My wife is out of town. She went to El Paso to watch my brother-in-law compete in a Crossfit competition. It is 1:22 in the morning. I just went to bed after my friends and I watched Minority Report and talked about how eerily similar our Facebook is to the eye-scanners that invade Tom Cruise's privacy and market Gap Clothing to him, personally.
My roommate is asleep. My buddy spent the night on the couch, and crashed because he has to wake up in three hours for a paper route that he throws 365 days out of the year. A spider just crawled over my foot in the bathroom. I hate spiders and I accidentally yelled the s-word and spent the last fifteen minutes worrying that my neighbors heard me through the open window and have since concluded that the new guy on the block is an obnoxious person that they can expect to hear screaming expletives in the [very] early morning.
Brandi's cat is sleeping next to me, and at five a.m. he will sit two centimeters away from my face and stare at my closed eyelids until I feel him, subconsciously, and wake up.
It would be so easy to pull up porn right now.
Every now and then, the temptation arises, or at least the thought - go back. Just a glimpse. Safari has a reset button. Chrome has stealth mode. Firefox has its privacy settings.
It would be so easy not to write this blog.
For whatever reason, though, I'm here, writing it, and praying that whoever reads it would be encouraged that the grace of God can truly deliver a person from the bondage of sin. Don't let Satan tell you that to be tempted is equivalent to giving in, so you may as well go through with it. Jesus was tempted, and yet without sin.
I don't believe in a "once an addict, always an addict" mentality. Obviously, there are places where wisdom may call for a lifetime of discernment and restraint, but I believe that Jesus is more powerful than the sum of our seemingly overwhelming desires to forfeit obedience for gratification.
I often forget what I've been saved from, but here and there, I am reminded of the man that I was and - without a doubt in my mind - would be, were in not for the saving grace of Christ.
Vice is an interesting news source. Recently, they've posted a couple of articles on internet pornography either ruining or saving a person's life. A few weeks ago, one of their blogs was coupled with a picture of Ron Jeremy. Though I've never met Ron, he is a friend to the XXXchurch community despite disagreements regarding porn. The article was about a guy named Michael, whose pornography addiction lead to voyeurism, an affair, the loss of his wife, estrangement from his children, and near-suicide. Now that he is "recovered", he speaks at colleges about the dangers of pornography from a purely secular perspective regarding its potentially unseen consequences that can develop out of a young person's "recreational hobby."
He says, "I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, I didn’t believe I was hurting anyone and yet eventually that lie would end up costing me a 15-year marriage, my two boys, and my career."
Then you've got another article talking about how erotica saved someone's life because he started creating fake celebrity porn that people loved, and it made him feel like he was appreciated for the first time in his life.
I can't help but doubt that either of these men are free.
Michael has no interest in censorship or porn-bans - only cold, hard facts - but now expresses, in his sobriety, what I consider to be such a profound understanding of human dignity that common grace would call it biblical. And yet no mention of a savior. No answer for freedom. No prescription for preventing his audience from the same fate he knew.
Celebrity-porn master has gone from completely enslaved by fake images of naked fame to completely enslaved by the men on internet forums' opinions of his faux idols. The article mentioned a past marked by bullying, self-harm and attempted suicide, and talked of addicted approval as though it were salvation. What happens if someone dislikes one of his heroines? What if he loses to a competitor's imagery? What if one of his celebrities was less than flattered at his objectification?
I just wonder what kind of foundation these houses are built upon?
Every once in a while, I am tempted to return to those sandcastles. Pray for me. A friend once told me of a Christian pastor who had an affair. When asked about his infidelity, the conversation (paraphrased) went:
- "How could you do that to your wife and children? To your church?"
- "Do you believe in your depravity? That you are capable of any kind of evil?"
- "I didn't."
Let us never think that we are above a moment's decision that could painfully alter the course of a lifetime for ourselves, and those around us. Let us humble ourselves before the Lord whose grace makes us who we are. Let us not treat his grace as though it were given in vain.
There is freedom to be had, and it is found in Jesus Christ. Not in moralistic boundaries. Not in the ever-enticing instant gratification of the flesh. Not in the approval of men and their forums.
Jesus, and the unchanging foundation of his approval.
It is always Jesus.