The human body is very personal. You can look at pictures of nude women and men on a million different websites, but if you asked a girl at school to take her clothes off for you in public, she’d consider it an insult and probably think you were emotionally disturbed. There are exceptions, but by and large people prefer to keep their clothes on. It gives them a sense of privacy and dignity. Even in the most primitive cultures, people usually wear loincloths. No missionary taught them to do that, and the tropical climate doesn’t demand it. Our sense of modesty is the universal source of clothing cover.

The human body is certainly beautiful, and can be considered a work of art. Though you could argue that art shouldn’t portray nudes (and it can be difficult to explain in precisely what way a Playboy foldout is different from a Renoir painting), I do think there is a place for nudity in art celebrating the beauty and sensuality of the human body. We all know, however, that people don’t look at pornography on the Internet because they’re interested in art. They look at the pictures to get sexually excited.

God created sex to be an intensely personal communication between a man and a woman who love each other and are committed to that love. Pornography simulates that experience through a “relationship” between a person and an image. We all know it’s a poor substitute for real sex, and doesn’t substitute at all for a relationship of love. Instead it offers instant gratification. It takes time and work to win a woman’s love, to sustain it, and to enrich it over years of romance, commitment, and service. But it only takes a few seconds to look at images on a screen. There is no commitment, no love, no communication, and no mutuality. Only sexual stimulation.

Let’s be realistic. There are lots of things in the world that are worse than pornography. But we need to stay away from it. Why? Like any cheap substitute, pornography detracts from the real thing. If you get used to thinking about sex in the quick, easy, uninvolved Internet way, you’ll have a harder time mustering the energy to take it more seriously in relationships with real live men and women. Pornography is like junk food. It may seem harmless, but it’s habit-forming, and habits are powerful. And it’s ultimately destructive.

Pornography is a sad way to approach our sexual senses. It’s not how we should be relating to each other as human beings, either by posing for the pictures or by looking at them. It’s all around us in our culture, and I think it tends to make us regard each other as objects rather than people. It also arouses lust, and Jesus says (Mt. 5.28) that sexual desire affects the inside of a person. After all, Jesus says, looking at pornography (lusting) is disconnected from any actual personal contact, but it’s not disconnected from your soul. Jesus wants our eyes and our gaze to be as pure as he wants all of us to be pure.

So you’re not going to keep yourself pure with this quick-and-easy view of sex. There’s no question that, especially for guys, visual stimulations are powerful. We need to be careful what we fill our eyes, and therefore our memories, and therefore our hearts with.

Pornography takes something very real, personal, and human, and distorts it. Our sexuality was meant to be expressed in the context of a healthy committed relationship, and pornography is not that. While our sexuality is only one aspect of who we are as human beings, and it needs to be integrated with other aspects, pornography isolates that one human dimension and distorts it by magnifying and minimizing it at the same time.

To say that porn cheapens our sexuality doesn’t go far enough. Porn magnifies human sexuality, distorts it, makes it larger than reality, and isolates it for trade. It makes the magnificence of being a creature made in the image of God something as insignificant as a sheet of paper or a glob on a screen. It’s a most malicious smearing of the divine image in us. Simply put, porn is uncompromising, progressive, destructive evil.

Matthew 5:29 continues the theme: If your eye causes you to sin, sacrifices must be made to stop the sin. Lust can cut you off from Jesus. Our sinful desires have to be tamed at all cost.

 

These thoughts and words are directly from Tim Stafford, “Love, Sex, and the Whole Person,” Campus Life Magazine. Thank you, Tim, for truth told with such love and care.

Also some quotes are taken from the writing of T.C. Ryan (reference unknown)

 

2 Comments

  1. CuriousMind99
    Apr 20, 2013 @ 15:22:38

    So how do you stop? How can you stop being addicted to it, even if its only once a month? I mean, from my experiences i looked at it even though i knew it was wrong and i felt horrible afterwards. Every time i would pray to god and tell him that i would stop… but it didn’t work. I just feel so hopeless on this subject, and dirty because i feel so alone about it… like i’m the only one.

    Reply

    • Jim Walton
      Apr 21, 2013 @ 02:39:20

      Dear CuriousMind99, I guess the first thing you need to know is that you are far from “the only one”. So many people struggle with pornography (as a desire) and pornography (as an addiction). Now, it probably goes without saying that you became addicted to it because you have a weakness for it and a desire for it, and it built up to the point where it’s an addiction (even at once a month). Your conscience is still at work (you know it’s wrong and you feel horrible, even dirty, afterwards.) And God doesn’t help.

      I’m not a counselor, but I can speak to you the Word of God. I’ll first take you to James 1. 14. Temptation originates inside you, but you fed it. You know that, but here’s the problem. You trained the temptation deeper into yourself. Here’s how it works: Your body and your brain respond, not just to immediate stimuli, but get trained to repetitious patterns, just as muscle memory works You don’t have to look when you go upstairs; your muscles have been trained. The brain has a property called neuroplasty, which is the ability to change its structure in significant ways. It can be changed by repetitive stimulation. In other words, you have trained in an addiction—biologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Just as James 1.14 says, your own evil desires dragged you away, enticed you, and enslaved you. By giving in to temptation, you trained yourself to give in more, and it was harder to resist each time.

      The good news is that it’s beatable by the same repetitious patterns in other directions. Neuroplasty works in both directions. Your brain can be retrained by different repetitive stimuli—even by your thoughts and intentions. Mental training that targets patterns of brain activity can work. Whether it’s meditation, cognitive-behavrior therapy, Scripture reading, your brain can be retrained by you to change your addictive patterns. “Mindfully meditation” is one of the most effective tools to changing our emotional style. There will certainly be setbacks, but don’t let them derail you.

      Now I’ll take you to Phil. 4.8-9. It’s what you should set your mind on instead. Oh, the battle will be fierce, for sure, because your flesh wants the stimulation and the satisfaction of the porn. Rom. 12.2 says that God can help us be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Pray for strength (Eph. 6.10-13), but then you also do your part by turning away and training your mind to other stimuli such as the Word of God. This will not be an easy road, because you got into this mess from inside, so your inside is going to work against you (Rom. 7.15-25). But if the Spirit of God is also inside you, you can be free from your addiction (Rom. 8.2). Also look at Romans 8.5: when you set your mind on the things of the Spirit, you can be set free from the addictions of the flesh.

      I’ll finish with James 1.3-4. Perseverance is the key. The guy who quits before reaching the finish line doesn’t win the race. You have to cross the line. You have to persevere to the point where perseverance can finish its work. Remember always that God is at work in you (Phil. 2.13) and desires to make you holy.

      Reply

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