12% of the websites in internet are pornographic. 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic. The average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11. 34% of internet users have experienced unwanted exposure to porn either through pop up ads, misdirected links or emails. 70% of men aged 18-24 visit porn sites in a typical month. 1 in 3 porn viewers are women. This is the statistics. (Source: onlineschools.org) It is likely that the numbers may be much more than these.
I believe it is high time, we need to discuss and educate our younger generation with the right information, before someone else spoils their young minds with perverted information. Therefore, with much prayer I decided to write on this. Let’s begin.
Hey! By the way,
Did Jesus really tell not to watch pornography?
Good that you asked. My intention is not to answer this question, but I will attempt to explain a verse from the Bible, where Jesus speaks something which is very foundation to this. You can read that below and answer it for yourselves. (Don’t forget to post your answer as comments below)
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery”. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart Matt 5: 27, 28
So, what has this to do with pornography?
Well, we may begin to define certain required terms to analyse this statement of Jesus, so that the following discussion may have more clarity.
What is pornography?
Pornography=Porn + graph.
Porn comes from the Greek word pornē which means prostitution, graph comes from the word graphein which means to write or record or to illustrate. Hence pornography can be defined as the illustration of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal, which may be presented in a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photographs, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games. [Wiki]
Therefore Pornography is an
- Illustration (in the form of text, image, video or audio)
- Of sex content
- Created for the purpose of arousal (sexual excitement)
or in other words, any graphical material created for the sole intention of causing sexual arousal can be called a pornographic content.
So, Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said,
everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart
Note the words, ‘looks at a woman’, ‘with lustful intent’, ‘already committed adultery’, ‘in his heart‘
- Adultery The term adultery refers to sexual acts between a married person and someone who is not that person’s spouse [Wiki]
- Lust – means to have a strong sexual desire for someone [Oxford] (lust in this context can also be sexual fantasy)
- Sexual fantasy is a mental image or pattern of thought that stirs a person’s sexuality and can create or enhance sexual arousal
Let’s come back to the verse
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery”. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt 5: 27, 28
This was part of the first sermon of Jesus, which is also known as the Sermon on the Mount.
Here, Jesus gives the general principle regarding adultery, which is applicable to all people, everywhere irrespective of culture, nationality, religion, language, gender or society. (That is one thing interesting about the Bible. It speaks about basic principles which can be applied to all walks of life. As generations goes by, technology advances, new words are added to language vocabulary, but the Word of God still remains unchangeable)
Jesus points out the root cause of adultery. Whoever looks at a woman with a lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Yes, adultery is a sin. The sin has entered the heart the moment one determines to seek it out. The moment a man even looks at a woman for that purpose, adultery has already polluted the heart. (This principle is applicable to both genders, whatever combinations it could be)
Adultery can be committed by single or married people. A single man having sex with a married woman is still committing adultery. Thus a single man lusting after a married woman is still guilty of adultery. It would be just as wrong for women to lust after a married man. It would be just as wrong for a man to lust after a single woman. It would be just as wrong for a man to lust after another man or for a woman to lust after another woman.
God looks at the intentions of the heart. Whatever we say or do originates from the heart.
That is why Jesus said,
For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person Matt 15: 19,20
Also in Proverbs, it says,
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov 4:23
From these verses, can we not derive that watching pornography tempts one to committing adultery in heart?
Whats wrong in watching pornography without causing any harm to others? Is God against human sexuality? Is God trying to give a hard commandment? There might a whole lot of similar questions in our minds.
Many times, we think of God’s commandments as lot of DO’S and DONT’S. But we need to go beyond that understanding and meditate on His real intention behind all His commandments. That’s when we know the loving nature of God, and that is what motivates us to obey God.
God is not against sex
God has created all humans as sexual beings. Sexual desire in itself is not wrong. Infact it was God’s idea to institute sex within marriage for procreation, enjoyment and to keep the husband and wife bonded for an entire lifetime. But pornography distorts this very purpose and spoils the intimate relationships by creating unrealistic expectations and replacing love with self-gratification.
When God gives a commandment, there should be a good reason behind it. Think of it this way – If you find your 10 year old kid watching pornography on the mobile, how would you respond? Definitely you will never want him to watch that, right? Because you know that it will spoil the young mind. Now, think from God’s perspective as a Father! When Father God says not to sexually fantasize a woman (who is not his spouse), wouldn’t He also have a solid reason for the same?
I have found few reasons on why we should never entertain pornography.
Reason#1 It is unethical to watch somebody else’s private moments
Ok, let me put it this way. During those days, there were no camera or advanced capturing systems. Hence, there were no blue films or videos of such content. Therefore the only way one can watch a sex scene is to be physically present in the room where the prostitution (porne) is going on, right? Is it not shameful to be physically present in a room where the prostitution is going on?
But, today through the misuse of advanced technology, one is virtually being present there, while watching it. Based on the definition of porn, watching pornography is the same as watching prostitution.
What if that video was the recording of a forced sex, or a sexual abuse? What if it were the videos of innocent girls/women who were trafficked into commercial sex slavery? By watching those, are we not indirectly promoting this industry? Think from the victim’s perspective.
Now, you may ask, how about porn stars, are they not willfully acting for pornographic stills/movies? What’s the harm in watching those?
When viewers increase, this demand increases, which paves way for a commercializing of such evil videos. So what I believe is this- if each one can take a personal ethical stand not to promote this, atleast we can prevent the spreading of this immorality to some extent.
