The Unspoken Sin: Pornography
Imagine, for a moment, a visit to your local doctor’s office. As you sit in the waiting room, you read statistics indicating that at least 10 of the 20 other people in the waiting room have a particular disease but haven’t properly diagnosed it. The disease is scary and it is deadly, and so it’s not something people like to talk about. There’s at least a decent chance that the doctor himself has the disease, and so he doesn’t like discussing it, either. Instead, the doctor has posters raising awareness for AIDS, smallpox, and other diseases that either affect others but aren’t very relevant to the patients or are outdated and aren’t the threat they once were. The disease continues to run rampant, but everyone goes on their way without addressing it or giving it the proper treatment. This seems like a ridiculous scenario, doesn’t it?
Now replace “doctor’s office” with the church, “doctor” with preachers, and substitute pornography and lust for the disease. As another prominent religious leader recently fell to an “inappropriate relationship” with another married woman, it just served as another eye opener of the secretive nature of these sins. My aim is not to focus on him or anyone else in particular, but to point to the fact that sexual temptation is one of the biggest forms of temptation (if not the biggest) facing the church today, and yet by proportion it is rarely ever discussed, and when it is discussed not enough is done about it to make a difference in most cases.
Covenant Eyes reports that 50% of Christian men (in the broad definition of Christian) and 20% of Christian women say they are addicted to pornography. 51% of those in ministry positions say it is a possible temptation and 75% of them reported that they do not make themselves accountable to someone else for their internet use. 85% of 18-24 year-old men and 47% of 18-24 year-old women view pornography at least once or twice a month. The statistics Covenant Eyes made available for teenage exposure to pornography are even more shocking.
And yet, among all of this, how much discussion do we have on the topic? How many churches preach on the issue and emphasize accountability, or even establish accountability programs? Some have, and it’s a great help and encouragement for those struggling with sexual sin. The church was designed as a family to “bear one another’s burdens” and help each other overcome stumbling blocks along the narrow way. Instead, we’ve shamed sexual sin into silence in many cases, and thousands fight the fight alone without feeling comfortable enough to talk about the sin and get help. Paul was open with his struggles with sin, calling himself the chief of sinners in 1 Timothy 1:15 and documenting the dichotomy of his sinful flesh vs. spiritual mind in Romans 7. Our sins should never be something to hide behind, but rather something we nail to the cross. Sins are covered out of pride, but our only boasting is to be in the cross of Christ and the work He did for us upon it.
So, to those of you who struggle with sexual temptations, I beg you to get help. Find accountability and dedicate yourself to stopping sin from having a hold on you. Preachers, don’t be afraid to preach on these topics no matter how uncomfortable they might be at times, and remember to keep a close watch over yourself through accountability and mentorship with others. Parents, discuss these matters with your young adults so that they know they can talk to you about anything. Provide a safe environment so Satan can’t enter your house through computers, televisions, iPads, or smart phones. As much as we preach against subjects like homosexuality and God’s hate for divorce, we have to remember that it’s just as important to keep the marriage bed undefiled from fornication, affairs, lust, and all manner of sexual sin.
Let’s not be the doctor’s office allowing the disease to go untreated. Let’s step up and start shutting down this particular strain of sin and its devastating influence.