This post will deal with adult issues and activities.
What’s the harm? I’m only looking!!!
So goes one of the most common rebuttals to viewing pornography as sin. It reflects the view in our society and, unfortunately, by many Christians that sexual purity and fidelity only involve the body.
Looking ain’t cheatin’!
Believe or not, the Barna Group reports that 29% of born-again Christians say the it is morally acceptable to view movies with explicit sexual content.
How did we get here?
Well, that’s a whole ‘nother post, but what we can address, today, is this question:
Is viewing sexually explicit material (pornography) really a sin?
Let’s start off looking at the word: PORNOGRAPHY.
It has as its roots two separate Greek words:
- Porneia Illicit, or “unauthorized” sex.
i.e. sexual sin
- Grapho Writing
That seems pretty clear, but that only means writing, right? Not really, as the meaning of the word is centered on the porneia portion: Sexual sin.
Today we could define pornography as:
Any media that causes sexual stimulation or
release outside the marriage relationship.
Now, when my generation hears the word “pornography” we think of magazines and VHS tapes. But, today, in the 21st Century, pornographic material has many forms:
- Audio – Erotic/explicit audio books and “podgasms” (audio recordings of sexual activities)
- Video – Sexually explicit material on DVD, the Internet, television, etc.
- Text – Erotica, explicit romance novels, sex stories online (yes, “50 Shades of Gray” is porn, IMHO!)
- Images – Photos, cartoons, advertisements, etc.
- Animation – Computer generated sexual imagery and video, including Hentai >>>>>>>>
- Virtual Worlds – Sexual activities and representations in games and in online worlds such as Second Life.
When such material is accessed and/or viewed it leads to sin. Why? Because in using pornography we are bringing people and activities outside of a Godly marriage into our sex lives, which God has bounded by marriage and love.
In addition, much of what is depicted in pornography is expressly forbidden by God:
- Pre-marital sex
- Extra-marital sex
- Homosexual sex
- Group sex
- Violent and abusive sex
- and more.
When we view such material we are participating vicariously and in a lustful, desirous manner:
- Sin is what is going on in the video/story (the vast majority of pornography does not depict “happily married couples”).
- Sin is what is going on in your mind as you watch it.
Most viewers of pornography are going to have one or more of the following mental responses when engaged with pornography:
- I wish I was there with him/her.
- I wish my spouse could/would do that.
- I wish my spouse was that fit, or endowed.
- I’ve never done that, but it’s fun to think about, or try
- I know that’s wrong, but it is exciting.
Notice that the emphasis is on “I”. Pornography turns our sexual activities inward, to our own lusts and desires.
Even if you are watching pornography made by a husband-wife team (yep, it’s out there) you are sinning because you are participating in their sexual expression from outside of their marriage, as well as reacting as you did, above. You are not thinking about how they are nurturing their relationship and/or how they keep themselves in tip-top shape!
Although you are not physically sinning, you are sinning in your mind and heart.
Jesus clearly stated in the Sermon on the Mount that it is what is in our hearts that is sin, even before we act. In speaking of adultery, He said:
“but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already
committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Jesus is teaching us that sin, in this case adultery, is a heart matter, first. He expanded on this in Matthew 15:18
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery,
sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (NIV)
Sin begins in the heart, in our desire and intent to act, or not act, in accordance with God’s Design. And sin in the heart, if allowed to bloom, will guide the actions of the body.
God has limited sexual expression to marriage, to husbands and wives (married to each other).
Pornography brings outsiders and sinful activities before our eyes, where they can take root in our hearts. It also insinuates itself in our marriage relationship. This has a number of effects on each and every one of us who use pornography:
- It violates the sanctity of the marriage covenant.
- For singles, it perverts our expectations of marital intimacy.
- It creates unrealistic expectations. (After all, it IS a fictional movie)
- It builds dissatisfaction as fantasy trumps reality.
- It steals from our spouse when we satisfy our own needs selfishly.
- It also programs us regarding what activities we find acceptable. For instance, if you watch pornography depicting spouse-swapping, you will become more accepting of it, possibly desiring to participate in spouse-swapping in the “real world“.
- It addicts us to sexual sin.
- It weakens our relationship with Jesus, as sin always does. We won’t seek fellowship with him when we know that “He knows”.
Viewed in light of what we’ve already said, it is clear that involvement with pornography is sin.
What if you are involved with pornography?
- First off, you are no alone. It is epidemic.
- Secondly, it is not beyond forgiveness: Pornography is not a “worst sin”. James 2:10 tells us:For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (NIV)
- Lastly, there is hope and strength through Jesus Christ. Satan may have you believe that Jesus is ready to “ZAP” you for your sin. In reality, Jesus is waiting for you to turn to Him so He can cleanse you of all unrighteousness!
Satan likes to tell us that we are weak (we are) and sinful (ditto) and that we don’t deserve forgiveness (yep, he’s right again).
But, what he leaves out is that Jesus CHOSE to come to earth to pay the price for the sins of the weak, sinful, and unforgiven. That’s you and me.
If you are involved with pornography, you can come out of the darkness you are in.
It will not be easy, and you will need His strength in order to achieve victory.
Take these steps:
- Admit to God that you are involved in sin, and that you need forgiveness. This is confession.
- Take actions to restrict Satan’s ability to tempt you (Internet filters, passwords, etc.). This is repentance, or turning from sin.
- Seek help. There are many groups that can help. Here are some places to start:
There are many more.
Deception, destruction, lies, dissatisfaction and sorrow are characteristic of our enemy: Satan.
He LOVES pornography. It’s one of his best weapons!
Satan will also tell us that God put boundaries on sexual expression to be mean, or to play a cruel joke. These are not in God’s character.
The limitation of sexual activity to marriage, including what we watch and read, is meant to bless us and protect us, not to frustrate us. They bring us joy, and not sorrow.
Keep watching this blog: We’ll be expanding on this.
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- …Because What’s On The Internet Even Grosses Out the HOOKERS!!!
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