The enormity of the problem is evident
The tsunami of destruction caused by pornography is here. According to Barna Research 6 out of 10 of the men walking into a church on Sunday morning have looked at pornography in the last day, week, or month. The men are of all ages including grandfathers. I was recently approached by a woman at church who is helping her widowed dad with his bills and was very upset to find he was buying pornographic material.
This tsunami is a world-wide problem. Our church sends a team into the mountains of Nepal every year to evangelize. They have found that the villagers, who live in tents, have cell phones and are accessing pornography, most of which is made in the United States. Our team has been asked to train the local church leaders how to help their men get free from the harm caused by pornography.
The Bible warns us: “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 (ESV).
“For many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.” Proverbs 7: 26-27 (ESV).
Porn damages relationships
Sexual sin, including pornography use, separates us from God first, and then others including a spouse, family members, grandchildren, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. It fills us with shame and renders us ineffective. The consequences of pornography use impacts us and others. It affects us in each of these areas:
- Erosion of self-confidence.
- Paranoia- that our pornography use will be discovered.
- Fear that we’ll lose our job, our status, our marriage, and family.
- A feeling of defeat and shame.
- Losing sight of who we are in Christ.
- A negative impact on our relationship with God.
- Less prayer, or none at all.
- Feeling unworthy to be a spiritual leader at home and at church.
- Emotionally unavailable to our spouse, family, and grandchildren.
- Failure of our marriage vow to be faithful to our spouse alone.
Pornography use creates unholy bonds
Sexual relations make a spiritual, as well as physical and chemical connection only meant to be shared with a spouse. The release of the hormone oxytocin by the woman during sex bonds her to the man. Endorphins are released in the man and bond him to the woman chemically, and imprints her image in his brain. Affairs and the use of pornography create unholy bonds with a person or image of someone who is not your spouse. This further damages your marriage relationship.
Pornography use affects how we view the opposite sex
Think of it as a loss of innocence. We start to see the opposite sex through a lens of lust that we didn’t have before. We start to sexualize our encounters.
The same is true of the grandchildren who are viewing pornography. They see their classmates in a sexual way that they had not seen before.
Pornography is avoidable
Now that we are aware of some of the dangers of pornography, what can we do about it? While the issue is big, the good news is that Christians can handle this successfully. It’s about obedience to God and honoring His plan for sexuality. As we grow in our faith we are grateful for our salvation and we come to appreciate God’s love for us. In our sanctification process our desires change and become more like the desires of Jesus. We start wanting to do what He wants us to do. We come to realize that God’s commands about sex are not there to ruin our fun, but to protect us from harm.
The way to avoid getting destroyed by pornography is to stay away from it in the first place by actively fleeing. “Flee” is an active verb in 1 Corinthians 6:18. Staying pure and fleeing is a discipline, but we can do it with God’s resurrection power that is within every Christian. When we are weak, he is strong. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
If you are struggling in this area yourself it’s important you come out of hiding. Talk to your spouse and a trusted friend about it. There is help in support groups, counseling, and a good accountability partner. Stay in community with believers, such as in Bible study groups. This does not apply only to men. Thirty percent of the pornography viewers are women, and that percentage is increasing.
Grandparents and grandchildren
Grandparent’s main roles are to model a healthy marriage honoring biblical sexuality, and to demonstrate a love for the word of God, the Bible, in their lives and share it with their grandchildren.
Talk to the parents of your grandchildren about sexuality. This article can be a conversation starter. Let them know that you are aware that the average exposure of children to pornography is between the ages of 8 and 11, and It’s often discovered innocently while doing homework. There are software and router control products available to help. Find out from the parents what controls they have in place to protect the grandchildren and have similar controls at your house.
It’s important that the parents understand your desire to talk to grandkids about sexual integrity, marriage, and dating. We must acknowledge that the parents are the ones who have primary influence and responsibility in these areas. A discussion will help eliminate surprises, and assure that the parents are comfortable with how you want to approach the topics. They will probably have some solid ideas of what they want you to do and will be happy you started the conversation.
There is a popular children’s book on this topic called: Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kid. by Kristen A. Jensen, M.A., Independently Published, 2014.
Preparing Children for Marriage by Josh Mulvihill, Ph.D., P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, 2017
Talking to Your Kids About Sex by Mark Laasar, Ph.D., Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs, 1999.
How to Respond to Your Teen’s Suspected pornography Use- https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/how-do-you-respond-to-your-childs-suspected-pornography-use/
Family Online Safety Institute: https://www.fosi.org/
Common Sense Media- https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
Defend Young Minds- Kids can learn to reject pornography- https://www.defendyoungminds.com/
Protect Young Eyes- https://protectyoungeyes.com/ internet safety, blogs, training and more.
Covenant Eyes- Screen accountability, https://www.covenanteyes.com/
My Mobile Watchdog- Over 20 parental controls that make it simple to monitor, block, filter, and track what your children are doing with their phones- www.mymobilewatchdog.com