The Pornography Epidemic

47 comments | Posted: 9 March 06 in General, by Nathan Logan

The Battleground

We’re going to talk about sexual immorality. I apologize for the “battle” analogy, but honestly, I don’t see a more appropriate place to use it – this issue is nothing short of an epic war, where societies and souls rest in the balance.

As you consider this rampant problem, take in a few statistics to help you determine its seriousness:

(Last 3 facts taken from XXX Church: Porn Facts).

Even though stats need to be taken with a grain of salt, I think we can definitively say that, yes, sexual immorality, even/especially among the church, is a problem. And given increasing broadband availability, Internet usage, and cultural acceptance of sexual perversion, it’s a problem that promises to drastically increase.

To label this problem as anything less than epidemic is to plug your ears and cover your eyes to our culture. This problem is far-reaching and grave. But in all honesty, I’m not here to tell you that the misuse and misunderstanding of sex is a problem in our culture. My bet is that you already know it is, and chances are, it is one that you currently fight. You’ve seen the power of search engines, you’ve been spammed with plenty of pornographic e-mails, and you are fully aware of the steps to take to erase your browser history and remain anonymous on a faceless Internet. You’re convinced – porn is a problem.

The Battleplan

The purpose of this article is to help you fight the battle. I hope to give you some tools that will help you combat the lust of your heart and the lust of your eyes.

So if you are caught in that trap, or have friends or children who are (and statistically, you do), what can you do?!

As a Christian man who has struggled with this problem, and continues to fight it, let me encourage you that the battle can be fought effectively, but must start in the right place. Check out 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 Thessalonians 4:3-4. That passage gives us the most important information in this battle – God’s very will for each of us! And what is that? It’s to be set apart for His use by controlling our bodies (through abstaining from sexual immorality and pursuing holiness).

As with all things in the Christian walk, it all starts with your heart. Don’t just scan that – it’s the key here – your heart condition is the thing that will determine whether or not you make it through this fight. The only way to effectively get through it is to start by being truly in love with Jesus, desperately clinging to Him, and desiring intimacy with Him more than anything else. If that’s not where you are, I hate to say it, but you are powerless to fight – there are other issues to deal with first (feel free to contact me or comment below with questions there).

Just remember that all of these resources are useless or meaningless without a heart centered on Christ’s glory and motivated out of love for Him.

The Weapons

And here’s where technology intersects with theology, thank God.

General Resources

Accountability

Audio (Messages)

Internet/Computer Filtering

Other Resources

The Battle Cry

As you examine the list of resources available to you, and consider making decisions that will alter the freedom you enjoy (especially in media), ask yourself this question:

What is God’s glory (through my holiness) worth?

Also, I implore you to find someone to whom you can and will be regularly accountable (and use the software above to help!). Brothers asking me the hard questions has been imperative to my growth in this area. As it is practically impossible to win this war alone, having accountability is vital.

Remember to be seeking God’s strength in all of this, through prayer and the Word (including the helpful memorization thereof). He is faithful and has promised cor 10:13 that He won’t give you anything that he won’t also give you the strength and grace to endure.

Finally, as a close friend and pastor consistently reminds me, press on.

Now goFIGHT!

Discuss This Topic

  1. 1 Wesley Walser

    I think even more than a great/needed article I like this post a lot because of the number of resources linked. Great write up Nathan.

    Above all I thin that it needs to be said that there is no substitute for a close friend who is willing to ask the tough questions, and whom you can give straight answers.

    Startling stats as well.

     
  2. 2 RodeoClown

    I was at a men’s convention over the last weekend and I took notes of what was spoken about – one of the talks spoke a whole lot about pornography – I have a few notes here http://www.the-rodeo.com/?p=151 (I can’t turn that into a link, sorry).

    It’s not very long, but it outlines a few import things to do when fighting.

    -Ian Tyrrell

     
  3. 3 Benjamin

    The call to purity has been so evident in our church in the last few months. We have seen many men turn from their secret sin, it has been amazing to witness and experience such freedom. It takes a lot of self-control and definately accountability partners.

    This is a MUCH needed article with a lot of great resources. Thanks Nathan.

     
  4. 4 Chris Harrison

    Thanks for posting this, Nathan. I highly recommend x3watch… both me and a buddy here at work run it on our systems, just to keep ourselves in check. It’s not just pornography that’s a problem. There are certain sites that I used to go that had that, pictures of pretty girls, etc. intermingled with tech stories and whatnot, and I simply had to stop going because I didn’t feel like it was the right thing for me to do.

    As men, there is no substitute for having good Christian men in our lives to help us to remain accountable for our actions.

     
  5. 5 Nathan Logan

    Awesome, guys. I’m glad to hear that this was helpful for you.

    100% agreed on the importance of accountability. It is probably the single greatest help that God has used in my life to keep me from falling deep and irretreivably into this sin.

    I think the other thing that I have tended to miss in this struggle is that if I don’t replace my affections for lust with affections for Jesus, my efforts are futile. Without the empowerment of the Spirit and full reliance upon the Lord, we are unable to keep ourselves afloat in the crashing sea of lust. Praise God for His grace.

     
  6. 6 Nathan Logan

    Also, sorry that I accidently made the article disappear there for a half hour or so. The Firefox SessionSaver extension can be a blessing, but can also pull some unexpected shenanigans when you’re using it from home and from work. My bad, there.

     
  7. 7 Matt Sanders

    Very well written article and much needed. Sin will take you farther then you want to go. It’s good to have a battle plan to keep yourself accountable and to strengthen your relationship with Christ.

     
  8. 8 Chris Huff

    Great resources! x3watch specifically looks like a the perfect little program for accountability. Thank you for the links and article.

     
  9. 9 RodeoClown

    x3watch is good – I used it for a while, but I ran into the problem that, because I’m the administrator on my machine, I could disable it without it reporting the downtime – which just made it useless, so I turned it off.

    If you are running a limited account, give your wife or whoever the password to the administrator account and don’t give yourself rights to stop x3watch.

    Some other helpful tips:
    – Keep your computer in a visible area of the house – I have a glass door looking into my study, so I can keep it there and anyone walking past can see what I’m doing (this helps if you are just bad at settling down to do work as well :) )
    – Get a friend to check up on you at random times – I’ve found that a wife doesn’t make a good accountability partner, no offense to her, but I don’t want to hurt her by telling her I screwed up again. Another man is best, as long as he doesn’t just say ‘oh well’.
    – Tell your wife that you struggle with this, but are trying to fight it. I’ve never met a woman that understands the struggle, but knowing that you are trying can be an encouragement.

    -Ian

     
  10. 10 Nathan Logan

    Rodeo, good tips there.

    Also, if you are experiencing that problem with x3watch, try out CovenantEyes – I’ve been really impressed with their service. There’s no way to disable it without formatting your hard drive. A couple friends use it, and it works very well. And really, for $7/mo., it’s affordable (and well-worth the investment).

    Keep up the fight, gentlemen.

     
  11. 11 y0mbo

    There is also bSafe…
    http://bsafehome.com/

     
  12. 12 Shawn Scott

    Nathan this is a very informative and well written resource. I think this is very important to be talked about openly as many of us face this issue daily. If you would be interested I would like to talk to you more about possibly discussing this issue on my podcast.

     
  13. 13 Matt H

    Great post, thanks for writing about the important topics. This site is kind of a breath of fresh air for me, compared to what the rest of the world has to offer.

     
  14. 14 Chris Palle

    @Matt H, me too. I’ve talked about Godbit as a blessing for this before..

    Hey Nathan, Thanks for the post and the links. And let me say first, you got it right: IT IS A BATTLE. One of the biggest for us Christian men. It is an important issue that, mostly, men deal with. Women struggle with it as well, but to a lesser extent and in different ways. We all need to gaurd our hearts. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6:21).

    Be even more aware, though. I have found some Christians who got tripped up on the issue and used erotic art to promote a purity conference. (??)

    As part of my own testimony: In the time I walked away from Jesus, I used to be a figure artist. For a couple years I would meet 2-3 times a week with various groups drawing naked people. See, now, I used to rationalize it as not pornography because I wasn’t arroused and it was “art.” That, in fact, is even worse. Wanna talk about desensitization?! I could stare at the female body for hours on end, intently, and it have no affect on me. During that whole time I never looked at any “typical” porn. Never visted any online porn stuff. THAT’s how entrenched and deceived I was….

    I produced probably 500+ different sketches in that time. At the point I rededicated my life to Christ, the Lord was faithful to pull me away. Immediately, I dropped masturbation. I quit the drawing classes about 3 months in, and by the end of my first year back in the flock, near the end of that sabbatical I’ve talked about, one of my pastors and an assitant pastor came to my apartment and we burned every single page in my BBQ grill. Books, magazines, etc. Funny thing was, I didn’t have one single “typical” porn article. It was all “artsy” stuff.

    For the longest time, I didn’t think I’d ever be restored. Satan would tell me over and over that I’d ruined my ability to appreciate women for who they were: God’s creation.

    But God is faithful. Through much prayer, meditating on His Word, and staying faithful to His direction of purity, He blessed me with a beautiful wife and now it’s all good.

    Let me point out, though: MARRIAGE WILL NOT SAVE YOU. The battle goes on. Only through discipline and faithfulness to our Lord, and reliance on His Spirit will you find salvation.

    There are a couple other resources that I found really helpful:
    Joshua Harris
    Every Man’s Battle
    Christians in Cable

    I didn’t want to advertise, but actually, my company manufactures one of the products sold on Family Safe Media: The TV Channel Blocker.

    (sorry for the long comment, but this hits on real personal note for me, )

     
  15. 15 Chris Palle

    Oh yeah, Nathan. You also mentioned another great point: GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER.

    We talked a little bit about accountability in our forums: Accountability and Leadership

    It didn’t get very deep, and we didn’t get into this aspect per se, but I was kinda hopin’ we’d spurn off into a “find an accountability partner” forum topic… maybe we should do that right near the “find work” forum.

     
  16. 16 Nathan Logan

    Shawn – although I’m certainly not the expert, I would be happy to talk to you about this issue, on your podcast or otherwise. Feel free to contact me through my site.

    Chris – praise God for His work in you! And thank you so much for sharing your testimony here – it takes swallowing some pride to do that. And I must wholeheartedly agree with your counsel regarding marriage. I thought that once I got married, my struggle with these things would be over, but that was very much not the case. I had built horrible habits that carried into marriage, ones I still struggle with today. I thank God for my wife, and for her wonderful help for me in this battle, but my habits didn’t disappear overnight – they are making an exodus, for sure, but I imagine that I will always be fighting this battle tooth and nail (until the Lord takes me home).

    And good call on those other resources – I was hitting myself upside the head last night as I remembered Joshua Harris’ ministry and actually picked up my copy of Every Man’s Battle. Thanks for linking those. And thanks for putting out your resource – any help we can get! God bless, brother.

     
  17. 17 Anonymous

    Here’s a different perspective: I’m a wife whose husband is in the battle.

    We’ve learned that filters and accountability partners—while good—are not the sole solution. Nor the soul solution. There has to be a complete giving-over of your mind, heart and will to God; giving Him free access to the darkest, most evil corners hidden within you. Without that, everything else is just a band-aid on a gaping wound.

    SOMEbody has to be giving you both truth and grace. Without a good, honest look at the cold truth of your own sinfulness and how it hurts others, you kid yourself into thinking that it’s not that bad, and/or you can handle this on your own. Without grace, you’ll get stuck in the endless loop of shame-relapse-shame.

    A good Christian counselor is another good weapon to have in the fight, especially for those whose struggle began early and/or has gone on for many years. Pray for one.

    A book my husband has found helpful is “False Intimacy.” (author – Schaumburg)

    And guys, my sympathy to you: this is a very difficult culture for a Christian guy to try to stay mentally pure in. Temptation is everywhere, isn’t it? I’m praying for all of you!

     
  18. 18 Nickolas Means

    Nathan-

    It encourages me every day the amount of light that is being cast into this dark area by people like yourself. This is something that I’ve struggled with for quite some time and God is inundating me with resources for attacking the problem and returning to Him.

    I’ve been blessed to join a small group at my church where all the guys either currently struggle with this or have in the past. The group is not focused on that (it’s a couple’s group, actually), but God in his grace brought all of us together. I agree – accountability is key and marriage doesn’t stop anything. If you’re addicted, the addiction will continue regardless.

    Thanks for the great post and great resources!

     
  19. 19 Nathan Logan

    Nickolas, it’s awesome to hear that you’re fighting this battle, and not succumbing to a slow (and painful) death. I’m glad these resources can provide some help. I would really encourage you to be discussing this issue with one or more of the guys in that small group regularly, and using the available software in accordance with that. Keep fighting the battle, brother – and remember 1 Corinthians 10:13.

     
  20. 20 Justin Thorp

    Nathan, thank you for writing this article. It will be passing it around to a lot of people.

     
  21. 21 cm

    A non-Christian respectfully asks a few questions:

    Hello. I have a few questions about this issue of lust, pornography, etc.

    1) Does your understanding of the moral issues about lust, pornography, etc., come out of the bible entirely, or is there some other source which helps you understand what is right and what is wrong regarding these issues? I guess I am unsure how the bible says anything about pornography itself.

    2) What is the Christian view on lust? Is there ever a time when lust—and by lust I mean sexual desire—is not sinful? Such as in the context of a marriage? If there are contexts in which lust is not sinful, could you tell me what they are and why those contexts allow the lust to be not sinful?

    3) Whatever the answer to #2, it seems from what this site has posted that lust in the context of pornography is sinful. I’m not sure why that would be, in the sense that I’m not sure I see what harm is done to anyone. Perhaps you could argue that it harms the man viewing it by changing his views about women to something less compassionate? But I don’t see that as the case. But I am certainly open to understanding how you see this issue.

    Thank you for your time.

     
  22. 22 Nathan Logan

    Justin – you bet. I hope it proves helpful.

    Cm – thanks for asking these questions. I’ll do my best to answer them.

    1) Yes, my view regarding lust, pornography, and sexual immorality in general comes from the Bible. An excellent article on the subject is over at Desiring God – I would really recommend that you read that. Another great resource regarding the theology of sex is an article over at Focus on the Family’s sexual resource site. I hope that’s a good start in helping you understand where I’m coming from. If you have further quesitons, please feel free to ask.

    2) Well, the Christian view on lust is very much different than the Christian view on sexual desire. Sexual desire is something that we all have, and in the right context, is a very good thing. Lust, on the other hand, is that same sexual desire misplaced. That is, it is sexual preoccupation towards someone who is not your spouse. One of the clearest places to see this comparison is in Proverbs 5, where we are urged to rejoice in the wife of our youth and commanded to drink water from our own well. The same passage warns against being enticed by someone other than your wife. Another helpful passage is Matthew 5:28, which states that, in God’s eyes, lust in your heart is tantamount to committing the act of sexual immorality. So, to summarize, in marriage, sexual desire and intimacy is not only great, it’s actually commanded (see 1 Cor. 7)! Outside of marriage, all sexual pursuits are misplaced and dishonoring to God.

    3) While we could argue back and forth about the negative effects of pornography, for Christians, that’s not the heart of the issue (although it may be motivational, anyway – listen to Matt Heerema’s audio message above for more there). The heart of the issue for Christians is that God has told us that it is harmful to us and to our relationship with Him. The issue is not trying to be a ‘good kid’, but rather, living a life devoted to the Lord, loving Him by obeying Him. The reason for avoiding sexual immorality is my love for Jesus, not my objective analysis of its effects on me (although now being married, I think it would be hard for me to reach a neutral or positive conclusion regarding the effects of these things).

    I hope that helps. If I wasn’t clear on something, please let me know. And thank you for asking these questions – my guess is that several who have read this article have wondered the same things.

     
  23. 23 cm

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. It seems fairly clear. I did go to the resources you linked, thank you. I found one example where one of the essayists at Focus on the Family has a different definition for this word, “lust” as you are using it here:

    “The word in the New Testament that is translated “lust” means strong desire. The word can be used to describe a legitimate, godly desire.” (Dan Allender, from an article there called “Lust”).

    But in the end he makes a distinction between appropriate lust and what he calls out-of-bounds lust, which you would just call lust. I agree that the word lust has generally a negative connotation, so I think your usage of it may be a little handier than Allender’s.

    Although I am a non-Christian, I don’t dismiss out of hand issues of sexual morality, particularly the subtler issues such as pornography (I say subtler because it would seem that direct adultry is more obviously recognizable as immoral than “indirect adultry” like viewing pornography). For myself, without a book of moral instructions, it is something I have to carefully think about in terms of what I think is right or wrong action or thought.

    For example, is fantasizing about someone else’s woman a moral wrong, even if no one but you will know about those thoughts? It has always struck me as wrong and distasteful, even though rationally I know there is no harm done in it. So these issues can be subtle.

    Thanks again for your responses.

     
  24. 24 Nathan Logan

    Cm – I can see how these decisions would be difficult without an objective moral standard spelled out for you, as is in the Bible. I think an interesting pursuit for you may be the origins of morality, and researching how one can come about with a moral standard.

    And, of course, if you ask me, for non-Christians, sexual immorality is not the issue. Rather, the issue is what you will do with Christ’s offer of love and redemption, for which I believe everyone will one day be accountable. The issue of sexual immorality really pales in comparison to that one.

    Thanks for you comments, and I will be praying that God works in your heart.

     
  25. 25 Anonymous

    Cm – I really appreciate your thought-full approach.

    I want to speak to your question regarding whether mere thought is harmful.

    Thought is not harmless. In some ways, it has the potential to be even more harmful than action, because it is secret. Undisciplined thought will, sooner or later, become action.

    If you’re looking for a moral guideline outside the Bible that would address this, here’s one which is common to pretty much every moral system: Treat others the way you would want them to treat you. Would you want another guy fantasizing about your wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister, niece, mom… ?

    Looking at pornography and fantasizing about someone else’s wife or girlfriend are really the same thing. The woman on the screen or page is a real woman, somewhere in the world. She’s someone’s daughter; perhaps also a wife, girlfriend, sister and/or mother.

    So you are very right to feel that this is “wrong and distasteful”!

    But Nathan is right: the more important question is how you respond to Jesus’ offer of redemption. And speaking as one who needed/needs redeeming and has received it from Him, it’s not something to be dismissed lightly! It is better than anything.

     
  26. 26 Chris Palle

    Such a good discussion-

    @cm – As pointed out by anonymous, it is the undisciplined thought-life in which the trouble starts. As Christians, we believe we are never alone. Ever. We have a relationship with our Heavenly Father, His Son, and His Spirit and He is with us at any and every given moment. (sidennote: It’s pretty cool having the Creator of the universe chillin’ with us all the time.) And that’s just it: It’s all about the relationship. We value our relationship with God above all else.

    So, to Nathan’s point, we keep our thoughts captive so as to not hurt that relationship.

    How can our thought-life hurt others if it’s kept private? It happens in ways we can’t even know or understand, but I would speculate that it comes out in our behaviors. A crude joke here, a snide remark there. As minor as it may seem, it sends people down the wrong path and damages them. That’s not loving them.

    When we are convicted, we become defensive. One of the Holy Spirit’s roles is to convict us. Without that conviction, our hearts and thoughts will run rampant. By your posts, it looks like His Spirit is speaking to you even now.

    Jesus said:
    “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26

    When objectified, it means to have no other purpose than that object. Objects are impersonal. People who have self-respect, do not want to be objectified. Would you like it if you had no personal purpose in life other than some dumb object? No, of course not. If your thought-life is inconsiderate in how it affects others, it will objectify and hurt them in ways you’ll never even know.

    That’s why it is just so important to keep your thoughts in check.

    I want to encourage you. We’re praying for you. Listen to the voice that is more quiet than all the rest: Learn about the most awesome relationship you’re missing out on.

     
  27. 27 Scott

    I’d just like to say thanks for this article. Most Christian’s ignore this issue. And most Christian men think that they are alone in the fight and feel ashamed to talk about it. I am 19 years old and I have struggled with this addiction for 10 years. That means ever since I’ve been old enough to masturbate, I have. Right now I am in Bible school and I am also a youth pastor. For something like the last 6 years I’ve been a worship leader. I did everything I could to stop, I read all the books, I had accountable partners, I went to professional counseling, everything. And none of it helped. But just this past month, after some other bad decisions brought me to my knees, I got the real help I needed, and it finally clicked.

    Pornography and masturbation are the exact same as a drug. As a matter of fact, when you do it your body produces chemicals that are drugs and you get addicted to them. It is a form of escapism. You masturbate to make yourself feel better. Recently I realized why I could never become free. I was afraid. Afraid of what God could do through me if I stopped. Afraid of having faith.

    To not be addicted to pornography means that I can no longer hide behind my curtain. It means that I can’t go running back to what’s comfortable every time an issue comes up in life that requires me to have faith and believe God. It sounds silly, but without this addiction, you will feel naked. But that is the point, because it is at that point when we feel very weak that we must rely solely on God to come through and be who He says He is. It is easy to believe in God when we have everything provided for us, we have a good job, a nice family, a place to sleep, food to eat. But it requires faith, it requires real faith to stand before the impossible and expect God to accomplish it. But that is what faith is, expecting God to do the impossible. Anything less is a cop out and a comfortable Christianity.

    Nathan, thank you for writing this article. I came home this evening feeling very tempted to fall into lust. I got on my computer to do some work and I saw this article on my feed. This article gave me the strength I needed to resist the tempation.

     
  28. 28 Lowell

    One thing you won’t hear too often, is our need to turn from lust and sexual immorality. The worldly influence promotes it in every media possible. How many sexual references per minute on prime time TV? The one sin that Paul tells you to RUN from is sexual immorallity. Must have a lot of power if it’s something you have to run from.

    1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

    Talking about sexual immorality is as much of an influence as seeing it, according to the RAND study.


    Ted Bundy told Dr. James Dobson [hours before his execution], that unless society deals with pornography that depicts violence “lots of kids . . . are going to be dead tomorrow.”

    I was listening to The Focus on the Family Radio Program in 2005, when Dr. Dobson stated that Bundy told Dr. Dobson that his killing spree was started from pornography. He couldn’t be satisfied anymore.

    Immorality grow upon itself.

    I had a good friend. He stated liking weird stuff. It started small, but then grew into an obsession that now normal male/female sexual relations can no longer wet his appetite. There has to be….pain, domination….the list goes on.

    De Colores

     
  29. 29 Nathan Logan

    Scott, that’s encouraging to hear about the success you’ve been experiencing – keep on keeping on, brother. And praise God that He used this article at just the right time for you. It’s also been really helpful for me to hear how other Christians are fighting through this battle.

    Lowell, I’ve also read the Bundy/Dobson interview. Sobering stuff. And you’re spot-on in saying that immorality grows upon itself – that’s exactly the pattern it follows because we are not just sinning once, we are starting (or continuing) habits. Or another way to say it is that we are not just committing an act, we are acting according to our character – we are revealing what is really there in our hearts. That’s why it’s so important to deal with the core of the issue; if we don’t, these things will continue to sprout up. Thanks for your helpful thoughts.

     
  30. 30 cm

    Hi folks. Thanks for all the replies. I have a tip that, though not going to end anyone’s difficulty entirely with resisting temptation, may at least make things easier:

    Modify your diet.

    I have found and there is other evidence that caloric restriction can lower one’s libido. There may be a link between high fat foods and high calories and overactive libido. Also, consider experimenting with a vegan (no animal products at all, including eggs and dairy) diet for awhile. I’ve certainly noticed the effects. I was on a 1,200 cal/day diet as well as recently on a vegan diet and my libidinous urges are noticeably tamped down. Then again, maybe I’m just getting older (mid 30s). :) Otherwise, though, I feel great.

    A vegan diet is a diet that avoids the cruelty that is modern factory farming, too, so there is much to be recommended for it morally. I can’t see a loving God approving of the inhumane treatment of pigs, chickens, and cows in factory farm settings. It really is unethical.

    Best wishes.

     
  31. 31 Greg Balzer

    Cm,

    The following verse says nothing specific about lust or pornography – but it spoke volumes to my heart over 20 years ago of the damage done by these products:

    This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

    God desires that we “live in the light” – that we live a life free of shame – a life free of striving to hide who we really are from God, from ourselves, and from our female friends.

    Come out of the darkness- into the light. In God’s light you will find peace with the God of all creation.

     
  32. 32 anonymous 2

    i am blessed to chance upon this web site. Thank you for such ‘hope’ in the midst of increasing darkness.

    i am a woman, and i must admit that seeing the man who is the closest to my heart struggle with lust (pornography, thoughts, sights) really makes me feel very insecure and frustrated. Often, it causes me to be emotionally down. I really wonder how the wives of husbands who struggle actually help? And how would you handle it? Don’t you feel helpless and vulnerable?

    it is very comforting knowing that good godly men do want to get out of this badly. Please know that you men are so important. The ‘father’ figure that is badly missing in this world demands that men who do understand this fact, stand up and fight.

    nathan, what is the best thing a woman can do for the man she loves, to help him to become victorious? How can she spur him on, see him stand while temptation is tossing him like raging seas?

     
  33. 33 Matt Heerema

    anonymous 2-

    xxxchurch: get help: for women

    Towards the bottom of this article is some advice for wives of men who fall to pornography.

     
  34. 34 Nathan Logan

    Anon2, thanks so much for your honesty. I’m glad that a woman saw this post and commented. I would love to hear other female perspectives here.

    While it’s difficult for me to answer about the “best thing” a wife can do for her husband, I can tell you some very helpful things my wife has done for me…

    1) She has consistently shown me that she is more concerned for my walk with the Lord and my holiness than she is with her own personal feelings and emotions. She has never become bitter or mad at me when I’ve confessed these things to her, but rather, has shown compassion, love, and true concern. This has allowed me to be honest with her about my struggle.

    2) She has kept me accountable. When we set up rules, like my not being on the computer in the morning after she leaves for work, she follows up to make sure that’s happening and often encourages me to be pure before she leaves. Her accountability does not take the place of male accountability in my life, but it’s just as important.

    3) She helps me guard my eyes. When we’re together and she notices an upcoming tasteless billboard, scantily clad woman, or innappropriate magazine/movie cover, she’s quick to tell me to “look right,” “look down,” or “close your eyes.”

    Those are the main things that come to mind right now. There are other important ones (like making sure that your husband is getting enough of the right kind of sexual activity (sorry, not intending to be graphic there)), and some that may help your husband that don’t help other men. Ask him how you can help him succeed. Also, as you are trying to help him, realize that he is wired very differently from you. It may help you better understand him by reading a good book about his struggle (e.g. Every Man’s Battle).

    I think the hugest thing is trying to get beyond the mindset of how you are being hurt by this sin, and to the mindset of how your husband is being scarred by it and how you can build up and encourage him to glorify God in this area. It’s tough, but it’s the same thing that he should strive for if there’s an area of sin in your life that is hurting him. Each spouse’s focus should be on how s/he can best help the other be more in love with Jesus.

    Finally, I’ll say that you must be radical. Is it cable TV shows that are the issue? Get a TV blocker, get rid of cable TV, or put a hammer through the front of the tube. Fashion magazines? Don’t have a single one in the house that will tempt your husband. Internet? Lock down the computer, utilize the software above, or cancel the Internet service. Ads in the paper? Screen it for him beforehand or cancel your subscription. Movies? Commit to checking it out beforehand (on a site like Kids in Mind, for example), never watching higher than a certain rating, or finding something else you like doing together. Be willing to give up any comfort or enjoyment you have that will help your husband be sanctified here (even if you love reading fashion mags, etc.). And remember, it’s all about the heart – these other things are just helps in minimizing the “garbage in”.

    I hope that was helpful, and in the areas where it wasn’t, please be gracious with me. Since guys and gals are so drastically different in this area, I think we may find it difficult to understand each other, let alone communicate meaningfully about it.

     
  35. 35 Brie

    Anon2:

    This is Nathan’s wife, Brie.

    He sent me a link to this conversation and thought I might be able to share some helpful information. Although I feel like he covered most of the ways I try to help, I think it might be helpful to talk about a woman’s emotional response to the issue.

    If you are married, it is important to be sure that you are sensitive to your husband’s needs…it is difficult for a man to “drink from his own well” if the water has run dry, so to speak. Make it easy for him to initiate intimacy (even if you don’t really feel like it)...hey, every now and then, maybe even initiate it yourself! :) I think this is probably one of the most helpful things we can do.

    Although it may seem difficult, try not to take your husband’s struggle with lust as a personal injury. Rather, think of ways you can fight the sin together. If Nate stumbles, my first thought is never “wow, he must really think I’m hideous” or “he prefers internet pornography to sex with me.” My first thought is: “how did OUR defense break down?” and “What can WE do to make it stronger?” Thinking of it as something that is only his problem is a quick way to alienate him and make him feel powerless in overcoming sin.

    Try not to be shocked at his sin. We live in a world jam-packed with adultery, murder, theft, prostitution, and much, much worse. As Christians, who understand the origin of sin and the power of the flesh, we should be the last to be shocked by sin and temptation. Approach your husband as a humble sinner, who is just as much in need of God’s grace as he is.

    Pray and ask God to help you to eliminate your emotional reaction to the problem, so it can be addressed in a matter-of-fact, practical way. Once there is a game-plan established, tell your husband you have faith in him, will be praying for him, and you know he can beat the temptation with the help of the Holy Spirit. Whatever happens, try to let him know you believe in him and will stand by him through everything. You married a sinful man, he married a sinful woman. Marriage is one of the greatest gifts God has given in helping us to deal with sin in our lives and grow in our relationship with the Lord.

    By curbing your emotional response, you encourage your husband to come to you when he stumbles and to be able to find accountability in your marriage. It was really sad to me when I read in an earlier post that wives make horrible accountability partners because of our emotional reaction. Uncontrolled emotions and lack of discernment are sins as well…we must be sure to guard our hearts against self-pity and selfishness and be strong and encouraging helpers for our husbands. Do your best to be practical and sympathetic. If you feel unable to do so, even better, for Christ’s strength is perfected in our weakness.

    I feel like I have rambled a bit. I hope this is even the least bit helpful! Be strong and courageous!

     
  36. 36 Anonymous

    More words for wives, from a wife…

    Addictions are fueled by shame. The antidote for shame is grace. Until I understood that I am just as much a sinner as my husband—yeah, my sin may look different, and seem smaller in my opinion, but sin is sin from God’s perspective—and until I understood that God’s grace really is for me and it covers all of my yuckiness, I wasn’t able to offer grace to my husband.

    Brennan Manning says, “We are all unentitled but privileged beggars at the door of God’s mercy.” I try to picture the two of us, standing outside God’s door, knocking and asking for our daily allotment. This helps me remember we are on level ground, and I have no justification for looking down on him.

    Brie, I agree with much of what you said, but I must disagree on one point. In some cases—when the husband has already faced up to his habit as sin, and has recognized that it’s harmful to you, then keeping your negative emotional response in check is good. But if he’s still trying to rationalize or minimalize his problem, then sheltering him from seeing how much it’s hurting you is enabling in the unhealthiest way. I’m not talking about unrestrained, vengeful anger. Letting your husband see your honest tears, and hearing how his sin affects your self-image is necessary, I think.

    About anger: You probably will have anger, but try to save the worst of it for a trusted counselor or exceptionally mature friend. Better yet, spill it before God. Lately, I have been meditating on God’s description of Himself: “Slow to anger; abounding in love; compassionate toward all He has made.”

    Anon2, you asked “Don’t you feel helpless and vulnerable?” Yes. Absolutely! And on my own, I am helpless and vulnerable. But I have found great comfort and strength in taking my helplessness to God, and asking for His help; taking my vulnerability to Him and asking Him to be my shield. And He is faithful!

     
  37. 37 anonymous 2

    thank you nathan, brie, and anonymous…for taking the time to answer.

    this is food for thoughts.

    i think the balance lies in putting what the three of you said, together.

    i often remind myself that it is God’s glory and not my heart alone, that i should be focusing on. Let me explain:

    to be honest, many times, when i see my closest one struggle and stumble, i tend to react emotionally because the first thing that i think of is my hurt emotions. Questions like: why is he struggling? Why can’t he be strong for me? It is until a certain point that i remember: God is the One we are really sinning against…

    looks like it is a far walk for me…to come to that point of freedom.

    i will be seeking God about this.

    i often wonder…is there not a man who doesn’t struggle in this area?

    is it not possible that a man can come to a point whereby
    ‘this’ (porno, lustful thoughts, sights) does not hold any attraction to a man anymore?

    Brie: i will do what you so graciously do. I will learn to do that.

    Truly: the heart of a matter is the matter of the heart.

    “Dear Almighty and Holy God:

    I pray that You will give grace to every godly man who seeks to please You. Deliver him from every temptation…and show the ways of escape. Renew his mind and keep it set on You. Send him help through his wife and closest friend, and deliver him from shame. Let himcome to a point where lust no longer holds any attraction to him. Let Your people go free in JESUS name!!!”

    May every man become a manifestation of Jesus Christ. May every one of us become a manifestation of God the Father to the men in our lives… =)

     
  38. 38 Matt Heerema

    Actually, I know a lot of men who don’t struggle with this. They simply give in.

    The reason I did the above message (and the followup this coming Friday) was to challenge men to START struggling with this, rather than taking a passive duck and cover approach.

    I have to believe that it is possible to come to a point where porn holds no attraction and lust is easily defeated. This will definitely be a manifestation of God’s power, and not of the discipline or will power or character of a man…

     
  39. 39 db

    I’m saddened by a lot of the comments in this entry. I want to state a few things, and I hope my comments are not removed because they don’t agree with most of what has been said here:

    (1) Calling The Bible “objective” is a bit silly. It’s not objective. It’s subjective. Calling it objective presents it as fact which, while you might agree with it or believe in it, it is not fact.

    (2) I’m saddened by the fact that you think that looking at an attractive person is a sin. The idea that Nathan’s wife tells him to “look down” if they’re nearing a billboard with an attractive photo on it saddens me more than most things. You are humans. You are not lusting, you are finding things visually attractive. If you think God has a purpose for everything, than clearly he gave you this ability to appreciate things for their beauty and design, and you’re wasting that ability. And, I’m sorry, you are all spending too much time shielding yourselves from life.

    You want to be moral? Don’t look to The Bible for simple answers, look to simple common decency and logic. If you’re married, don’t cheat on your spouse out of respect for that person, not because God tells you to. You shouldn’t need God to be a good person.

    Looking at attractive people isn’t cheating on your spouse, and it isn’t a sin.

     
  40. 40 Tobi

    I have a lot of things I would like to write here, but this would go to far. Despite this, I do not want to annoy you with my bad english…

    Db, I really hope that your comment is not removed! The things you state—and indirectly ask—are too important to be removed without being commented!

    You write that it would be silly to call the Bible objective. I understand your point of view, because there are only a few (or hopefully a lot of) people, who call the Bible objective. Many others do not. As it seems, there are different thruths, whereas the Bible is only one of many. In other words, you state that there are many relative truths but no absolute truth.

    As christians, we believe that there is only one truth and that this truth is revealed to us by the Bible and the person Jesus Christ. These two are God’s revelation of truth. There is—of course—no way to empirically prove this point; believe it or not…

    There are several points which I could bring forth to show that the possibility of one truth—as revealed in the Bible—is existent. But this would go too far. So please see these words as a hypothetical basement for my further words.

