Biblical Implications of Sexual Immorality

Look at the Biblical account of David’s pursuit of Bathsheeba (2nd Samuel 11). He was in complete denial and blindness. Nathan had to use a parable to wake him up.

Denial takes many forms and can be a part of many people’s perceptions. There was a young couple living with each other. They could not understand what the problem was in their relationship. She had a subscriber only pornographic webcam service she provided her viewers and would perform as a stripper.  He loved having more people in their sexual experiences besides just his live-in girlfriend. There is more to the story, but I need to go no further. The denial is completely clear here. We can see it, but both of them could not. They could not see why they felt depressed, empty, love less and hopeless?

Whatever shape it takes, denial is always a technique for rationalizing destructive behavior. And it always postpones necessary treatment.

Steps to Combating Teen Porn Use

The first step toward a child’s freedom is to confront the denial, help him face the truth and together establish a positive path forward from a Biblical perspective. With truth and grace, explain some of the following talking points involving child and teen pornography use:

1. Pornography is not just naked pictures. 

  • It can start with an underwear advertisement on television or the newspaper.  It can also begin with a friend telling sexual jokes, a sexual fantasy novel, peers talking about sex, a sexually suggestive video online or through a scene in a movie. Read Proverbs together.  Proverbs 31 is about being married to wisdom.  Look at the pronoun shift in Proverbs 31:23 – that is the person who marries wisdom. 

2. God has given us a brain that can change and be changed.

  • Pornography literally rewires the brain, desensitizing him and altering his personality. God clearly wants us to experience pleasure. Humans are wired to respond to pleasure. In fact, reward pathway experiences become deeply etched in the tissues of the brain. Read Genesis 1-2. God wants great things for us!   

3. Choices create direction.

  • It’s nearly impossible to erase sexually explicit images from the brain. It wants more and more.  I tell my kids and clients that you cannot press “erase” in your brain.  The pleasure and reward circuitry in your brain responds to what you choose to look at.  It relies on you being the decision-maker of what you take in and provides the experience in response to it. Read about the life of Solomon, Ruth, Samson and Daniel.  Choices made a lot of difference in how their stories played out.     

4. Freedom is lost, not gained when pornography is present.

  • A porn user begins to lose his first freedom—the ability to think—because the chemical brain reactions take over. The person becomes consumed by needing to consume and becomes hyper focused on themselves and their need for pleasure or the next “hit.”  Pornography does not make you more grown up, it actually stunts maturity. 

5. True steadfast love takes training, practice and a grateful heart.

  • Porn addiction diminishes the likelihood of successful relationships, including a future healthy marriage. It removes the motivation toward the steadfast love God models and then explains in 1st Corinthians 13

6. Pornography creates demands and thirst. 

  • Porn users develop a perception that sex is a “right” rather than an opportunity for bonding in love. The result: ingratitude for the gift of sex and endless dissatisfaction, comparisons, and demands. Review Proverbs, especially Proverbs 1–8. God says in Romans 12:9, “Let love be genuine…”.  Pornography use creates a mind shift in which users become consumers of people instead of developing genuine, sincere relationships.

What If That Was Your Sister?

The young man I mentioned earlier that only responded to attractive women had an ongoing sexual hunger, wanted to get married someday, loved his sister and mom, had been a Christian for several years and wanted freedom from the grip of pornography and a good relationship with God. As the deception of pornography became his reality, he increasingly pushed away God and people. He felt increasingly depressed.

What opened his eyes? The thought of others viewing his mother or sister in a similar way.

He made the decision to love and care for women by learning to have self-control.  We discussed how men and women ironically find the best expression of themselves when they learn to master self-control. This is what God has been telling us all along. He wants us to be free to be ourselves, so he continually tells us to be sober minded and self-controlled. This young man wanted to find love like many other young men and women entangled in sexual perversion, sin and fantasy, but was having difficulty managing his own sexual desires. Self-control is difficult. It takes practice. It takes pursuing a goal. As a person practices, self-control becomes more natural and common place.

This young man worked toward genuinely caring about women he spoke with. As he pursued an honest relationship with others and God, pornography became less and less alluring and more sickening to him. In the times when he isolated himself from God and people, he felt vulnerable to the lure of pornography, moody and depressed. God repeatedly tells us that we can find true peace through a relationship with Him and reassurance through his statues and commandments (Psalm 119).

