Porn Is Bad. Don’t Do It.

Today’s service – on porn – was particularly meaningful to me. 
I was exposed to porn as a child.  It had a profound affect on me. It really messed with my self-image. To this day, I’m impacted by the thought that I’m supposed to look/act/be like those earliest images. It’s been a real struggle at times.  
I can safely say that I’m through the worst of that, but it’s been a challenge to my confidence and view of myself as a beloved daughter of God.  I’m not going into the details here, but I would like to say this:
Porn is bad.  Don’t do it.
Seriously, I think the impact on the person who is using is devastating – but the greater risk is to those around you who might be exposed.  I’m speaking, specifically, about the kids around you who might stumble upon your books or magazines or web pages or dvds or cable channels.  And don’t kid yourself.  It’ll happen.
This is a hot button issue for me, so I’m going to get on my soap box. I’m not often dogmatic about right and wrong, but on this issue, it’s black and white as far as I’m concerned.  Let me share just a bit about what I know porn can do to a young person.
Porn creates a secret.  Dysfunction begins with secrets.  Secrets bind anxiety.  One of the greatest ways to screw up a family – whether it’s you, a single dad with kids; or you, a single mom with kids; or you, big brother or sister; or you, grandpa; or you, a cool aunt; or you, with your roommates:  no matter who you are, when you invite porn into your life, you crack the door open to influence all the people who are part of your life.  It’s a huge risk.
Porn violates innocence.  For my part, I learned how to define myself, my body image, my idea of beauty through porn.  I’ve fought that battle all my life.  Others are going through the same struggles.  Are you willing to wreck the natural development of a kid just to feed your lust?  

Porn warps natural sexual devlopment
. Early discoveries of sexual images define and shape one’s understanding of their sexuality.  This post is not an appropriate place for that sort of detailed discussion, but use some common sense.  Here’s an easy example:  How many girls see a Victoria’s Secret ad – on tv or in print – and don’t walk away thinking that’s the definition of a desireable, sexy woman?  And how many boys see that and expect that to be how a woman should look and act?  Take that road a bit further and think about what expectations boys and girls have regarding their intimate lives after being influenced by porn.
Porn is bad.  Don’t do it.

I never forgot what I’d seen and read.  It stayed with me into my adult life.  After I got serious about my relationship with God, I was actively involved in a church and committed to following Christ – but I grew to believe that there was a huge blackness in me where this sin lived. I felt, literally, as though the inner part of my heart was black. I was “okay” in every other way, but I had this filthy thing burned into me that was my cross to bear, my sin, my thorn, a part of me that would never be gone. I felt different than everybody else. I felt as though I could never say anything to anybody. I never told anyone.  The secret of porn had burned into my soul.

Through an amazing turn of events, God opened some doors for me to come clean and to live in freedom.  There is no blackness in me, no condemnation, no darkness.  There is only grace. Those images are gone.  The slate’s been wiped clean.  But it took some intentional steps and a willingness – even a desperation – to be free.  
If you want to hear the details of how God led me through this mess, let me know.
If you have any issue at all with pornography, do something about it.  
And if you need somebody to talk to, you can find me at beth {at} powhatancc {dot} com.
And yes, just for the record – I DO think Victoria’s Secret ads qualify as porn.