The Porn War

usedwomanI’ve blogged about lust and porn before, but I thought I’d put a few more thoughts down here.

You should think about the porn war like any other war as having both defensive and offensive aspects. Defensive warfare is not a winning tactic, but it is a necessary tactic. And usually, when the Spirit has sacked a man, and he comes to his senses, repents, and wants to get out the prison cell of lust and pornography, the defensive angle has to be emphasized first. You need to get real accountability (pastor, parent, wife, godly roommate), change jobs, stop traveling so much, throw away your computer, put Covenant Eyes on your smart phone, cut off your hand or eye causing you to sin (Mt. 5:28-30). Jesus prescribes amputation, so don’t expect this to be very fun. This should be done right away while the Spirit is still burning within you. After about two weeks, the chances of you wanting to do anything drastic fall dramatically. But you should basically imagine your lust as a wild beast. You need to think about killing the damn thing, and that means you need to be your own worst enemy. Imagine the worst about your self. What are you likely to do in your weakest moment? Then cut that off. Pluck it out. Move out. Quit your job. Throw away your phone. Sounds crazy, but if it doesn’t look crazy, I don’t think you can say you’re actually obeying Jesus.

But the real problem is in your heart, in your mind, in the way you think about women, the way you think about sex and love. So after you slammed all the doors shut, padlocked them, run barbed wire around the tops of the fences, and dumped a bunch of broken glass around every entrance and exit, you need to do some hard thinking and praying about your heart and mind. Here’s a list to get you started:

1. God made women in His own image. Women are people. They are human beings. They are beloved daughters of God. He made them. He loves them. He values them. Do you think of women as God’s daughters? Do you recognize that they all belong to Him? They are His? And they are daughters, mothers, sisters, and friends of other people. They are real people. And this does not cease to be true when they are photographed or filmed. When you see a woman on the cover of a magazine do you remember that God made her? That she has an eternal soul, a story, a family, loves, hopes, dreams? Think about your own mother, sister, or daughter.

2. God made women, and their beauty is their glory. God created them to be lovely, attractive, glorious. That’s their God-given glory, their God-given duty. They do this in their words, their actions, their appearance, their creativity, the way they adorn places and people and events with grace. Do you resent this? Do you think there’s something wrong about this? Sometimes men fall into lust because they think there’s a design flaw in the system, that God goofed when He made women lovely. Get over yourself, chump. Open your eyes and give thanks for the beauty of the feminine. Sometimes one of the best ways of killing lust is just accepting the glorious but simple fact that God made women beautiful and then recognizing the fact if you’re really blessed, God will give you one (if He hasn’t already) and all the others aren’t yours.

3. Lots of guys think like the evolutionists are right. They think they have this animal instinct super charged with hormones that needs to just get muzzled and straight-jacketed until they can be properly unleashed in marriage. But this is false. If you’re thinking like this, you’re preparing to use and abuse your current/future wife. While there is certainly a physical/chemical element to this, men are not actually animals. Sin drives men to act in beast-like ways (see above), but this is not how you were created to live. To live like an animal is to become less of a man not more of one. The man who goes to a whore shrivels up like a crust of bread (Prov. 6:26). Do you think of your sex drive as a generic force to be held in check? Or do you think of it as a God-given desire to have a wife? God invented sex to be like a sacrament in marriage, an enactment of the love, commitment, loyalty, transparency, joy, friendship, and fruitfulness found in marriage. That’s what that desire is for. It reminds you that it’s not good to be alone. It should drive you to find that companion, that friend, to become more human by sharing life together.

4. Every woman immodestly displayed on magazines, in movies, in internet pixels is being exploited, used, and abused. Pornography is socially accepted gang rape. Playboy pinups, swimsuit calendars, and the like are mistreatment of someone’s daughter, mother, sister. Women were not made to be used for a couple of minutes and then forgotten. Women were not made to be dishonored like that. I don’t care what her face seems to be saying. I don’t care how much she got paid. I don’t care that she did it “willingly.” It doesn’t matter what sins she committed in the process. Prostitutes get trapped in the system like that. They can’t find other work. They are addicted to drugs and alcohol. They have manipulative pimps. There are spoken and unspoken threats. They have no where else to go. They have been enslaved with lies about themselves and the world. When you see a picture of a woman stripped of her modesty, you are seeing a woman stripped of her honor, a woman defaced, a woman hated, a woman abused. When you walk by the airport terminal news stands, when you flip through the channels, when you are checking out at the grocery store, what could be arousing about seeing a woman, made in the image of God, strung up for the world to see? Far from seeing an image of illicit beauty, you are actually witnessing a brutal crime. Yes, God made her body. It is beautiful. But the fact that a bunch of cruel men are making millions off her abuse should make you sick to your stomach, give you deep sympathy for her plight. If you saw a woman being gang raped in a back alley, would you stop and masturbate? Why is it any different when Sports Illustrated does it?

