This is an article that I don’t really want to write. I don’t even want to think about it, and perhaps that is the whole problem. Nobody does! If I were to phrase this as a riddle it would be: What do millions of people think about and explore every day, but never in the context of sin? This is a sin that flies under the radar. It is hidden, personal, and therefore, taboo to discuss or admit guilt. And those who do admit to participation in this sin relegate it to a ‘victimless crime’ that hurts no one. “Everybody does it.” Really? We are instructed in scripture to guard our gates. That means everything we touch, consume, hear, speak and see is a gateway to our body, heart and mind: in other words, our temple. There are many avenues I could address with regard to guarding our gates, but this article will deal with pornography.
Did Yeshua have anything to say on this topic?
SO, WHAT HAS THIS GOT TO DO WITH HEBREW ROOTS?
A few days ago, I was trying to look up something on my phone through the internet. My phone is small, I was a passenger in a moving car, and my screen was difficult to read. So, these being the conditions, I accidentally touched the wrong thing on a side-bar. Instead of finding the definition of the term I was looking up, I wound up with a hard-core pornography site on my phone. Not only was it disgusting and absolutely opposite from what I was seeking to find, it turned itself into my ‘home’ page! When I tried to sweep it away it opened yet another porn site! The second one was even worse as it was targeted specifically to TEENS! To say I was horrified is an understatement.
I was not only horrified, I was angry. Here were images that I didn’t want to see, from a site I didn’t seek out and that I stumbled on unintentionally, and that was designed in such a way that it was difficult to remove! The predatory nature of this incident was just horrible!
I just wanted it gone! I didn’t want to look at it while I tried to remove it either! I couldn’t help but think how easy it must be for our children to accidentally find this kind of trash! And, when I saw the linked one was billed as the ‘best Teen site in HD’ I almost lost it.
WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT OUR SOCIETY?
Today the porn industry brings in $12 Billion dollars a year (these figures are from 2004, so these figures have exploded exponentially). The porn industry is sustained, in part, by sex trafficking (slavery and kidnapping that are condemned in Torah)! It is largely a part of our society that gets little overt attention. On the contrary, it is mostly hidden in the cloak of darkness. It is the dirty little secret that everyone knows about and few condemn lest they be called a prude or intolerant.
Not many feminists decry the exploitation and objectification of women (or men for that matter) into purely sexual objects. There is little discussion from the clergy about this either. This is probably a reflection of the wide-spread nature of pornography. Users cross all ages, ethnic, economic, and social lines, and it is just as prevalent within the religious community as otherwise.
“So how did we get here? Only 40 years ago Elvis Presley made rock history with a few well-placed pelvic thrusts, and Marilyn Monroe shocked our sexual sensibilities with modest bathing suits and demure glances. Now Carmen Electra’s stripper workouts are a staple of household aerobics, and 12 percent of the worldwide web is devoted to pornographic sites. Pornography is in our living rooms, on our computers and television screens, and buried deep in the experiences of our spouses, children, and siblings. And, by all accounts, it’s here to stay.” – See more at: http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo2/2coleman.php#sthash.5ud3l02j.dpuf”
This article is not going to give you all the facts and figures. For that I recommend reading the article on Salvo sited above for more information. To say the statistics are horrifying is an understatement. The most awful is this: “The average child is 11 years old at the time of his or her first exposure. Twenty percent of all children have been sexually solicited on the web; more than 90 percent of 8 to 16-year-olds have viewed pornography online, and 80 percent of 15 to 17-year-olds have had multiple exposures to hardcore pornography.”
Yeshua said, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Mat 18:6 )
So, even if we don’t participate in this industry by indulging in it, we are complicit when we sweep it under the rug and say nothing!
ISN’T THIS JUST A PERSONAL THING?
The effects on society are profound. It is not just a personal vice or a harmless addiction. It exploits children, women and men, and irreparably damages the most basic foundations of our society: fidelity, morality and the sanctity of marriage. It glorifies sex without relationship, and to those addicted by this, there is an ever-expanding need for ever more deviant behaviors to watch to achieve the desired sense of excitement. It destroys marriages, relationships, childhood innocence, distorts sexual expectation and satisfaction between partners, and feeds the already damaged among us to transform fantasies into horrific acts of child molestation, rape and murder.
Side effects of our acceptance and participation in pornography are wide-spread. We are all reaping the fields of the seed sown by this world-wide and insidious preoccupation with sex, and much of that is deviant sex at that. Pornography diminishes any sense of modesty. It contributes to the sexualization of our children. We are all desensitized to its filthiness as it is commonplace in films which allude to or depict infidelity, meaningless sex, homosexuality, sado-masochism and worse. It is creeping into our television programs as well. R-rated movies are equivalent to what used to be labeled as X-rated in the past.
The slippery slope is well greased, and one wonders where the bottom can be found.
WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?
The 7th Commandment is the prohibition against adultery.
Exo 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Yeshua made it clear as he explained the heart connection in Torah. He said, “You know the commandment which says, “Be faithful in marriage. But I tell you that if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts.” (Mat 5:27-28 )
Pornography meets the requirement of transgressing this instruction. It is sin.
BUT, WHAT IF I AM UNMARRIED?! HOW CAN IT BE ADULTERY THEN?
Paul spoke about the works of the flesh.
God wants you to be holy, so don’t be immoral in matters of sex.
Respect and honor your wife.
Don’t be a slave of your desires or live like people who don’t know God.
You must not cheat any of the Lord’s followers in matters of sex. Remember, we warned you that he punishes everyone who does such things.
God didn’t choose you to be filthy, but to be pure.
So if you don’t obey these rules, you are not really disobeying us. You are disobeying God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1Th 4:3-8)
Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, (Gal 5:19)
Don’t be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don’t be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don’t be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.
God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things. (Col 3:5-6)
And our Father said this through his prophet, Isaiah:
I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig’s flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. (Isa 65:2-5)
WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Eph 5:11)
The Council in Jerusalem addressed sexual matters that are found in Leviticus 17 & 18. See the article Letter to the Gentiles for more detail. If we wish to be in covenant with our Creator, we must clean our house!
Scripture is clear. We are not to be double-minded. Water that is pure and undefiled cannot exist with that which is not. Darkness has no part in Light. The addiction and acceptance of pornography is against everything that Torah teaches us.
It must grieve the Father that we choose to pollute our temple by letting this inside our gates. YHVH is all about life, honor and the marriage covenant he designed. Anything that diminishes that has to be examined and expunged from our life. Will the Spirit of Holiness abide with filth and worldly lusts?
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Heb 13:4)
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1Co 6:18-21)
Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil. (Jas 1:27)
Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Php 4:8 and Rom13:14)