Monday, October 3, 2016

Getting Serious Here: A Time of Universal Deceit

By Barbara Buzzard

A recent article in a traditional conservative women’s magazine was entitled “One man’s confession: “I’m happily married…and I watch porn.” It was written anonymously of course, and the author thinks he is really quite a decent guy. He didn’t claim to be a Christian, but reliable statistics say that “1 out of every 3 men in America has an ongoing relationship with pornography.”[1] And the author in question actually quotes Ph.D.s who say they see no link between pornography and being unfaithful; basically they see nothing to worry about. Whoaa! It’s time to start speaking truth to ourselves.
The man in question has a moral problem. He filibusters around it, deceiving himself that he is doing no harm, blind to the possibility that his feelings/desires will crescendo. He is a promise/covenant breaker with no respect for his victims, a man blinded by the darkness of his own lusts. He is a possible homewrecker, ignorant of the perils of trying to fill a bottomless pit.
What a very different picture this would be should the man repent and choose the Christian walk. Then he could be challenged to take his feelings to Scripture and have them named (lust, pride, etc.). Once named, he could no longer plead innocence. He is being deceived into thinking that such feelings can be innocent, but Scripture could set him right – some yearnings are blessed and some are forbidden.
Job could be a wonderful mentor for this man. Job saw the brilliant results of being in/under covenant: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1). It is remarkable that such a simple yet profound answer would solve the writer’s problem. Ah, yes, but it would require obedience.
There is so much help from those who have gone before us. Ps. 101:2b-4: “I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar…I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil.” 1 Cor. 6:12 – “You may say, ‘I am allowed to do anything.’ But I reply, ‘Not everything is good for you. And even though ‘I am allowed to do anything,’ I must not become a slave to anything.”
These very telling words were heard in the movie, ‘Fireproof’: “A parasite is anything that latches onto you or your partner and sucks the life out of your marriage. They’re usually in the form of addictions, like gambling, drugs, or pornography. They promise pleasure but grow like a disease and consume more and more of your thoughts, time, and money. They steal away your loyalty and heart from those you love. Marriages rarely survive if parasites are present. If you love your spouse, you must destroy any addiction that has your heart. If you don’t, it will destroy you.”[2]
Sin, when it is indulged in this way, is defiling, whether the sinner knows it or not. This man has the gall to say that his is a relatively healthy secret. He is glad that his wife does not know. But character is who you are when no one is looking; and for the Christian it is remembering Whose you are. The concept of “putting on” restraint and other good qualities and “putting off” unholy and forbidden actions is crucial to the choices we make. And casting off restraint is not a good condition to be in (Pro. 29:18).
A wise person has put it this way: “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” It is the old rule that ‘who feeds you – owns you.’
1 John 2:216 – “For the world offers only the lusts for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see…These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world.”
But the good news is this: “… if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father” (1 John 2:1). There is no need to live with sin or with guilt. The most blessed provision has been made for us, and Jesus’ yoke is gentle as well as dependable. What relief there is to pull into this safe harbor!

[1] Joel Belz, ‘Keep it quiet, please’, World magazine, Jan. 23, 2016
[2] Stephen Kendrick, The Love Dare Day by Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples

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