By Guest Blogger Fred Jacoby
Once in a while I take a week to point you to other voices who speak truth. One of the ways I do this is by having a guest blogger. I’ve known Fred Jacoby for several years. He has been a great friend and mentor, and I have enjoyed his ministry – Foundations Christian Counseling Services – which he founded and directs. The people of Cornerstone have received training at several of his conferences. We also have partnered with them in counseling needs. I hope you enjoy his article below. For more articles by Fred and his team, go to foundchristcounsel.worpress.com.
One of the greatest plagues in the world today is not physical disease, but one that affects body, soul, heart, and mind. The plague of pornography has impacted millions of lives across the globe. There are many who believe that pornography is not a big deal, arguing that it is normal, natural, healthy, and possibly helpful. While I would disagree with this, the problems that arise within people and relationships from viewing it increase exponentially as it becomes an addiction. Viewing pornography hin,ers a deeper and personal relationship with God and others.
I have given five reasons why I believe this is the case. You can find the first three here. The final two are listed below.
4. Cultivates Dishonesty – “That’s something I need to hide.”
If we are hiding something, we intrinsically know we are doing something wrong. We are keeping it in the dark because we know that if it came to the light, we would be exposed and have to deal with the guilt and shame we may already feel. If you’re married, your spouse will feel betrayed. If you’re a child or young adult, you’d fear that parents or others would look down upon you and see you as sick. These are a few reasons many choose to stay in the darkness and keep it hidden. To bring sin into the light takes courage, and being honest with yourself is the first step.
Before we lie to others, we typically lie to ourselves. Being honest with ourselves can often be scary and painful. When we justify, minimize, or explain away our behaviors, we lie to ourselves and believe we are better than we actually are. To be honest with ourselves means that we realize we are not as good as we think, that we are liars, adulterers, and idolaters, and we can’t deal with that.
Except we can. This is why the Gospel is so important for us, because our sin is the reason God sent His Son for us. To live in the light not only means to deal with the truth of our sinful state (that we are in darkness), but also to live in the grace of our Lord. This means Christ took our shame and guilt so that we can live under His favor as free children of God. It is to understand that our worth is not dependent upon what we have done, but upon what Christ has done for us. Our identity is not defined by our sinful desires, but by faith in Christ and His resurrection. We can acknowledge that we are idolaters and beyond cure because our sins don’t have the final word about us, Jesus does.
Dishonesty and living in darkness are characteristics of those who are following the deceiver. As believers and followers of Christ, we are called to live in the light, because He is the light of the world.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12 (ESV)
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46.
5. Conceives Self-Centeredness – “That’s something I want for me.”
Viewing pornography is all about me. It’s about satisfying one’s own desires for personal pleasure. It is bypassing the relationship with God (and spouse, if married), therefore making a declaration that I can handle my emotions and desires apart from God. It places ourselves as not only the ones who have a problem, but also as the savior who can solve our own problems.
Additionally, the consistent use of pornography trains the heart and mind to view one’s partner or people of the opposite sex as an ends to a means. They exist to serve you and give you pleasure. Other people are reduced in value from being a person with their own desires and worth, to being seen as sexual objects who are essentially used for personal satisfaction. While they are created in the Image of God and have inherent worth in God’s eyes, their worth is reduced to whether or not they will perform for you. And in fantasies, they always perform for you – often causing unrealistic expectations in reality.
How do we know if we are objectifying and devaluing others? Here’s five signs: 1) Anger or rage when a partner rejects sexual advances or doesn’t do what you want; 2) Eyes are constantly glancing or fixated on people’s private parts; 3) Fantasies of others doing what you want occupy the mind; 4) Your thoughts about others mainly involve what they can do for you (not what you can do for them); 5) You have a double-standard where you can do what you want (or spend money on what you desire) but they cannot get what they desire (perhaps you tell them we don’t have the money, but you just bought a TV).
Pornography viewing is all about the me, myself, and I. Some may argue that they view it to get aroused and add spice to their marriage and is therefore “for” the other person or “for” the marriage rather than being selfish. However I believe this is a self-deception. Porn viewing may feel like it is needed because of past viewing and “pornographic tolerance” – that is, it takes more to be aroused because one is already accustomed to lesser stimuli. If a person were to cut pornography viewing altogether, arousal will come back with lesser visual stimuli and a heart devoted to God and spouse.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Tim 3:1-5).
While this list does not remain a comprehensive list of how pornography viewing hinders our relationships with God and others, my hope is that it may lead some on the path towards healing. Though pornography is known as a behavioral addiction, changing behaviors will not cause a lasting change. It is only when our hearts are changed that the viewing of pornography will also change.
Our hearts need to be changed from discontent to contentedness; from desiring to fulfill sinful pleasure to desiring to honor God; from being deceived or deceiving ourselves to being honest; from being dependent on ourselves or pornography to being dependent on God; and from being self-centered to being other-focused.
Ultimately we cannot change ourselves. Such heart work can only be done by God when we repent and submit our hearts, will, and desires to Him. Then we partner with the Spirit’s work in us and go all out nuclear war against this sin, bringing our deeds of darkness into the light through confession and accountability. As we pursue Him and purity, He changes us from the inside out.
If you would like counseling for this struggle, marriage, or any other reason, please contact us and you will be in touch with one of our counselors!
I also recommend Sexual Sanity for Men by David White and Sexual Sanity for Women, by Ellen Dykas.
Fred Jacoby, MA
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons atwww.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP oniTunes orGoogleplay.