A father’s words to a son on temptation of pornography

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“Son, get your Bible and come see me. I’m glad we can sit here and talk, because I am worried about you. I am concerned about you because I love you, and I think something is wrong. Let me tell you why I’ve called you in here. You are failing to do your chores and to think straight because something is distracting you. That you can’t remember anything your parents tell you, and that you forgot to put the nut back before trying to refill the oil pan suggests that something is powerfully disorganizing your thoughts and making it difficult for you to think straight.

“I checked our [family Internet security log]. It says it blocked nine sites that are of pornographic content. This was yesterday. *** Well, you may say you were out of the house all day, but you were on the computer. Son, you were on the computer all day. You were on it for two hours, three hours — four hours? I don’t know exactly. It seemed like an awful lot. But I conclude that our system was blocking access and that the person seeking access to these sites is you.

“Popups, you say?

“I’d like you to grab your Bible and turn to Proverbs 6:23 and following and Proverbs 7.

“ *** Thanks for reading that, son. You did a good job. Can we talk about this woman and the young man? Here is what God is telling you. And here is what God is telling me. This passage applies as much to me as to you. I am a sinner and I am tempted, too. My eyes are feeble gates sometimes, and because I am a sinner and covetous, my eyes lead my heart into coveting. We are both sinners, and what I say applies as much to me as to you — more so.

“NOW PORNOGRAPHY IS the same as the seductress and the harlot who reduces a man to a crust of bread. You might think that these passages somehow miss you because in allowing yourself to search for porography on the Internet you think you are not committing adultery as the man in proverb is. Maybe you’re not. But before God coveting with the eyes is as much a sin as coveting with the body. To look at pornography is to involve yourself with people who are exactly violating God’s law, and you are lusting after a representation of their sins. What do you say to this?

**** “You think that because you are not actually involving yourself with a strange woman you are avoiding the danger described here. Did you not read about taking coals of fire to your bosom and not being burned? You are a crust of bread and ‘whoever touches her shall not be innocent.’ Notice the part in Chapter 6 that says people may despise a thief because he steals bread to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yes, he can make good and pay back what he stole. But the adulterer destroys his body and his own soul. Notice the fury with which Solomon describes the husband. He is implacable. He cannot be compensated for his loss of consort and intimacy, which you have broken. Murders and homicides come from this sort of anger.

“The people whose images you want to see are real people. Their actions are part of that dynamic. They are daughters and sisters. They are wives. They are being used, just as you want to use them. You want to partake in their ruin, for your own cravings and desires. Pornography allows you to separate yourself from real fleshly beings, people who are in the scenes, and it lets you skim just the very surface. But they are real people, and spiritually you are not simply skimming. You are part of the action. In your mind you are in the middle of it.

“Son, God gave us the 7th commandment against adultery to glorify Him and to make us holy as He is. I often talk about the sovereignty of God as his greatest attribute. I think I am wrong about that. God is sovereign, but his greatest attribute his holiness. He is so perfectly holy, so right in all his makeup, so unapproachably good. He is true and just in everything, as you can tell from the commandments and how they develop out into society and into your own heart.

“In Proverbs chapter 7, did you see how winning the woman is with the man she wants to seduce? She has the attire of a harlot, and ‘a crafty heart.’ She is ‘loud and rebellious,’ and she won’t stay at home. Notice how she catches him and kisses him, and she makes him think that HE has been in her thoughts, and that she has been waiting all her life to meet HIM. How flattering. She wants to offer him sex, which he has dreamed of all his life. She wants to offer him something he was made for. She wants him to satisfy him in a way God made him to be satisfied.

“SON, WHAT YOU LONG FOR is seeking what God has made you for. Look how many sins are the taking of a good and lawful thing and corrupting it. Fame. Money. Honor. Wine. Food. Influence. Beauty. These are good things, but we fallen creatures corrupt them. He made you to make love to your wife, the sweet and godly girl He is going to bring to you. The things the pornography seems to satisfy — and makes you crave more of — are things that God in His way, and in marriage, will satisfy you with. But remember that God is holy. He has given you desires for lovemaking, for sexual intimacy, for closeness. He has given you a longing for being with with the girl He has given you, or is going to give you. These desires arise from the way He built you, for pleasure with her, the one He intends for you. But God owns lovemaking. It is His property. He says it belongs to you by right only in marriage. ‘And if you try to take that before I give you a wife, you are sinning and lusting.’

“Sex is not something that you control. It doesn’t belong to you. It is a gift — a gift in waiting. You appropriate it on your wedding night. And I expect that when you marry, you will enjoy an endless delight in all holiness. I know you will be a good lover, son. You are a very considerate boy. You know how to care for other people. You won’t come to sex thinking it’s all about you. You’ll come to it knowing its about her, and she will be greatly satisfied.

“PORNOGRAPHY, SON, WILL make it impossible to find this girl. Pornography works as we heard about in church on Sunday. In fact, we were warned about sowing to the flesh, and allowing our sin natures an inch of ground. Sin always expands its operation once it is granted license.

“The license for the tiniest amount of sin allows for more the next time, as the sin takes more and more ground. I met a man once who said he was so addled in his mind by pornography that he was dating two women at the same time in different cities. He was so calculating that if one woman didn’t work out, he would have the other. He repents every day and has been converted, praise God. ‡ And I read a piece recently in Huffington Post by a woman who was addicted to pornography. She said it makes real relationships difficult. It makes people hard to read.

“Pornography makes it hard to understand people. And a man hooked on it will never look at a woman honorably. He is already in bed with her, though he has just met her. His constant state of lust makes it impossible to see her for whom she is, and to make her acquaintance honorably. There is always in the back of his mind his sexual fantasy that becomes a part of his normal thought process.”

Please come back for Part 2 of this essay, in which the dad takes on the popular assumption that marrying late is better.

‡ See my story about such a conversion.