Perry Emerick – Mesa Campus Pastor
There are certain words in our culture that we just don’t like to say. Some of those are words we are not supposed to say, like curse words and such. Often we will find words that are similar and used in the same way, but aren’t the REAL bad words. We use words like “shoot” or “freakin” or “OMG” as a substitute.
But I’m not talking about the bad words we avoid saying. I’m talking about the words that just flat out make us uncomfortable because of what they represent or the subject matter they lead to. Words represent ideas, experiences, people, pain, trauma, guilt, shame, and so much more, and often we just struggle or avoid having to use them. However, there are times when we need to say the words themselves, and we just can’t seem to bring ourselves to do it, so we find an alternate way of saying it. For me the classic is “H – E – double hockey sticks.”
This last week, we hosted on the Mesa Campus of Central a special edited screening of a documentary entitled, “Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly” by director and producer Justin Hunt. The film tackles the physiological, relational, cultural, and developmental impact of pornography on individuals, families, and societies. The film has no provocative images, and we felt it wise to remove a few of those certain words that are in the public version that people can view online for the sake of our church venue and for people to feel more comfortable attending.
However, what I am sensing is that people are not as concerned about specific bad words in the film as much as they are with the subject word of the film: PORN. It is a very uncomfortable word. Just reading it likely makes you a little uncomfortable. It is loaded with judgment, condemnation, guilt, shame, excitement, curiosity, and lots of discomfort. Yet while so many of us avoid the word and the subject, it continues to wreak havoc on individuals, marriages, families, churches, and whole communities. The statistics are sobering.
So what is the point? Don’t let your discomfort with the word prevent you from engaging in honest discussion about the dangers. Use an alternative way of saying it. As Justin Hunt noted, it’s just “corn” with a “P.” Whatever works for you to comfortably say it. The thing that fuels the spread of pornography, especially with kids (but really with anyone), is the inability to talk openly and honestly about it – the dangers, the impact, the curiosity, the beauty and the blessing of sex designed for marriage, etc. To put it more simply,
Don’t shame it; name it, and address it through the lens of God’s Word.
John 10:10 shares the words of Jesus who said,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Pornography is a tool of the thief. It’s a tool that has the power to steal and kill and destroy individuals, families and communities. It seems enticing for a moment, but ultimately it is destructive…and so often leads to greater and greater depths of despair and destructive behavior.
But here’s the thing. Jesus came that they (you and I) may have life, and have it to the full. Full life is not found in Porn. Full life is not found in hiding my sinful life. The journey to full life begins when we surrender our hidden, sinful, shame-filled life to Jesus, who took care of that on the cross. And we turn toward Jesus, inviting him to live in us and strengthen us for the journey out of pornography. There are amazing stories of people who profess their experience of a supernatural deliverance from the urges and addiction to pornography, and I don’t dispute God’s ability to do so. But what I have found to be far more common is that Jesus desires that we invite Him to live in us, and he begins to slowly transform us as we actively pursue him, commit, and submit ourselves to a supportive and accountable healing community. For some it may even require individual professional counseling to deal with past trauma and other issues fueling the desire to use porn.
The question I will leave with you is this: What is abundant life worth to you? I realize that for those stuck in it, it seems hopeless. For those impacted by it, it may seem hopeless. However, there is life after porn. If Jesus can come back from the dead, then he also has the power to bring people destroyed by porn back as well. There is hope in Jesus.Click here for the photo credit on this post