Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
– Romans 12:9b
Last week I wrote about how to overcome a pornography addiction, and one of the main steps in doing so is to hate porn. You have to have a strong enough distaste for the sin that you will do what is required to overcome the addiction. It’s important enough that I wanted to better explain how to do that.
Though the details are specific to pornography, the general outline could apply to any sin that you need to overcome.
1. Hate what it is doing to you.
What effects does pornography have on you, the user? Among other things:
You become addicted to having a variety of sexual “partners.” This is not an addiction that works out very well in marriage—if you ever even get to that point. The sad fact is, some single people reading this would not still be single if not for porn. And most divorces (56%) involve one spouse having “excessive” porn use. Porn is killing your marriage before you even have a spouse.
You lose confidence. Pornography use is a coping mechanism for some underlying pain or insecurity. Besides not dealing with those issues, pornography gives you more things to be insecure about, and can often evolve into self-loathing and depression.
You become desensitized. To everything: good things do not bring you as much joy; terrible things do not seem as bad. Beautiful people around you cease to be beautiful, because you are used to unnatural bodies on a screen.
You become a monster. Eventually. As you become desensitized to porn itself, you need more extreme examples of it to get the same “fix.” So what’s more extreme? Incest. Bestiality. Rape. 90% of all porn scenes contain acts of physical or verbal aggression, and experiments have shown that porn use leads to a less positive view of women and a less negative view of rape.
2. Hate the way it hurts others.
Pornography use hurts those you care about most, including yourself and your future or current spouse. But it hurts those in the industry even worse.
The great lie of pornographic movies is that the actors involved are really enjoying it. They are actors, acting out scenes in a fictional movie. But this type of movie has no stunt doubles, and the script includes humiliating, painful, and even abusive acts done in front of a film crew and replayed to a mass audience.
Here’s what is real:
Pornographic film actors/actresses are 10 times more likely to contract STDs.
Thanks to disease, drug use, suicide, and murder, it is reported that the average life expectancy of a pornographic performer is only 37.4 years.
Pornography contributes to sex trafficking. Fact.
By watching it, you help create the demand that keeps the industry going.
3. Hate the missed opportunities.
How much time have you wasted on pornography over your lifetime? Hundreds of hours? Thousands? How much time? Time that you could have spent doing something great, or something you truly love.
How many years have you been enslaved by it? 5? 10? 15 years?
Statistically, 13% of young adult men watch at least 5 hours a week, with 2% watching more than 20 hours a week—you do the math.
4. Hate what it did to Jesus.
Because God forgives so freely, we have a tendency to think most sins aren’t that big of a deal.
But they are. All sin leads to death. God is holy and perfect, and therefore cannot have anything to do with sin. But He is also perfectly good and loving towards sinners. The only solution is that He take on the punishment. An infinite, immortal, completely blameless Jesus, who I imagine has an infinite ability to feel, took on the most painful form of capital punishment ever devised by man.
So yes, there is forgiveness. God loves you, and He’s proved it. But the cost.
5. Hate what it does to your relationship with Jesus.
You cannot be intimate with Jesus at the same time you are doing something that caused Him to suffer and die. Your own mind won’t allow it.
Even Jesus felt separated from God when He took on our sins on the cross.
If you can look at pornography and find that because of it your relationship with God is improved—that you feel closer to God, and everything is right between you and the Creator of all good things—then go ahead and do it. But if you can’t, don’t.
I’ve shepherded addicts long enough to know that an article like this makes them angry and discouraged? Remember to hate the sin, not the sinner. That applies even if the sinner is you. Hate the sin, and understand that God hates the sin, but He still loves you. Ask for forgiveness, and forgive yourself. And then ask for help.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do...What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:15 & 24-25
(The stats sited above are from compilations of studies found on the Covenant Eyes and Shelley Lubben websites. Far more statistics and other reasons to hate pornography can be found on each site.)