By Allen White
NOTE – Today’s devotional presents a disturbing image. If you are highly sensitive, you might want to pass on this one.
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:29-30
Joe crept down the stairs into the darkness. They were waiting for him – lined up in various stages of undress. Who would he be with? The variety was like ordering from a catalog. What they promised was exciting and temporary. He knew that he would leave ashamed, but the intensity he felt in this moment erased any thought of shame.
He wasn’t limited to one. They all smiled at him. Not one of them appeared to have had a bad day or were the least bit tired. They didn’t complain about him. They were eager. Much different than the situation he faced upstairs. They were available to him. This was as convenient as picking an apple from a tree.
As midnight came and went, Joe knew he needed to get to bed. Tomorrow was a work day. With the click of a mouse, he quickly deleted his history and prayed for God to forgive him. He would never do this again, just like he had promised last night and the night before and who knows how many nights before that.
After a trip to the bathroom, Joe slid into bed next to his wife. She whispered, “Is everything okay? What time is it?”
He whispered back, “Good night.”
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).
As Jim Smith said in yesterday’s post [LINK], Jesus wasn’t talking about noticing someone. The first look doesn’t cross the line. Jesus was referring to the second look. If the second look crosses the line into lust, then pornography plunges the looker into the deep end.
Pornography creates a sensation, an escape, and false intimacy. It’s a temporary fix that in this day and age is constantly available. It lures both men and women, young and old.
I’ve heard men complain, “But, it’s not a real person.” Real or imagined, photographed or photoshopped, sin doesn’t take place inside someone else. Sin happens inside of us. Spiritually and emotionally, it’s the same thing.
After it’s all said and done, the user is left feeling empty and ashamed. Pleas to God for forgiveness and promises to abstain might last a few days or hours, but it won’t be long until the user is right back there. No one leaves pornography by himself. No one.
In recovery, folks say, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.” Porn is the sickest of the secrets.
In today’s verse, Jesus says that the sin is serious enough that the removal of eyes and hands might be preferred to continuing to sin. Jesus didn’t mean this literally, but he is challenging all of us to remove anything that might cause us to stumble. Blindness won’t cure porn addiction. People can lust after the images already in their heads. They don’t go away. But, an internet filter can certainly keep future images away from you and your family.
Ministries like Faithfuleyes.org [LINK] offer software for filtering and accountability. The filter keeps pornographic or violent images away from both your eyes and your children’s. The accountability software sends every website you surf to an accountability partner of your choosing. This should be someone who loves you, but is not impressed with you. If you don’t have that person in your life, ask God to send you one.
So, is pornography adultery?
The dictionary defines adultery as “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.” Jesus redefined adultery to include lust. Lust is “intense sexual desire or appetite.” Jesus’ definition of adultery, then, is “intense sexual desire between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.” You’d be better off losing body parts than going down that road.
CAUTION – If you struggle with pornography, after reading today’s devotional, it will be more tempting than ever. Find an excuse to stay away from your computer tonight. Spend time with your spouse or with a friend. Don’t face this alone.
If you’re ready to get out of porn for good, Celebrate Recovery is a great resource: http://www.celebraterecovery.com/cr-groups
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