. People who view pornography are changed in their view of women, their view of procreation, and their view of the world. And that means they affect you and me.
Pornography perverts and distorts all of the God-given purposes for sexual intimacy. Pornography teaches people to disregard the sanctity of marriage and the one gift of knowing one person intimately within its confines. It teaches people to view sex as a form of recreation without regard for the welfare of one’s sexual partner.
We are weak, fallible creatures and subject to temptation. Adrian Rogers offers sage advice when he says, “To avoid falling down, don’t walk on slippery surfaces.” Steer clear of temptation and see that your family does the same. Don’t pick up that magazine or click that computer mouse if it will subject you to temptation.
The Bible tells us to “flee from such” (2 Timothy 2:22). Don’t underestimate the lure of this sordid material. No man-Christian or not-is totally above temptation when it comes to pornography, particularly with its easy accessibility on-line.
If you have Internet access on your home or office computer, make sure you have a reliable filter that screens out the so-called “adult” sites. Otherwise, having the Internet is like ordering magazines about subjects that interest you, then having them delivered in a box mixed that also contains pornographic magazines you didn’t order and don’t want. “Well,” most Internet providers would say, “If you want a magazine about baseball or American history, you have to take delivery of these others too. You don’t have to look at them, though.” For the sake of yourself and your family, get a good filter or get off the Internet.
Another way you can protect families from Internet pornography is by supporting legislation to control it. When a bill is introduced that will reduce the exposure of children-and everyone else-to pornography on the Internet, support the politicians who champion it. They are fighting against long odds, for the porn industry is powerful and will do all it can to keep the river of slime flowing unimpeded. Let morally responsible leaders know you’re behind them. Pray for them and for yourself. And pray for the victims of pornography that they will feel the presence of God in their hearts soon, climb out of that fetid river, and bask in His glory.
Dr. Richard Land is president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention's official entity assigned to address social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith.