Addicted to Pornography
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness…”
— Jesus, Sermon on the Mount
The eyes are a window into the soul. How we look at something determines how we interact with others and how we love. It is common knowledge in society and entertainment that men spend a lot of time looking at women. The stats tell us 96% of men have viewed pornography.
From Jesus’ teaching, this begs the question: If our eyes are consuming so much pornography, what do our souls look like? I am going to invite you into the soul of 18-year-old me; before I was actually a Christian, though I still professed Christ. This is raw and disturbing and is a harsh reality for most unsaved men and even men who claim to know Jesus. But whether you follow Jesus or not, we can’t keep pretending that pornography isn’t damaging our souls.
For me, pursuing women was a game. Every location was a different arena, a new challenge, a fresh selection. Women were objects to be evaluated, selected, and won.
Sounds bad, doesn’t it?
It gets worse.
Since I was seeking sexual fulfillment I was dehumanizing every woman that I was talking with. I pretended to care about their hopes, dreams, and desires to get what I wanted from them. When they would not give me the gratification I wanted, I would shun them in a fit of rage. I was like a child at a grocery store whose mom wouldn’t let him get the piece of candy he wanted. But when I got what I wanted, it was nothing more than another name to add to the list. A piece of candy consumed. Every woman was like another trophy to put on my mantle. I was proud to walk other men into the trophy room to show off just how many women I had “conquered”.
love and lust
I want to let you in on a little secret; most men who are like this are not the brutish uber-masculine he-men that they pretend to be. Inside I was an insecure kid, just looking for a girl to tell me that I was attractive. All I wanted was to be told that I was loved. My family told me they loved me all the time, but that wasn’t all that I needed.
Sadly, somewhere down the road, I reinterpreted love with sex. There was an enormous hole in my soul. I tried stuffing the hole with pornography and women. It was like I was trying to fill up a bucket that didn’t have a bottom. I was consumed with trying to find the next fix because all the sex and pornography left me feeling emptier than when I began. But I needed more and more of it in order to hide my emptiness.
More than my own damage, this false love left women deeply hurting behind me.
How did this happen?
I was raised in a Christian home where my mom and dad truly loved each other. Unfortunately, our sexualized society is shouting louder than the steadfast love of good parents. And the easy access to pornography in our culture had imprinted in my mind that sexual gratification is the same thing as love.
Then I encountered the unconditional love of Jesus Christ… and everything changed.
It was like switching sides in a war zone. I went from the offense of attacking, pillaging, and exploiting, to the defense of protecting, guarding, and fortifying. Jesus started teaching me about real value, not just culturally based value. Women were no longer objects to be collected, but people to be valued.
Love started to differentiate itself from sex. I started to see that sex by itself was nothing but a drug to get you high for a brief period of time, but left you feeling empty. True love is sacrifice. I found the source of true love which meant I no longer needed to steal it from other people.
A sudden switch and a long process
All of this change did not happen overnight, nor was it accomplished alone. It was hard to create lasting relationships with women, the very people that I had been objectifying for so long. It took other men coming alongside me, setting the example for how to view and treat women.
It also took a woman brave enough to become a close friend and show me that redemptive healing is possible. In that process, I learned how to love and care without sex anywhere in the picture.
It is a fight to look at women with love instead of lust.
a true man
A true man is not someone who can acquire whatever woman he looks at, but is someone who looks at a woman and sees her for who she truly is; a person who bears the image of God. A true man seeks to serve others and not to steal from them.
If you’re trapped in lust, I know what that’s like. If you’re a Christian who is still addicted to pornography, I’ve been there. The resources that Jesus died to give us go far beyond guilt — but they do require that you walk into the light.
“Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14
My soul was damaged in deep ways from pornography, but I’m learning to live in the light and Jesus is making me a new creation. How about you?
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