Panelists shared their thoughts on self-esteem, pornography and suicide during a Worldview Collective session on Monday, Feb. 27, to better equip students to battle against these temptations so prevalent in this generation.
Greg Mazak, Jared Linebach, Rachel Dahlhausen and Sharyn Robertson led the discussion moderated by Renton Rathbun, who started by stating that people may use pornography or consider suicide as means to escape their unmeet expectations: “In a sinful way [I] value myself by making me forget how things are going,” Rathbun said to summarize the mindset driving those actions.
Both topics — pornography and suicide — were evaluated through both a cinematic and pastoral perspective, bringing specific applications for men and women. From Hollywood’s intentional pursuit of portraying what is morally wrong as right to the Christians’ pursuit of hope in Christ, the panelists advised on navigating a world immersed in confusion, transmitted through specific agendas on both social media and television.
Offering hope and showing intentional love to those suffering the loss of a loved one who committed suicide, or those who consider doing so, is an effective way for Christians to help those around them. “A hopeful person never is taking his or her own life; it is when we’re hopeless,” Mazak said. He also mentioned Psalm 42 as a great passage that provides guidance in placing one’s sight on Christ instead of on depression. Similarly, Dahlhausen said that another way to provide help to those dealing with suicidal thoughts is to guide them to ponder on the blessings they have received.
On the other hand, when addressing the topic of pornography, the panelists made clear that it can go beyond the more typical visual media, as it can also include literature and other art forms. Linebach defined the term as “a connection with someone or something that brings me some level of emotional or physical arousal.” The speakers recommended that people using pornography seek accountability at church and research the content of films before watching them to help avoid temptation.
Similarly, the panelists expanded on the concept of self-esteem and its two common interpretations. A self-esteem that leads people to love themselves is not a biblical value. On the contrary, according to Matthew 22, a Christ-centered love seeks to care for others and meet their needs as one would do for oneself, Mazak said. Rathbun agreed and said that we should care for ourselves since we are part of God’s creation. “There’s a sense in which part of esteeming yourself in the right way is to care for yourself with the motivation that you’re caring for something made in God’s image,” Rathbun said.
As he concluded the panel, Rathbun encouraged the audience by pointing to the Christian’s victory in Christ, even when dealing with temptation. “Temptation is a thing that happens; it comes, you deal with it, and you move on…. There is hope,” Rathbun said.
By the end of the panel, the Center for Biblical Worldview offered the audience several resources that expand on the topics discussed.