Did your kids send you a link when you asked them for a Christmas list this year?
Do you ever call someone on the phone and in return they text you back?
Do you wear a watch on your wrist or carry a smartphone in your pocket?
The way you answer these questions and the emotion you feel illuminates exactly why communication will be tougher than ever this Christmas!
I am deeply saddened at how porn has become so pervasive even in the lives of Christians. Most would no longer label pornography an epidemic in our world but a pandemic, admitting that everyone is exposed to and adversely affected by pornography.
- 47% of families say pornography is a problem in their home.
- 8 – 11 years old is the average age of a child’s first exposure to porn.
- 90% of high school males will view pornography before they turn 18.
- 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month.
This past week I was flying home,
and on the back of an America Airlines napkin
I wrote out the graphic shown above
concerning how pornography progresses and prospers in our lives.
I gave my little “napkin” sketch to our creative team at CCV, and this is the result.
Let me explain the graphic and how porn prospers in our lives.
Smartphone – The first step is often when a person gets a smartphone, or any other digital device such as a tablet, computer, TV, Xbox or PS3. These devices are amoral; they can be used for good or bad. But they are often private portals into the world of pornography.
APPs – Once you acquire one of these portals you begin to add APPs to it. APPs such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat of course are not porn APPs. But these APPs and many others like them carry a stream of questionable content.
Stumble Onto Pornography – Here is the tough truth … once you have access to these APPs, you WILL stumble onto explicit and pornographic images and links.
And when this happens you can move in one of two directions …
Confess – When people “stumble” onto explicit images and links they can choose to confess this and have a conversation about it. This conversation with a student might go something like this:
- Son – “Mom, this is hard to say, but yesterday on my phone I clicked on a link that took me to some pretty bad stuff.”
- Mom – “What was the name of the link? Can you show me? What did you see?”
A conversation as simple as this moves people toward confession and healthy conversation. There is then the ability to set up guardrails to block certain websites and questionable content. These conversations and guardrails do not solve everything, but they move the issue into the light instead of letting it remain in the dark.
Cover Up – If people decide not to confess and have a conversation about what they have seen, then covering things up is the only other option. Things stay in the dark. And things that stay in the dark today have the potential to destroy a person tomorrow. When people decide to cover up their explicit discoveries, eventually what happens is they no longer “stumble” onto the content – they begin to “seek” it out.
And when this happens you move into a very vicious cycle …
MORE – Our appetites only know one word and that is the word “more.” And nowhere is this more true than in the world of explicit images, literature and lust. If a person covers up and begins privately seeking pornographic content it will become …
- MORE regular.
- MORE explicit.
- MORE secretive.
Porn is always progressive.
Here is the BAD NEWS … if people have a smartphone or access to any other digital device, they have stumbled onto and been exposed to explicit content. If there has not been a conversation and some level of confession then they have secretively moved in the other direction and are likely currently covering up their exposure to this content. They might not be “seeking” it out yet, but they will repeatedly stumble onto it again and again as long as they are online.
Here is the GOOD NEWS … a simple conversation can change this whole equation. A student, parent, trusted friend, teacher, pastor or grandparent who has the wisdom and guts to ask something like …
- “So, have you seen any images or links online that were out of bounds?”
- “Hey, I read the other day that 80% of people online are regularly exposed to explicit content – do you think that’s true?”
- “I have read a lot lately about how much porn is easily available online – can we talk about that as a family this Saturday morning?”
- “Son, I noticed some questionable hashtags on your Instagram account – can we talk about those?”
- “Daughter, I looked through your text messages last night on your phone – we need to talk about some of the things you and your friends are saying to each other.”
And a couple last thoughts for parents …
- Porn is always progressive. Your kids will not figure this out and become free of this devastating potential addiction on their own.
- Accountability is the greatest enemy of pornography. Talk to your family today.
- We must fight this like it’s our job – because it is!
* On Sunday afternoon, September 6th, I will post the notes to my message concerning “The 5 Myths (Lies) About Pornography”.
** On Monday afternoon, September 7th, I will post the video of the full 35 minute message.
*** This message about pornography will be presented at Christ’s Church of the Valley on September 5/6, as we begin a new series called “Messy Grace.” The title of the series is inspired by the soon to be released book by Caleb Kaltenbach; you can read more about the book and order it here.
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