We Need To Talk About Porn Article

Every day we are exposed to many different levels of stimulus, busyness and activity. Recently, I visited Japan and was able to visit the famous Shibuya Crossing, in Tokyo. There were dazzling lights, and loud, lively sounds in every direction. It was a sensory overload.

Our lives can feel like that—the buzz of activity and active influences are all trying to steal, hold and grab our attention. What grabs our attention the most will always determine the direction we take, and choices we make.

Social media is one of the biggest influencers of our behaviour, because it consumes and fills our minds. It’s hard to escape these outside influences, that modify our behaviour, morals, beliefs and values. The imagery on these social platforms is becoming increasingly suggestive and sexualised, and is portrayed as the norm.

The reality is young people are being exposed to sexualised imagery at a higher rate than ever before. Research has found that New Zealanders’ usage of pornography is above the world average (although this drops whenever there is a rugby event on like the World Cup—interesting!).

 

A GOSPEL OF EMPOWERMENT

Porn is one of those topics that no one really likes to talk about but, the reality is that it’s out there.

It’s something that greatly affects people, their behaviours, their mental well-being and overall spiritual health. The truth is, we are all wired to have desires, but it’s crucial that we act on them in a way that is healthy for ourselves and our faith journey. We are privileged to be in relationship with the One who is far greater than even the most complex issues this world can throw at us.

The Christian faith experience is all about giving us a voice and purpose. Pornography works to silence and distract from that. Anything that takes your voice away is not in the interest of your discipleship journey. We follow a gospel of empowerment. Porn can not only disempower you, but also those who are involved in the material itself. By providing the interest or the need, we are then partakers in their oppression.

Like any young person who has grown up in the last 20 years, I’ve been exposed to my fair share of graphic material. I know from my own experience that porn has a controlling and detrimental influence on people’s behaviour, and how they treat and focus on other people. It takes us out of sync with where God calls us to be.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are some steps that I have found helpful, which I hope you, too, can take some encouragement from:

 

ONE: TALK ABOUT IT

I’m not perfect. I still have people that hold me to account and check in. It’s a lifetime journey of accountability and actively choosing not to seek out porn. I’ve found that one of the best ways to make sure something doesn’t control your behaviours and attitudes is to remove the secrecy; this takes away its power and hold over you. One of the best ways to help your body to recover from hurts and wounds, is to ensure that it’s kept out in the air and the sun. The longer we leave things in the dark the more it can control and affect you.

Remove the shame. Many other people have journeyed with this, and many of your peers probably have too—so don’t knock yourself! There’s no shame that is greater than the Father’s love for you.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).

Key Steps:

  • Speak it out. Find someone you can trust and talk about it. Share your struggles with them. Ask them to hold you accountable. You are not alone in this struggle. People are there for you. Most importantly, God is with you always.
  • Pray about it, and pray with others.

 

TWO: DON’T FEED IT

One day I was sitting in my room and I noticed a Nutri-Grain box (weird aye, who knows why?! #ironmangoals). On the side of the box it said ‘What are you feeding yourself on?’ It was quite a challenging question for me. What you put in has a direct relationship to what comes out.

I go to the gym quite regularly and what I eat greatly affects my performance. If I lived off lollies or Krispy Kremes alone it wouldn’t be good for me. The same goes for our spiritual lives and the things we consume—these will affect how healthy we are.

The more we fill our mind with different movies, music, foods and friendships the more our lives will reflect those influences. Our desire to seek out porn is fuelled by the other material we seek out. Suggestive or explicit TV shows, music or movies have a direct relationship to this. I’m at my best when I’m not filling my mind with things that distract me from where God wants me to be.

Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? Matthew 15:17.

Key Steps:

  • Be wary about what you are watching and spending your time doing. If this tempts you, cut down on this and it will help greatly in your struggle.
  • There is nothing wrong with seeking out professional help too, as this can be a really healthy and constructive way of determining what underlying issues could be drawing you
    to use porn.
  • If looking at porn on the internet is a big issue, there are plenty of filters available.
  • If you have a smart phone, get a friend to put restrictions on your website browsers (let them set the password so you don’t know it, and then can’t change it back!).

 

THREE: KNOW WHO YOU’RE MADE TO BE

Sexuality and spirituality go hand-in-hand. There’s a cohesive link. Our faith must inform and shape our sexual identity. On the other hand, our understanding of sexuality can shape and inform our faith. Remember that you are:

  • loved (Romans 8:37–9)
  • part of God’s whānau (1 John 3:1)
  • created with purpose (Psalm 139)
  • free from shame (Roman 8:1–2).

Finally, you have a future and a hope (Proverbs 23:18)—you’re on a journey and you’re not alone. Seek out others to help you navigate this area of your life. Keep at it—God has got this, and God’s got you.

 

Check out a female perspective in part two of 'We Need to Talk About Porn' here.