I’m talking about the issue of pornography. And since it reared its ugly head, too close for comfort, I have been learning the statistics, both from published research, as well as personal accounts, of just how prevalent it is, and how devastating it is to those impacted by it, whether they stumble on it or deliberately search for it.
Pornography exploits people. It distorts the beauty of who we are created to be and how we are designed to relate to one another. It creates addictions that people cannot step away from, triggering the same areas of the brain as alcohol and drugs. Pornography lies about the source of true beauty. It causes some people to sneak around, lie, and live in shame. It causes others to boast, manipulate, or become aggressive. It destroys relationships, joy, dreams, and livelihoods. It perpetuates and encourages bullying, self-harm, and abuse. It is easily accessible to people of all ages, male and female, and of all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
We should all be concerned! We need look no farther than the smartphone in our child’s, spouse’s, parent’s, sibling’s, student’s, co-worker’s, or neighbor’s—or our own hand to wonder how close pornography can lurk. It is no longer a problem that affects only “someone else.” We cannot say with certainty, “Not in my home,” or, “Not in my family,” or, “Not in my workplace,” or, “Not in my classroom,” or even, “Not in my church!”
We need to be informed. We need to be holding each other accountable. We need to have controls in place. But don’t take my word for it…I encourage you to check this web site for information about WRAP (White Ribbon Against Pornography) week, which is taking place right now. Ask questions. Share information. And pray!
I recently asked someone, who is a student at a local Christian college, how many of the young men he has met in the first month of college are struggling or have struggled with pornography. His response was, “Four out of five.” I read one statistic that said 33 percent of clergy have visited a sexually explicit website at some point. (Covenant Eyes). Another statistic indicated that people are typically first exposed to pornography between the ages of 11 and 14.
Yup, it’s that big a problem!
Are you talking about this in your home, school, workplace, and place of worship? Who will you ask this week? Who will you educate this week? What measures will you take in the next few days to protect yourself and your family? How can you wrap around your community in the days and weeks ahead to share truth and bring healing to those whose lives have been impacted by pornography?
If you’re involved in pornography yourself, I hope you’ll realize that there is a better way. Internet and magazine images are not about love, fulfillment, or true intimacy, and will not bring peace, joy, or truth. Talk to someone as the first step toward gaining freedom.
None of us walks this road alone. We are all part of a community, and communities are intended to help each other. Look for local resources, access supports, be there for each other, and if necessary, ditch the smart phones. Sometimes they’re not so smart, after all!