By Eric Gomez, MS, LMFT, MHP
Part 1 of a 2-Part Series
As we evaluate the influence of the pornography industry on mainstream culture, we could easily become anxious about its negative societal and familial implications. Yet I write this article so that we as fathers will take courage from what we read in Scripture, and prepare ourselves to face the challenge of protecting our families from the vast amount of sexual exploitation and pornographic content woven into our American society.
As we start this process, I would like us to consider the following biblical passage found in the book of Nehemiah:
Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
(Nehemiah 4:14 / NKJV)
Nehemiah made this declaration while the Jews of his day were seeking to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem. Their efforts were regularly threatened by opposing forces who were angry about them rebuilding the walls and who wanted to thwart their progress. Recognizing the reality of this looming threat, Nehemiah had the Jews arm themselves to prepare against any attack by those forces as they continued their rebuilding efforts. Through their diligent efforts, the walls and gates were ultimately rebuilt, and their opposition was unable to successfully distract them or cause them to become discouraged.
The Mandate for Fathers
When we consider how many men, women, and children are harmed by pornography usage, we can readily see that the mandate given by Nehemiah is just as important today as it was when it was first presented. As fathers, we have a responsibility to build walls that serve to protect our wives, sons, daughters, and homes from:
- The harm that is brought about by exposure to the rampant sexual exploitation inherent in pornography and other forms of media.
- The messages put forth by the mainstream media that minimize the value and sacred nature of human sexuality.
Furthermore, we get to apply our strength as we fight back against the amassing tide of sexual exploitation wherever we see it taking root.
You Are the Starting Point in the Fight Against Pornography
Many of you fathers reading this article already understand the need to protect your families and to fight back against the mainstream culture, but you may not know where to begin. As a Marriage & Family Therapist who has worked with countless men whose personal lives and families have been deeply shattered by their viewing of pornography and sexually explicit images, I have little difficulty identifying the primary starting point. It is you and me.
It is imperative that we begin by protecting our own eyes, minds, and hearts by avoiding pornography and any other content that exploits the sexual nature of men or women in any way, shape, or form. You may think that is ridiculous and that to do so will leave you devoid of life and all forms of entertainment.
However, first, the truth is that not doing so produces those end results. Second, by refusing to view such content, you send a very strong message to your family that you value each human life and are not willing to tolerate material that devalues human sexuality for the sake of pleasure or profit. Third, by guarding your own heart from pornographic and sexually explicit content, you prevent yourself from becoming susceptible to a sexual addiction and the process of becoming desensitized to the sexual devaluation of others.
An Unquestioned Desire to Reverence and Honor God
None of this becomes possible without an unquestioned desire in our hearts to honor God with our minds and our bodies. I write this knowing that it is the fear of (i.e., reverence for) the Lord that helps us avoid all forms of evil.
To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
(Proverbs 8:13 / NIV)
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
(1 Corinthians 6:18)
At the end of the day, the choice to avoid viewing sexually exploitative content is not made because we have to. It is made because we want to. It is this desire to be pure, in both body and mind, that sets you apart from those within our society who have no inclination to turn away from pornographic material. This means that we are dealing with what I consider to be the crux of the sexual exploitation issue, namely, the spiritual condition of the human heart.
Christian Counseling in the Fight Against Pornography
The odds are that many of the men reading this article have viewed pornography at some point in your life. Some of you may still be viewing pornography ̶ and face a potentially legitimate sexual addiction. If that is the case, I would encourage you to strongly consider working with a Christian counselor who is experienced in treating those who struggle with pornography use and addiction.
The goal in such therapy is to prevent an addiction from developing, and to help those who are dealing with an addiction to overcome it. Here at Seattle Christian Counseling, my aim is to help you to overcome your pornography usage patterns, and to help you rebuild the trust in your relationship with your significant other if it has been damaged by that use. For more information on my clinical practice or to reach out to me directly, please go to seattlechristiancounseling.com.
“Mt. Ranier Reflection Lakes,” and “Mt. St. Helens,” both photos courtesy of Paul VanDerWerf, Flickr CreativeCommons, (CC BY 2.0)
Eric Gomez, MS, LMFT, MHP
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Read More about Eric’s Services