Pornography and faith...
(Tim) These wise words were made as a comment under the recent post, Stats on internet pornography, by Alex McNeilly, a young sax student in Church of the Good Shepherd. Thank you, Alex.
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Regardless of how guarded any home is against sin, particularly the sexual sin of the media, in the world opportunities to indulge in it will abound. But even as we build larger and stronger walls against these sins in the home, worldly access to them becomes ever more available as we see in the stats in this post. As a result, I agree with Kevin that the strongest defense against these things lies in the spiritual battle.
We must teach our children the dangers of sexual sin and pornography, so that when they go into the world (a friend's house, a computer lab, a video store, etc.), where there are no guards, their hearts will already be fortified against these iniquities...
Parents can prohibit their children from exercising malicious violence within the home, but what is to stop this child from violence or murder outside the home unless he believes and understands it to be wrong? Similarly, parents can put up dozens of safeguards against pornography (filters, locked rooms, etc.) in the home, but there will always be loopholes and outside access. Only a child who believes pornography to be a sin and knows why it is wrong will ultimately overcome the temptation to indulge in such a sin when the opportunity inevitably presents itself.
I encourage everyone to read Michael Foster's recent post on the ClearNote Fellowship blog regarding raising children, even toddlers, to be fortified against pornography: Training Your Toddler to Battle Porn.
The actual physical prevention of access to inappropriate material should only be an aid to the instruction of the heart. We must be careful not to focus too much on the external manifestation of sin. Pornography is wrong because it lies about sexuality by turning it into something trivial, impersonal, and self-centered. Since we know sexuality is to be a picture of Christ's relationship with the Church, we can see that pornography is a lie about Jesus Christ. We must focus on teaching our children the fear of the Lord and reliance upon Jesus Christ's all-sufficient grace.
Restriction of Internet and TV access in the home aids in teaching this to children because it removes access to things that distract from what we are to focus on, which is Christ. But we must be careful not to swing to far in the legalistic direction which does not teach about the grace of Christ, but simply provides a law which will certainly awaken sin in our children. Such legalism in the home can unfortunately lead to even firmer enslavement to the sins of pornography outside the home. The law only identifies the sin, which is half the battle. Only Christ sets us (and our children) free.
For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:5-6, ESV)
In Galatians, Paul refers to the law as our "guardian," set in place for our protection. When we present a rule or a law to our children, it is for their protection against a particular sin, until they learn to rely on Christ's strength to overcome temptation toward that sin, at which point true freedom is gained. The law is only a guardian for the child, but it is not enough, because the law protects, but it also enslaves. And only through Christ can freedom from the imprisonment of the law be achieved, because he fulfilled the law, which we and our children can never do.