    If we accept that the Bible tells the truth, we believe that all men are sinners—not because each of us is sinning permanently, but because of our nature: sin is a part of human life (e.g. Rom 3, 23). Our sins are just indicators for this fact. And if you said that you have never sinned, you would lie—at least if you base your definition of sin on the Bible (e.g. telling a lie is a sin). Ergo, the single deeds are not so important as you might think. Far more important is the fact that we are sinners in the depths of our hearts—the deeds are only indicators. There is no hope for mankind, because God says that He will judge each man after death (Hebr 9, 27) and that each sinner—i.e. each man—will be damned to eternal death (“hell”): Rom 6, 23.

    So, no hope for us—if there was not Jesus Christ. He died for our sins and therefore paid the price to save us (e.g. Joh 5, 24). Everyone who believes that this is true will be saved (Joh 3, 16). If you read these words attentively, you would have recognized that our redemption has nothing to do with our deeds.

    Ok, this were the “basics”; now I can proceed with your statements. It is very important that you understand, that our deeds have nothing to do with our redemption. As christians, we are filled with the Holy Spirit who will “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I [Jesus Christ] have said unto you” (Joh 14, 26). He will also remember us that God has given sexuality to us within specifically boundaries. You wrote that it would be immoral to cheat on one’s wife. This is such a boundary. There are other boundaries as well, but these are not important here…

    God made men and women and He created both of them to be beautiful and attractive. He created sexuality as well and it would be wrong to say that looking at attractive women is wrong.

    But: we are all sinners (remember?) and therefore you have the attitude to pervert all of God’s gifts. Sometimes, we do not only look at attractive women and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, but we think about how it would be to have sex with this women. It is very difficult for me to explain this point in english, but I hope, you see that these are two totally different points of view.

    On one side, God wants us to enjoy the beauty of His creation. He does not want us to shield ourselves from life and to deny the beauty of His creation. On the other side, God does not want us to break His law—as written in the Bible. And because He knows of our attitude to pervert things, He warns us of looking at women “the wrong way”. So, there are several christians who know that they would fall in sin when they look at specifical pictures or similar things. So, they are cautious and do not look at things that would tempt them. I do not see, why this should be wrong or silly.

    One last point: christians are not trying to be moral. And above all, they are not trying to be moral in a humanistic sense. Christians are trying to obey God. Is this a crime?

    Ok, I hope my words are clear enough for you to follow. Please feel free to ask further questions!

     
  41. 41 Ryan

    Wow, Toby. Thank you for saying all that. Exceptionally well said.

     
  42. 42 Ryan

    And your English is great by the way. Better than most Americans. :)

     
  43. 43 Tobi

    Thanks, Ryan. :-)

     
  44. 44 Jim

    Ok just wanna make 2 important points. First why are you quoting what percentage of men mastrubate, the fact you seem to have these statistics handy is in itself disturbing. And mastrubation is a part of life, go ask a theripist about it. Second point is that yes there is alot of porn online, but you should live and let live. Also understand that because there is so many profitable porn sites we pay lower hosting fees since they are usally charged a higher fee for hosting such content.

     
  45. 45 Tobi

    @Jim

    1. You just state that “masturbation is a part of life” without geving any evidence. Hence, I do not take this statement for serious. What is more, I know several people—including myself—in whose life masturbation does not play any role…

    2. You claim that we “should live and let live”. I think that you did not get the point of the article and the comments. It is the wish of (at least some) christians to live without pornography and without masturbation. We did not prohibit pornography or masturbation nor force anyone to live in a way which he does not want. What is wrong about this? You are the one that does not want to let us live our way. Or did I misunderstand your post?

    3. Your argument that we all here benefit from pornography is really poor, sorry. I can not believe that you were serious when bringing forth this argument.

     
  46. 46 Nathan Logan

    Jim, thank for you comments and your point of view. I can definitely understand where you are coming from, as I think that most people in today’s culture have a similar perspective. However, my article was not really intended for that audience. As I said in the article:

    Just remember that all of these resources are useless or meaningless without a heart centered on Christ’s glory and motivated out of love for Him.

    The article really was directed towards Christians who are struggling with this issue and need resources to help them.

    I’m very glad that it reached a wider audience, though. Sexual immorality (along with any other sin) is really just a symptom of a deeper problem – a heart problem. The book of Romans tells us that because we have sinned against a God who is holy, we cannot abide with Him – we have earned eternal punishment. All have sinned and all are destined for Hell. BUT…God sent His son Jesus to bear that unspeakably painful penalty for those who would accept His gift. The penalty still must be exercised in full – either against you personally or against Christ on your behalf. God’s rich mercy and love was poured out so that we might be close to Him again – it’s an amazing gift.

    So focus on that issue before you do on this one (which is minor compared to the “eternal weight of glory”). And thanks for commenting – I assume the anticipated backlash made it difficult to do so.

     
  47. 47 Webmonger

    Thanks for this article. I have written a small article on my blog and linked to yours in the hope it will give it more reach on the web. This topic is something that is so vital for us to take on.

    Thanks for your honesty as well. It is great to hear the views of the wifes as well so thank you for your input and your graciousness.

    Keep on towards the goal!

     

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