This has not been an easy week for me because the discussion of pornography is everywhere. Porn was a thorn in our marriage for awhile.
The founder of Playboy, the magazine that made the objectification of the female form more publicly acceptable, passed away a few days ago. In the banter this week considering his legacy, I read a statement that made me shake my head. Porn killed Playboy.
So, that means Playboy put itself out of business? The premise of this “porn-killed-Playboy” argument is that Playboy is an artistic rendering of nude female models. As hardcore pornography became more acceptable, Playboy lost its edge. And while I can intellectually understand this argument, the bottom line is Playboy created lustful thoughts. Art or not, it was pornography. So, yeah, Playboy did put itself out of business because apparently they weren’t aware of the science (I know, the science wasn’t even available until recently). Lust requires bigger and more diverse hits to keep the brain chemicals of arousal alive.
The definition of pornography
While on the subject of artistic renderings, a reader asked my definition of pornography because I do acknowledge that the male and female forms are beautiful.
He asked, “What is pornography specifically? And how do you define pornography for yourself? I am asking these questions, not to play “devil’s advocate”, but more specifically for this reason: It is impossible to avoid what one can’t define. I cannot think of anything else in Christian circles that is more universally condemned but so poorly defined.”
I’ve neglected answering this question for emotional reasons. Frankly, pornography picks away a scab that lets emotions bleed out. It brings up memories of betrayal. I feel empathy for wives who have endured the trauma of porn discovery. I feel agony for men and women in the clutches of sex slavery. I feel heartsick for men and women who are in the clutches of drug addiction and degrade their bodies in a transaction for drugs. And yes, I feel much compassion for the porn addict, as well!
But, that’s what sin does. It hurts a lot of people, not just those personally involved.
So, why do we need to define pornography? Needing a definition just seems to me that you want to put your toe all the way up to the very edge of the line.
Legally, we do need definitions. That word, “legal,” however, bothers me. Legalism is more interested in rules than your heart (or motivations). Although we are to live out our lives within the boundary of God’s design and will, if our hearts are overflowing with the Holy Spirit, we will not even care what the definition of pornography is. Because, with the Holy Spirit overflowing in our hearts, we will be repelled from it. We won’t want to be in the same room with it or in the same football stadium with it. We will want to be far away from anything that grieves God, even if it is just a hint of grief.
“Stay away from every kind of evil,” 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
When minds are full of beautiful, convicting, and life-giving scripture and hearts are full of the Holy Spirit, it is easy to stay away from anything that resembles sin, let alone sexual immorality.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,” John 16:7-8.
To paraphrase Michael John Cusick, “sin-management” is not how you conquer lust. Sin management is white-knuckling it by sheer willpower. Sin-management worries about the definition of pornography. Conquering lust is about opening the tap of the Holy Spirit to flood within you.
How do you open that tap and flood your life with the Holy Spirit? Pray for the Holy Spirit to overflow from the wellspring of living water within your soul. You pray daily for God to help you surrender your life to him. You read scripture daily. You listen to Christian music the majority of the time. You fill your life with Christ. There are a lot of other things you should do if you are struggling with porn. You can find those out by reading, Surfing for God, by Michael John Cusick.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” Romans 15:13.
Now, I want to say something to the ladies who may have been caught up in a lifestyle similar to the one Playboy touted.
I have spoken with ladies who have worked at provocative places and they have an edge to them, daring me to judge them. I will not judge. (I want to love you into the family. I want to walk with you as you find full, whole, and complete inner healing through Jesus.)
Our conversations were confusing because in one breath they were justifying and in the other breath they were asking forgiveness. Working in that industry is so very confusing! Everyone in the business says it’s great! we need sexual liberation! Yet, in your heart you question that. It is OK to question. It is good and right for you to know that your sexuality was given to you by God. That’s why there is an inner fight between the world and what God says. Quit fighting against that nagging little conscience. Your conscience is right. It is good and right that you are valued for your soul and who you are.
I will walk with you if you want me to. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is hope and freedom waiting.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” Romans 8:1.