His target, his secret affair lurks in the shadows, quiet and unseen, without consistent shape or physical substance, yet she is more alluring than the street harlot and just as destructive as the motel tryst. She seeks his company, often posing as a damsel in distress. Her poses beg for his attention; they seek to be rescued from loneliness. Although she wears no clothes, she bears a sword, ready to cut his heart in two, setting body in conflict with spirit. From the slick pages of a magazine or the colorful images of a computer screen, she awaits his peering eyes, ready to strike with her naked dagger. She is the harlot of pornography.
Why do the hearts of so many married men become divided? Although they have wives whom God designed to meet their physical needs, why are they tempted to seek the pleasures of another? For many men, physical adultery is a well-recognized taboo. Physically violating the wedding vows, even in our permissive society, is still considered by most Christians to be a sign of unfaithfulness to God, an act that proves an unsaved spiritual state. A divided heart that leads to spiritual adultery, however, has not gained such public condemnation. Millions of men dive into the cesspool of pornography, purposefully filling their eyes with forbidden fruit. Although they may never touch another woman’s body, their minds entertain the thoughts, their lusts traveling from woman to woman, gaining mental and even physical pleasure from the images these willing females produce.
What is the allure of these undressed and apparently sexually insatiable women? With pursed, come-hither lips, she curls her inviting finger, exposing and caressing her smooth, airbrushed flesh. She is the image of desire, a lonely woman begging for a man’s fulfilling touch, and not just any man. She wants you. She’s begging for you to take her and have your way with her. She’s there for your pleasure. “Come and take me,” she calls. “I need you!
And it’s all a lie.
The woman is a whore. She poses for money, nothing more, nothing less. She doesn’t care about any man who mentally rapes her with his eyes and mind. In fact, if you venture into her lair, she will likely disdain or even hate you, perhaps laughing at your weakness as she overpowers you so easily with a mere flash of flesh. How many men have allowed her to poison their minds, committing spiritual adultery with this harlot of hate who reveals her body while stealing a man’s soul?
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,
And smoother than oil is her speech;
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of Sheol.
She does not ponder the path of life;
Her ways are unstable, she does not know it (Proverbs 5:3-6)
Pornography is a simple formula, although the user allows himself to be unaware of its devices. It invites wandering eyes to drink from its lovely pool, promising a quenched thirst. Alas! The thirst is far from quenched! The harlot’s drink is a pill of salt; it makes a man beg for deeper draughts, more skin, younger girls, views of lesbian encounters, until images alone are unable to satisfy. Each sip whets the addiction as a man is entrapped by the harlot’s poison, and his mind is imprisoned in pornography’s deadly snare. Solomon wrote, “For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life” (Proverbs 6:26).
Jesus said, “Everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Can a man claim that he looks at images of nude women without lusting, that his reasons for seeking the harlot’s exposed skin are holy? Hardly! This lust is adultery, pure and simple, and a man who pursues this course has broken his vows. And with whom has he mated? He has pursued a mere phantom. He has thrown away his virtue for colored dots on a printed page. He has cast away his wife in pursuit of pixels on a computer screen.
The Internet has certainly helped pornography purveyors capture a whole host of men. An innocent engine search may yield a dozen lurid descriptions, inviting a simple click to reach images of women who beg for your attention. No magazines to hide. No trips to the video store. No evidence of evil. One mouse click and a dozen smiling beauties await your caressing eyes. Simple curiosity leads many into the snare, trapping the minds of those who don’t dash for the exit in disgust. First a sip, then a draught, and the harlot has captured another lover.
But where is thy wife, O man? For whom hast thou cast her aside?Drink water from your own cistern,
And fresh water from your own well.
Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
Let them be yours alone,
And not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
As a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress,
And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? (Proverbs 5:15-20).
Why do so many men seek strange flesh? The mystery of the unknown? The excitement of the forbidden? The desire to conquer? Any of these excuses is surely inadequate. There is simply no good reason, as Proverbs 6:32-33 reveals:
The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense;
He who would destroy himself does it.
Wounds and disgrace he will find,
And his reproach will not be blotted out.
Let’s get real, guys. What’s this pornography stuff all about, anyway? Freak shows aside, more than 99 percent of the women in these pictures look pretty much alike, with body parts in the same places. Breasts are in front, buttocks are in back, there are two arms and two legs, and an epidermis holding it all together. There aren’t many surprise arrangements. There goes the mystery excuse. And we won’t conquer these women; they’re untouchable. In fact, if we lust after them, they’ve conquered us. We’ve fallen into their trap.
That leaves us with the excitement-of-the-forbidden excuse, the hormonal rush that accompanies the peek through the keyhole, the stolen view of what lies beneath the clothing, the places no one is allowed to see. “Come take a look, Mister, and I’ll show you something you’ll like … just for you.”
Get over it. These women aren’t giving you a private peak; they’re strutting their stuff for anyone with eyes. Forbidden? Yes. For your eyes only? Forget about it. These harlots put their bodies on show, inviting deeper draughts for paying customers. All they really want is your money. You can waste your endorphins on a lie, see hate masquerading as love, and the hormonal rush prompts the desire for more as each drink creates new thirst.
If you’re addicted to pornography, you need to meditate on reality—the truth of the hateful harlot. She’s a stalker, a seductress, a destroyer. She will poison your soul. She has nothing to offer that you haven’t seen before; even her body is just a fleeting image. She’s certainly not a damsel in distress, and it’s not your duty to rescue her, even in your mind.
Tell me, would you look at pornographic images with your wife? Would you sit down and say, “Honey, come take a look at this gal! Isn’t she hot?” May it never be! Such an act would be shameful. Yet this is a good test and a faithful standard to use in avoiding what is shameful. If you’re ever contemplating an act, ask yourself if you would do it in your wife’s presence. If the answer is no, don’t do it.
Say this along with me: “I will never do anything in private for which I would be ashamed in public.” Repeat this promise, and embed it in your mind.
Remember, too, that you’re never really in private. God always looks over your shoulder. Would you say to Him, “Get a load of this one, Lord! She’s a looker!” God forbid! Yet millions of men act as though God can’t see them. But He not only sees everything in your view, He reads everything in your mind. He is watching. Do we believe it? Do we care? Will we invite Him to inspect everything we view? Would we mind showing to Jesus Christ everything we bring up on our computer screens, every image our eyes rest upon in magazines, every television channel that makes us pause as we look for a decent program?
Isn’t this the test of faith? Isn’t how we act in private a true reflection of what we believe about God, that He is really who He says He is, the ever-present, omniscient Lord?
For those of you who feel trapped by this insidious evil, there is a cure. As we set our minds on the things above, where Christ is, memories of evil begin to vanish. As Paul taught: