Pornography. This column just got awkward.
That word itself can bring out a nervous laugh, a slight blush or—more likely—awkward silence.
“Silence” is a word that too often describes the conversation about pornography.
Although its prevalence in our society is nearly epidemic, most people don’t seem to want to talk about this problem called pornography.
But that silence is understandable. After all, the whole subject is a little awkward.
It was awkward to tell my friend that my next column was about pornography.
And it is awkward to hear about someone struggling with pornography.
Right now, as I’m typing this article out in the library, it’s awkward to have people pass by. I’m tempted to cover my screen or explain why “pornography” keeps popping up in my paper.
There is this idea in our society, especially within conservative Christian circles, that to mention the topic of pornography is somehow unclean—the biggest taboo of them all.
When my brother Sam Dyke, a BJU senior, wore a shirt reading “Porn Kills Love,” he was criticized by multiple fellow students.
Although the message was clearly opposing pornography, these students said that to openly display that word was somehow in conflict with a Christian testimony.
So do we refrain from ever addressing or even acknowledging our society’s addiction to pornography?
For many teens and emerging adults, pornography is the only voice being heard: in the name of remaining decent, we have become silent while indecency itself screams at us.
More than just awkwardness, I think there’s another reason we’re not having this conversation. I think we’re afraid of the truth concerning the problem of pornography.
Because if we knew the truth, we’d have to acknowledge that sleazy men and sex offenders aren’t the only ones looking at pornography.
It may be our fathers, sisters, pastors or friends who are struggling. Pornography isn’t a far-off problem in society; it’s a problem in the home. And for many, it’s our struggle.
“Ignorance is bliss” has too often been the response to pornography for many Christians. But the price of ignorance is the loss of truth.
And for followers of Jesus, that’s too great a price to pay.
So what is the truth about pornography? The truth about pornography is that pornography is a liar.
Pornography lies to us about sex.
Pornography tells us that sex is something innately dirty, something to be covered up.
We stop seeing sex as a natural, legitimate part of life, and we make sex something to be ashamed of and hidden rather than a gift to be enjoyed in marriage.
Pornography lies to us about people.
By objectifying men and women, pornography strips people of their identity and worth. No longer are people made in the image of God, but they become objects to be valued only for the sum pleasure they can offer us.
When we see people like this, they become blurred and indistinct. Pornography has dehumanized them.
Pornography lies to us about love.
Love gives. Jesus said it was for love that the Father gave His Son, but pornography tells us we can love without giving.
Pornography takes relationship away from sex, the deepest expression of relationship. No longer is sex something to be shared and given but something to satisfy individual desires.
Love is shared between two people. Love can’t exist when our sexuality is solely about ourselves rather than about relationship.
It may seem that it’s just you and the screen, but pornography reaches much further than that.
Pornography damages our relationship with God by making us dissatisfied with God’s perfect design.
Pornography screams that God’s design for sex is incomplete and insufficient.
Ultimately, pornography is an offense against God, not just individuals.
So if you’re struggling, find the facts and find truth.
Begin to counter the lies that pornography is feeding you with the truth about love, relationships and identity.
Victory isn’t getting rid of lies: it’s replacing those lies with truth.
Find somebody—a pastor, a counselor, a professor—and talk to them. Be honest.
Pornography’s greatest weapons against us are isolation and silence.
Find accountability. You’re not struggling alone. We’re the church, and in Christ, we belong to each other. So let’s struggle together, and let’s find victory together.
Finally, be vocal in opposition. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said sunlight is the best disinfectant. This too is true about pornography. Bring pornography into the light. Expose its lies in light of truth.
I’m not an expert, and I don’t know much. But I know that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer. Even now He is actively redeeming sinners.
So for those of us who have believed pornography’s lies, let’s find redemption in His grace.