Intervention is a Family Affair

Healing begins when your child decides to grapple with his or her pornography use and the reason he or she pursued it in the first place.  An angry confrontation doesn’t help. This is about trying to understand what they were looking for or what they are struggling with. Are they having difficulty managing arousal, stress, depression, curiosity or peer pressure?  What are they running away from? What feeling are they trying to numb?

Change, growth and healing are most effective and lasting when they include contributions from a trusted support system, which could include family, friends, pastors and/or counselors.

Let your child know you love him or her and want freedom for him or her. You want him or her to experience the depths and fullness of attachment, love and connection. A strong faith would mean involvement with peers and their own personal Spiritual growth through prayer and Scripture reading.  You can model a strong faith and relationship with God. I like to apply the following phrase in my own life and recommend it to parents I work with as we consider faith, “I act as if I believe… about God”  

What kinds of activities do you do as a family? Do you spend time together? Are you able to put distractions aside and go for hikes, play board games together, have meals together, laugh together and conquer chores around the house together? I recommend using the Five Love Languages information to learn more about the unique ways we take in and communicate love with one another.

Check Your Emotions Before You Talk

In talking with your child, remember freedom from pornography’s slavery is your objective. You may be filled with anger and fear, but letting it interfere with the conversation will make things worse. Some parents explode and some go toward extreme reactions. In combating teen porn use, the tendency is to go to defense. But the best goal now is to have open conversations about healthy sexuality and why it’s important. This is a conversation you’ll want to prepare for, and as you do, keep these things in mind:

Dos and Don’ts of Combating Teen Porn Use

Do

  • Ask questions to understand what is going on and what has driven the desire for this.
  • Assure your child that you are on their side and want the very best for them, which includes filters on the devices and limits. 
  • Talk openly about healthy sexuality and set a vision toward great sex in marriage.
  • Pray with them for their freedom to love and have clear vision to be able to find and love a spouse, if that is in their future.
  • Help them see that this is only one component of three major parts of a loving relationship. The three components are commitment, passion and intimacy. Passion is usually the first and easiest.
  • Help your child understand that God created attraction for relationship and not consumption. One gives life and the other takes life.

Don’t

  • Panic – God does amazing work in people’s brokenness and imperfections. He does amazing things with a contrite heart. This could be an amazing turning point and opportunity for growth and maturity. 
  • Lecture – This is about understanding and guidance. The goal is relationship growth with your child. It is time to pursue conversations about healthy and satisfying sexuality, relationship, empathy, compassion and connection.
  • Shame – Sometimes out of fear, we want to go to statistics and scare tactics to make a person stop. Your child needs reassurance, limits, someone that will understand and listen and guidance. They need to know this is not about control or being a bad person. There is much more at stake. Not knowing love at its depths causes us to miss out on God. The more pornography becomes a reality, the more God becomes an illusion and afterthought.  
  • Raise your voice or scream– Anger does not help. It creates more isolation and disconnection. Yelling creates more stress during a time your child needs connection, direction, understanding and clarity. Help them see with empathy. This will first take modeling on your part. They are empty and performing for money, survival or acceptance. 

Final Thoughts on Responses to Child or Teen Porn Use

Read Isaiah 26 together and discuss what it means to have perfect peace. Is there peacefulness in the world of pornography? Why did Job in Job 33 make a covenant with his eyes?  There wasn’t internet then, so what does that tell us about the wiring of our minds? 

Passion and attraction are an important component of a romantic love, but can be destroyed over time by the illusion and distraction of pornography making commitment one of the only things that may keep a marriage together. Marriage gets its fuel from having all three – passion, commitment and intimacy working on all cylinders with God at the core.   

I consistently hear people in their 20s tell me that they are not getting married or delaying getting married out of fear of getting a divorce. They live together and assume it will keep them from being hurt. This is the consumer mindset culture has created.  Let me test drive it and see if I like it. The economy of love requires the sweat and risk of commitment, the intentionality and humility in intimacy mixed with the focused, faithful and directed passion. That is the recipe your child can work towards to find deep connection.



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