In this sinful, fallen world, porn is common. It is common outside the church; it is common inside the church. It is common among men; it is common among women. But it is never ok. Let’s talk in a way that’s truly biblical and calls sin what it is. Then, let’s help both men and women and point them to the gospel hope which is theirs if they are in Christ.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man (1 Corinthians 10:13, emphasis mine).
The verse above reminds us that as we face temptations, we do so as part of the fallen condition of sinful man. I’d like to think today about a common pattern of sin that is very prevalent in American culture, including the church. That sin is pornography.
Truly in today’s world, pornography is common beyond what our grandparents or great grandparents could have imagined. Go back just a few generations and pornography was challenging to find, since you had to have direct contact with someone who owned magazines or videos for you to look at. Today? Every computer, cell phone, and often video game consoles provide the opportunity for instant access to internet porn. Tim Challies provided some statistics at a glance in this April 2017 article, and the Covenant Eyes website statistics are shocking, with high percentages across many demographics and internet hits and money earned in the billions. My point in this post, however, is not to review the statistics but to share some important reminders and biblical encouragement with you.
One of the many dangers with sin that has become common, is our sinful hearts begin to justify our own sin by comparison. Ordinary is confused with acceptable. Normal is distorted into moral.
Porn Use and Men
Porn use among men is undeniably prevalent. This is probably not news to you. I know of a couple who sought biblical counseling with a presenting problem of the husband’s porn use. This was not shocking in and of itself; however, what was shocking to me was that the wife was more concerned about other issues. Why was she less concerned about the porn use than about her in-laws? She said that in her Christian high school, she was told that porn is very common among men, so it didn’t seem like such a big deal. Common? Yes! A big deal? Absolutely! And yet, our culture is becoming more and more accepting of this terrible sin which is impacting so many marriages (both current and future marriages). One of the statistics given in the Covenant Eyes report stated: “Teens and young adults aged 13-24 believe not recycling (56%) is worse than viewing pornography (32%).” This is tragic! Yes, porn use may be common, but it’s not ok! If we in the church believe it’s so common but that it’s no big deal, we may fall into one of these traps:
1. We may fail to teach young men and warn them about the ravages of porn. By the time we get around to talking with them, they might already be exposed beyond what we can imagine.
2. We may fail to call men to account for their “common” yet sinful sin. We thus miss the opportunity to minister grace and help a fellow brother in need.