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Why pornography is far from ‘victimless’ and how to quit using it

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

HOW PORNOGRAPHY AFFECTS CHRISTIAN LIFE

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I would like to take you to an interview today that Evangelical Focus did on pornography and sexual distortion. It was done with Glen Harrison. Dr. Harrison is a British psychiatrist and he’s also a Christian author. He says that pornography creates an illusion of control because it offers access to sexual stimulation so quickly and easily. He talks about the number of young people — I mean young, young people — who are now getting caught up in pornography and how it is distorting their whole view of sexuality.

DR. REEDER: This epidemic of pornography has produced not only distortion of God’s precious gift of sexuality, it has also produced anarchy. People will say that pornography is a “victimless crime.” Well, I would just have you go back to the month of December in 2017 when six of these porn stars took their lives in depression. There they were in their early 20s.

Also, look at what happens in marriages as, particularly, men are affected by this and what they then demand, and what they call for and how they begin to view their spouse. In the whole pornography industry, the person observed for stimulation then becomes objectified. They aren’t real people — they’re just something for one’s own pleasure. Then the objectivization of the spouse takes place after people get addicted to these activities.

Another dynamic is you’re a victim because these things that are viewed are then cemented into one’s life through the most powerful experience that is known to humanity, reaching far beyond cocaine and heroin.

And then, these things, they are actually designed to take you from sexual distortion to sexual depravity into sexual anarchy and the victimless crimes? Oh, no, not by any means. All you have to do is observe the #MeToo movement. Those who have made these assaults upon women, you will find a life of pornography.

You will also see something else that is documented and that is #ThemToo, referring to the fact that there is a significant number of those who are caught up in the addiction of pornography that then carry out their distortions of sexuality upon the mentally incapable, upon those who are disabled — disabled physically, disabled mentally and those who are dissipated toward the end of their life — and that story that is not covered by the media has proportions that are absolutely staggering.

No, this is not a victimless crime and this is not a matter of just personal pleasure that one does in the privacy of their life. And, of course, the greatest victims of all are those whose lives are destroyed to provide this “adult entertainment.” There is probably no term that is more inaccurate than to call pornography “adult entertainment.” There’s nothing adult about it.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, we have literally thousands of individuals that listen to this podcast. No doubt, there are some believers that are caught up in pornography and they’re saying to themselves, “Pastor Reeder, I hear you. I can’t get out of it.” Harry, what would you say to that individual?

DR. REEDER: Oh, yes you can. Oh, yes you can. Believe me, I know you can. How do you do it? Well, first of all, name it for what it is: it’s sin. It is adultery in the heart and it is even worse than that because of its objectivization of the other gender.

HOW TO REPENT FOR THE SIN

Name it and ask God to forgive you from it. He will. He can remove the shame and the guilt and erase it away and Jesus died to pay for that sin.

Then, secondly, ask God for the grace to turn from that sin. Don’t try to go into the, “Well, I’m just going to kind of wean myself off of it.” Oh, no, no. Just pluck out right eyes and cut off right hands. We’re ready to walk away from this. We are absolutely ready to do it and the Bible tells us that, the addictions of life, God can set us free from.

Then you believe to build in your life a new way of life. Get rid of your secret life — everyone in pornography has a secret life of places they go, computers they visit, sites they go to. Get rid of all of that.

ACCOUNTABILITY MATTERS

Next, get accountability in your life, starting with your spouse if you’re married. Get accountability. If you’re not married, get your parents involved or get some close friends involved in your life. Take the steps that you need to bring accountability in your life.

You say, “Well, Pastor, I’m accountable to the Lord in God’s grace.” Great, but it’s fine to be accountable to other people. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another. The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

I’ve got three guys that have helped me through all of my issues of life. We have been holding each other accountable and praying for each other for 34 years. I need that band of brothers and so do you need them.

Men and women need to get some other men and women in their life. Men, get some men in your life. Women, get some women in your life that are mature and spiritual and can hold you accountable while they pray for you.

HOW TO BREAK THE CHAINS OF PORNOGRAPHY

And then what do you do? You create something bigger in your life. Ultimately, pornography is idolatry. It is saying to God, “You’re not enough.” It is making a god of sexual gratification and stimulation. You’re willing to put this ahead of God, before God, and eradicate God: idolatry.

You are willing to even destroy other people’s lives — and you do. You’re willing to destroy the blessing of sexual courtship, intimacy and romance within the context of marriage. You’ve got to say no to that. “This is idolatry.”

That means get a big God in your life. Know who God is. Know what Jesus has done in your life. Then, get big relationships in your life. The enemy of pornography is meaningful relationships. I asked God to not only give me a nausea for pornography, but I ask God to give me a love for my wife that was so filling there was no room anywhere else in my life. And, when you falter — notice what I said “when you falter” because, to some degree, you’re going to falter — then immediately, right then, go to that accountability person, go to the Lord in prayer, ask God to forgive you.

BUILDING UP A FULFILLING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND SPOUSE

Rebuild the fences in your life, rebuild the stepping stones in your life and get your heart and your mind back fixed on Jesus because that’s the issue. The issue was idolatry — for that moment, you decided that idol was going to bring meaning to your life and you found out it didn’t, here comes the shame and the guilt but now we’re back to Jesus and forgiveness.

Now we’re back to the Spirit of God, fill me. Back to the Word of God, fill me. Back to meaningful relationships, fill me. And then, if you’re married, begin to develop the blessings to true sexuality.

That is a glorious, regular, giving — not taking, giving — relationship between a man and a woman in a marriage bed that is honorable as you enter into sexuality, not to take, but to give and that the body of the husband belongs to his wife and the body of the wife belongs to her husband and you do not defraud one another except for spiritual times of prayer and fasting.

When the blessing of intimacy occurs, there is no turning away of the face and you’re able to look at one another in the eyes because God gave you a heart that gave your body to that person instead of taking the body of that person for yourself.

And, if you’re not yet married, you begin to prepare yourself, “God, prepare me to be someone who understands the right role of Biblical sexuality within marriage and not to allow idolatry of sexuality. Sexual gratification outside of marriage brings destruction and brings despair and nothing gratifying.

Idolatry never works, but what does work is the love of God and the love of God that is filling to overflowing. And, in the overflowing, it matures you so that you’re ready for a true intimacy within the boundaries of a marriage and the covenantal blessings of sexuality.

(Resource for help overcoming pornography: Harvest Ministries.)

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

(Image: File)