5. God made men to protect and sacrifice and honor women, children, and all who are weak. God created women to be honored and protected by their men. You were not made to abuse women, to crush them, and join with their oppressors. These porn models are orphans and widows. They have lost or been abandoned by their fathers, brothers, and husbands. Will you see them as victims of abuse or will you join in with their abusers? God is the God of the orphan and the widow, the Defender of those in distress. He will hear their cries for mercy. He will rise up to their defense, and He will judge the wicked men who did this to them. Whose side are you on? Will you stand up and defend them? Or do you keep going back to the scene of the crime for another quick thrill?

6. As shown here, many women who end up in the porn industry were victims of the sex trade. They were kidnapped, raped, drugged, and broken down until they gave into their abusers. When you support this industry with your money, time, or pleasure, you are supporting more than just a perverse business venture. You’re supporting a widespread, underground slave operation. But you were made for freedom, and you were made to be a freedom fighter. You were made to be a man.

More could be said, but hopefully this gets you started. It’s not enough just to build a fortress of defense, you need to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You need to learn to see the world the way God does.

  1. Michael Jones April 30

    Nice job here Toby. Definitely a good one to give to young men. The thought that you are not meant to live like an animal is well said.

  2. Jules April 30

    I find this article hard to read. A simple fact, women struggle with porn. I’ve read article after article that only addresses males. You probably have some very important things to say. They are probably valid things but for a female who has struggled with porn. It’s disheartening to read yet another article completely structured toward males.

    I had no resources and felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. I thought and felt I was the only one.
    The church and Christians need to address both sexes on the subject not simply leave women in the dust…

  3. Mother Hubbard May 1

    I just wanted to say a hearty “thank you” for this article. With the problem so entrenched in our culture and within the Church, it is sad that this is not talked about or dealt with , more often. As, a Christian wife and Mother it can be overwhelming to fight, not the temptation to see porn , but to view oneself in the light of it. Many women in the Church have been affected by this and come from abuse, and sadly the Church is not a place of healing. Thank you for speaking up on this issue.

  4. matthew n. petersen May 1

    Reading the Song of Songs repeatedly may be a good way of fighting the lessons about how to treat women.

  5. J. Greene May 2

    I understand the main point, but there are a few things about this article I take issue with. First of all it’s a little ridiculous to say that if you don’t look and feel crazy you aren’t doing God’s will. I think God equipped us all with logic and reason and we should use it not ignore it like so many Christians feel obligated to do. Secondly, I really take offense at your supposition that being a sports illustrated swim suit model is somehow akin to gang rape in a back alley. What??? I’m sure a girl who had actually been gang raped would take extreme offense at that comparison. I’m guessing you may have read about those poor girls who were abused beaten and gang raped to death in India? The fact that you say being paid and pampered and sat in a bathing suit in front of a camera is no different is an insult to those women.

  6. Dillon May 3

    This article is ridiculous. “socially acceptable gang rape”. You are seriously out of your mind and so caught up in your own views on the subject of what is holy you are literally answering for the women that are in the porn industry. Let them be the ones who say they have fallen victim and not you. Im sure if you interviewed many of them, most would say they enjoy what they do and not because their “pimps” were manipulative. I agree that porn may not be a good thing but this article takes to the extreme like nobody’s business. Stop being so high and mighty and so fucking judgmental and learn to have a more open mind. SOME of what you are saying might apply to SOME of the people in that industry but to condemn everyone and everything about porn is just stupid and ignorant. I hope this article gets read by many people and they get to see how judgemental of a person you really are. Instead of writing blogs about how satan is inside porn, try and talk to someone who is in the porn industry and let them be the ones who answer what you ask. Your on the outside looking in and its too easy for you to play “God”. I dont know who you are but you have lost my respect and your credibility as a writing for an post so beyond ridicolous its almost hard to believe. People like you are honestly what turns me off about Christianity and the institution of religion in general.

