7 (Alternative) Reasons To Stop Looking At Porn.

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Much of religion is focused on what we shouldn’t do and why we shouldn’t do it. Undoubtedly there are things that we do to ourselves and others that cause pain and hurt. But is living in the constant fear of messing up and what that might mean, a good and free way of living for a Christian. There is a difference between not doing A so that B won’t happen (fear driven behavior) and choosing to live in another way, so that this will happen (Love driven behavior).

When it comes to addressing issues like porn addiction a more helpful approach is to move away from highlighting the shame that it might cause you and your community and instead focusing on how bringing it to light will bring life and joy and fullness instead.

Love always trumps shame.

So as a compliment to a recent blog post I read by Tim Challies on why you should stop looking at porn I want to offer some thoughts on how we should think about sin and 7 alternative reasons to not look at porn.

1. You’ll feel truly alive

I want to be very clear here to start off. If you are addicted to porn or if you are struggling with a sin that you can’t stop, this does not mean you aren’t saved. This is an idea that is very dangerous and is stopping many from seeking help and continuing to live in shame. I work with men who are addicted to porn who love God and who love their families and who are committed to breaking free. There is no doubt in my mind that they are loved and part of God’s family. You won’t go to hell because you look at porn.

Now we have that out of the way we can focus on the real life and fullness of life that can be yours today right now, when porn becomes a distant memory. When you stop looking at porn it’s amazing how your appreciation of yourself, your family, your community and God grow into something more beautiful than you could imagine. Small things bring great joy, your purpose grows and your cycnism will diminish. You’ll become more confident, you’ll become more loving and you’ll start to love yourself.

Which is my first reason. Do it for yourself. Because when you do and you get to experience life in the fullness that God intended, you’ll truly be alive.

2. You’ll naturally want to love others selflessly.

Porn addiction is naturally selfish in nature. So one of the best ways to become free from porn is to start becoming selfless. Sounds easy right? Well it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. When we stop looking at porn what happens is that we gradually start to see others as more important than ourselves. We replace one selfish addiction with another selfless addiction.

Because ultimately there is a distinction between not hurting someone and actively going out of your way to love them. Jesus didn’t just tell the woman at the well to live differently; He offered her a reason to do so. He offered her Himself.

You may not look at porn and the more people that don’t, the less demand there will be for porn stars to do the things they don’t want to or in some cases are forced to. But it’s not enough to just not hurt someone. We can sit back and be proud that we don’t look at porn but what happens if the whole porn industry comes crumbling down? What happens to the single mums who are just trying to make ends meet through porn?

Our responsibility as Christians is not just to not sin. It is to actively love everyone and this includes those who work in the porn industry. When we start to share the freedom and joy of Christ with them we’ll soon find that it is more addictive than any porn movie. We have bundles of energy that we often focus on things that end up draining us. Imagine what would happen if we focused it on others in healthy life affirming ways?

3. You’ll get to experience the beauty of church as family.

How porn is effecting our future leaders is an important question we need to address which is precisely the real problem that the church has. What are the current leaders doing to address porn? Where are we letting down those in our communities in how we speak about addiction? If Jesus came for the sick and not the healthy surely, we should be showing real initiative by offering safe places that men and women can open up and rid themselves of the shame that is holding them back.

I have seen this happen in x3groups where men have broken free from porn to lead others and show the same grace and love that I received in the midst of my battle with porn. These groups of guys that encourage and pick each other up are church.

So yeah, we need leaders but we also need men and women who know they are loved unconditionally. That should happen in church and thankfully help is available and you can choose to take it.

Because when you do, you will find church in the most unlikely of places.

4. You’ll have a new, thankful and exciting view of your family.

The damage that porn can cause is nowhere acutely felt than in a family. Marriages can be shattered by a few hours in front of porn. But, this is avoidable. Porn is not always just about porn and understanding what is going on behind it is often a big factor in whether freedom occurs or not. Relationships are difficult and sometimes we don’t like putting in the work. But anything that is worthwhile is worth working at.

Maybe we forget that and when it gets hard, we lose sight of what’s important and that can lead us down roads that we may later regret. So sometimes it’s important to take a step back and look at what you have and be thankful for that. That thankfulness can lead us to appreciate our family and appreciation can be a powerful realization that the other things we put our energies into, can’t fulfill us.

So I’m not going to say stop looking at porn, but take a step back and be thankful for what you do have. It’s in those moments that porn can lose it’s power.

And it’s in those moments that we can see our family in a way that is new, wonderful and exciting.

And temptation is no match for that.

5.   You have an important part to play in the world.

The good news that Jesus offers for everyone is urgent; yet most Christian descriptions of the good news are not urgent enough. When we view our mission as simply saving souls we miss a vital aspect of Jesus ministry on Earth which addressed the real social injustices and the real pain that many are experiencing on Earth right now.

Porn causes us to look inward and while this is important for healing, the result of being free from porn is that we begin to look at the world through generous eyes. How can we serve others rather than myself becomes a question we ask more and more? In fact, the irony is that once we do that we fall more in love with the world, God and in being excited and fully alive to partake in the restoration of all things that God has called us to. Which will bring you greater peace too.

There is no greater mission than this and the joy of being part of that, should be our motivation to stop looking at porn, not the fear of not being able to tell people where they will spend eternity.

6.  By being open about your own sin, you’ll greatly encourage someone with theirs.

For many inside and outside the church, the whole point of being a Christian is to live a pure and holy life. You’re saved, you’re given a list of things not to do and left to your own devices. But our witness to the rest of the world, is bigger than this. So many Christians have made being perfect the focus of their faith but we know that already we can’t be perfect. Our message becomes misconstrued to mean we can never show weakness or admit sin as a Christian. No wonder then that when a Pastor has a public failing everyone pounces on them. This idea of faith prevents us from being open and honest before we screw up, because we’re afraid of what others will say.

But when we allow our faith to be something that we get wrong sometimes and that’s ok; we’re more likely to be open about sin. The Prodigal Son is a perfect example of how we can be in a family and mess up but always be welcomed back. The Son thought like so many today, that his standing in his community was determined by his behavior. But it was determined on nothing but the love of his father.

Our witness is stronger when we are confident in admitting our faults in front of others and not when we try to hide them. Then and only then, will not looking at porn become possible and lasting.

7. You’ll experience the love of Christ in a new, freedom giving way.

When Jesus died for us, part of what happened is that we are now invited into a new experience of life where shame and guilt have no place. Yet, sometimes we try to guilt others into behaving. We use emotional blackmail to try and coerce someone into quitting their sin. But that simply creates a tension where we are constantly afraid of messing up in case God gets angry. We never truly know where we stand. Have we done enough to please God? Fear will only cause us to turn away from God; to a place where shame and guilt do have power, which will lead us back into porn.

Some people even believe that every time we sin we take part in recrucifying Jesus. Something that suggests that what He did on the cross wasn’t sufficient.

This though, is not what Jesus came to do. Jesus left us with no doubt where we stand with him. We are welcomed and loved. We are invited to approach without fear, in the same way that the children did before the disciples tried to dismiss them. Since they were not afraid of the son of God and we are His children; we are invited similarly.

So look to the God who does love you and sees you as more than simply what you do or don’t do. Live in this truth, with others and porn will lose it’s power, life will come flowing back into your veins and you will be fully alive.

There’s really no reason not to.

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