Therefore, whatever video/image it is, if it is NOT ETHICAL to expose one’s private life, then it is also NOT ETHICAL to watch other’s as well. What do you say?
Reason#2 Loses natural sexual excitement in married life
God created sex to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage. Read the following verses
Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. Prov 5: 18
Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. Ecc 9: 9
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Heb 13:4
Therefore, sex is perfectly God’s plan and natural sexual desire is NOT wrong. Sex is not unholy or dirty in the sight of God as long as it is within the holy institution of marriage.
Now, when a person watches pornography, his/her brain is sexually stimulated. Scientists say that, hormones are responsible for this process. These hormones have some effect on the brain. On continual watching, the brain may reach a stage where it gets stimulated only if more intense sexual content is fed to it. Once a person happens to watch porn it will have serious long lasting effects on brain. Therefore, scientists say that, being addicted to pornography, may result in losing natural interest towards the spouse, which may even end up in sexual abuse inside of marriage.
Therefore, when Jesus says not to look at a woman with lustful intent, was He also not trying to set a moral standard to preserve healthy sexual relationships?
Reason#3 ‘Look’ may quickly lead to ‘Lust’
If you are a guy, you may understand this better. Because it is said that men are more easily sexually stimulated by ‘sight’.
I have read this in another post,
Look once, you’re human; look twice, you’re a man; look three times, you just disrespected your wife. (XXXChurch.com)
There is a thin line between looking and lusting, therefore keep the two separate. The fact that an attractive woman has caught your eye is as natural as the day is long. ‘Lusting’ however, is more of an actual craving, a coveting of something or a more voluntary thought process. The move from looking to lusting can be a very quick one, and will beat your conscience down with false guilt. (Covenant Eyes Blog) So it is a reminder to guard the heart by not giving a second or third look, which leaves less room for imagination.
This is what man of God named Job did
I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. Job 31:3
Those who love God, loves to keep their hearts pure. Job is one good example.
Don’t lust in your heart for her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyelashes. Prov 6:25
Looking is not sin, but lusting is! Jesus lived in this world as a young man and He never looked at a woman with a lustful intent. He proved that it was possible to live a pure life with the help of God.
Reason#4 We need not ‘go with the flow’
Even if the whole world promotes pornography, that doesn’t make it acceptable. We can challenge this generation, by taking a positive stand for this. But even if the whole world is against you, but God stands with you, you are still on the majority.
Noah was a man who lived before the flood, and showed a good example for us. (His story is recorded in the Book of Genesis)
This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Gen 6:9
Noah walked with God, in that evil generation. Therefore, God was much pleased with this man.
Just because one person takes a stand against pornography, doesn’t make any difference in this world. But one thing is guaranteed- you and your family may be saved.
Reason#5 It disqualifies us to train/teach others
Those addicted to pornography will be filled with guilt and shame. If we ourselves are addicted to it, how will help others to overcome this? If you are a leader of a society (a teacher, or a priest, or a pastor), how will you teach your followers?
If we do not take a stand against this evil, the moral system of this generation will go from bad to worse, which would adversely affect the coming generations. Therefore, when Jesus warns us about not lusting after a woman, was He not trying to build a society with good moral values?
Our society needs more teachers, leaders and parents who can teach good moral values to this society.
Reason#6 Will end up in Hell (No doubt about it)
This is scary, but it is the truth!
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matt 5: 28-30
Jesus continues to teach the consequence of adultery- whole body will be thrown into hell. Lustful thoughts eventually lead to sinful actions such as sexual abuse, rape etc. Therefore, we need to take utmost care to be careful with our thoughts.
So, when Jesus says, not to lust after women, He was trying to reveal the truth about its consequence. Ofcourse, we have the freedom to choose, but we should face its consequences as well.
This is what happened to Noah, and his generation (see the bold text below). And also a warning for us (see underlined text below)
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter 2 Peter 2: 4-6
Is there a way out?
Definitely yes. God is ever loving and merciful. He wants to help us.
Once a woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus. According to the rules of those days, such a woman should be stoned to death. But Jesus had mercy on her and forgave her, and told her not to sin again. (John 8)
How to overcome sexual temptations? Click here to read my previous post on this.
Do you think that Jesus would ask us to do something which is impossible for us? Never. Therefore, I believe, it is possible to keep one’s mind pure with the help of God.
Once, when Jesus was instructing on the moral standard of another similar issue, His disciples asked him how was that possible.
When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt 19: 25, 26
That means, with the help of God, it is possible. All we need to do is to stop justifying and to admit and confess the sin. And meditate the Word of God, so that the impure thoughts will be gradually replaced with good thoughts. This will help us overcome any challenge. The Word of God is God himself. So, the more ‘Word’ lives in our hearts, the more of ‘God’ will be in us.
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. Psalms 119:9
Say this prayer if you really mean it
Father, I understand that watching porn is sin. I admit it and want to get rid of it. Please help me and make my heart and mind pure. Help me to meditate your Word and keep my life pure. Help me to guard my heart and to keep my eyes pure. Thank you Jesus. Amen.
Now, what do you say? Did Jesus really tell not to watch pornography? Is it wrong to watch even once? Is it possible to watch pornography without lusting? Is it a sin to watch porn for education purpose? I am sure, you might have some thoughts to share. Please go ahead and drop a comment below.