  7. Jim May 6

    This kind of judgment on men is very thoughtless. Men and women both have real struggles, real feelings, try to do the right thing, and have guilt when they mess up. I personally grew up under this sort of insane legalism and suffered endlessly with guilt and fear from perfectly normal part of becoming an adult. As an adult I still struggle with irrational guilt sometimes for weeks over silly stuff like saying something I don’t mean, or thinking something I “shouldn’t” think because of nonsense like this being shoved down my throat at a young age. What this world needs is more forgiveness, grace, love, and tolerance. I’m sick of being judged constantly by people who think they know how “bad” something is. Write a post next time on helping men and women lead fuller lives by investing time in something like family, friends, or community service (instead of wasting time looking at porn) – instead of using unrealistic, and emotional language to judge and scare people. You really want someone to cut off their hand if they do something wrong? Sounds a lot like this girl I knew who cut herself because of guilt and hatred for herself. Love and counseling might be a more useful strategy…

  8. Myrna May 14

    Hmmm….”Dillon” – Why do I get the feeling you are an avid porn user who deep down was made to feel guilty by this article, so rather than own up to the problem you have and the problem porn truly is, you just lash out, insult, go vitriolic. a give flimsy excuses for the monster that is the porn industry. Porn is filthy, disgusting and wrong. Always. Hands down. To defend it or any aspect of it is actually just “stupid and ignorant”. Maybe the author is a bit heavy-handed here and there, but his point is to bring about respect and better treatment of women. The porn industry is about using and exploiting them, whether these women realize or acknowledge that’s what’s being done to them. Oh and I love the “you’re so judgmental it’s crazy!” attitude you get with the author, when your comment shows you doing the exact same thing to him. Seriously, can you say hypocrite? Oh and don’t tell someone to have an “open mind” when you’re so closed minded that an opinion differing from yours – ie: the author’s – sends you into a cuss-filled, insulting tempter tantrum. Again: HYPOCRITE.

  9. I LOVE this article. I love how you said it as it is. No filters, no skirting around the problem. I love all your points, especially 2. I feel even after years of having two men with an addiction to porn and the most recent really having recovery from it, this 2 is a very deep deep issue. This belief is what most in society have not truly grasped. If this was the focus, for men to see women as this and women to see ourselves as this porn would disappear! I appreciate that you have this understanding and know it is a belief only those that really have gotten it. We facilitate a Pornography addiction recovery program in Carlsbad and have seen on many levels and with many people that all your saying is the TRUTH. There is absolute truth and you are speaking it. So speak on and know there are many of us out there loving the support of inspired men and women. Thank you

  10. Max May 23

    Great article. Completely free of any superlative thought!

  11. Samuel May 30

    Good article.
    Very blunt, and understandably harsh! Having been addicted to porn for 10 years, and only recently recovered by the power of Jesus alone! I strongly recommend this course, since it is far longer than any other I’ve seen, and focuses solely and repeatedly on the glory of Christ, and His restoration of the sinful heart & soul. http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com

  12. Dave June 27

    “If it doesn’t look crazy I don’t think you can say you’re actually obeying Jesus.” That mindset right there is why so many young people are leaving the church in droves these days.

  13. Elijah September 30

    Thank you Myrna. Well said.

  14. Jim June 14

    Any thoughts on those struggling with Homosexual porn?

  15. Nathan June 15

    Excellent. I love how you portray woman. I think if women begin to really understand how they are made in the image of God, as you mention here, they will find the answer to women looking at porn.

  16. Daniel Spratt June 15

    Thanks for the great article, Pastor Toby. Keep up the great work. A good CrossPolitic episode?

  17. Jerold Arthaud June 25

    I thought the article addressed a widespread problem of hedonistic addiction and several helpful insights to assist in resolution of those proclivities. Consequently, I have shared this article with others as well. Thank you!

  18. Paul Killian August 25

    Thank you Toby! Grind godly rebuke into the bones, let the blood come out that Christ may come and heal the wounds.

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