Porn, Predators, and Unsafe People

“It’s just a little porn…what’s the big deal?”

A man asked me that question a while back with a defensive tone of voice. His wife, sitting across the table, had just told me that she had felt “ugly and disgusting” when she’d viewed her husband’s internet history that morning.

I told this man the story of a pastor from a small town in Iowa. When Stu took his first pulpit, he was young, enthusiastic, and had a personality that matched the shine on his newly framed diploma. For three years he performed weddings, funerals, and baptisms. He earned the trust of everyone in his community. Then one Sunday morning an elder walked up to the pulpit, instead of Stu, and wept through the announcement that Stu had been arrested for soliciting prostitution from an undercover police officer in Des Moines.

Stu’s wife heard the news from the arresting officer. Stu had to draw a picture of a policeman and a jail for his three-year-old who couldn’t understand why daddy was going to go away for a while.

Stu’s blowup in life didn’t begin with putting on sunglasses and driving down a shady lane looking for a prostitute. About twenty years prior to that moment, Stu got hooked on pornography. He went through the typical stages: soft porn until the soft stuff didn’t do it anymore, and then the hard stuff, and then videos, and then the occasional strip club when he traveled out of town for conferences.

Eventually, when he needed to feed the addiction with more intensity and stimulation, he tried to rent a person.

So, back to the question: “what’s the big deal with a little porn from time to time?”

Nothing…if you’re willing to live with a wrecked conscience.

Nothing…if you’re down with humiliating and devastating the people you most love.

Nothing…if you’re fine with objectifying the women and children in your life. Men who are regularly involved with pornography train their minds to over-sexualize women and children. Much of the sexual abuse of children and women in our nation stems back to men who have spent hundreds of hours on the internet or in front of videos, creating distorted paradigms of sex, the female body, and children as objects of personal gratification. (Cue Sandusky’s awkward response to Bob Costa’s question, “Are you sexually attracted to children?” How much internet porn do you need to look at before that question becomes a difficult one to answer?)

Men addicted to “unhealthy sexual gratification” – photographs, videos, strip clubs, or paying for sex – have imaginations that race in a dozen perverted directions when they see women in the grocery store, at church, or perhaps most sadly, on the junior high playground. These men may be doctors, teachers, insurance salesmen, and as much as I hate to admit it, pastors or priests. It doesn’t matter what role they play in society, they’re not safe people.

I fear for our nation because of how rampant this hurtful pursuit is today. The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families reports that approximately forty million people in the United States regularly view internet pornography. Twenty five percent of all search engine requests involve pornographic videos and pictures. There are approximately eight hundred million rentals of “adult” (the most ironic of all labels) videos and DVDs each year. And half of all hotel guests order pornographic movies during their stay.

These statistics suggest that we’re a nation full of unsafe people. They make me want to sweep up my bride, my two little ballerinas, and my little baseball player, and move them to Antarctica.

People playing with “a little bit of porn” are responsible for much of the pain caused in our homes and playgrounds across our country. Yet, we make fun of it on sitcoms and offer it for free to husbands and daddies staying in hotels on business trips. What is wrong with us as a nation? Seriously?

Playwright Oscar Wilde said, “Horse sense is what keeps horses from betting on what people will do.”

It makes you wonder what horses have figured out that we haven’t.

 

Suggestions for help

There is incredible hope and help for people struggling with an addiction to pornography. If you’re reading this blog and looking for a way out, I invite you to begin with these helpful resources:

Discussion with D.A. Carson, John Piper, and Timothy Keller on pornography and the Gospel of the grace of God.

A prayer for the strength and help of God.

Covenant Eyes internet accountability.

Find a local Celebrate Recovery group in your area.

 

 

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