What Makes Porn So Harmful?

Pornography is never easy to talk about… it just makes everyone uncomfortable.

Maybe that’s because we all know that it’s wrong. Sometimes guilt is a good thing – in this case, it reminds us that we shouldn’t be doing something that we keep on doing! At the same time, let’s not allow our shame over pornography keep us from discussing a difficult topic. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more to pursue Christ, who purifies our hearts and gives us strength to resist temptation.

A lot of people might think, “What I do in private isn’t hurting anyone. Don’t tell me what to do.” That’s fine, except it’s not true. Porn causes harm. It rewires your brain and can be as addictive as heroin. It breaks relationships and changes how you view people of the other sex (whether you’re married or not, this is a very bad thing!). It can also lead to other emotional and mental problems, especially loneliness and depression. All those things aside, it is well documented that many of the women featured in pornographic videos have suffered physical and emotional abuse.

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Hot Topic & Poll: The Reality Behind Sexting

I’m curious to know how many teenagers have either sent or received a “sext” message?

I just read this article from the NY Times, “A Girl’s Nude Photo, and Altered Lives,” telling the story of an 8th grade girl who sent a nude picture of herself to her new boyfriend and the fallout after it got sent out to hundreds of people in her school.  Every parent and student should take 10 minutes to read this article and really wrestle with what it’s saying.  Here are a few quotes from the article above:

“But adults face a hard truth. For teenagers, who have ready access to technology and are growing up in a culture that celebrates body flaunting, sexting is laughably easy, unremarkable and even compelling: the primary reason teenagers sext is to look cool and sexy to someone they find attractive.”

… “But when that sexually explicit image includes a participant — subject, photographer, distributor or recipient — who is under 18, child pornography laws may apply.

“I didn’t know it was against the law,” Isaiah said.

That is because culturally, such a fine distinction eludes most teenagers. Their world is steeped in highly sexualized messages. Extreme pornography is easily available on the Internet. Hit songs and music videos promote stripping and sexting.”

… “The prevalence of under-age sexting is unclear and can often depend on the culture of a particular school or circle of students. An Internet poll conducted for The Associated Press and MTV by Knowledge Networks in September 2009 indicated that 24 percent of 14- to 17-year-olds had been involved in “some type of naked sexting,” either by cellphone or on the Internet. A December 2009 telephone poll from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that 5 percent of 14- to 17-year-olds had sent naked or nearly naked photos or video by cellphone, and that 18 percent had received them. Boys and girls send photos in roughly the same proportion, the Pew survey found.”

 

It’s important for us to remember that as terrible as the nude photos are, the real issue we must address is the heart.  God love us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).  We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).  As Christians, our bodies are the temple of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Parents, is this something you’ve discussed with your teenager?  Do you talk about sexual purity often enough with your teen that some of the awkwardness has worn off and honesty is easier?

Teenagers, how would you feel about your parents looking through your photos and text messages?  Why would you feel like it’s an invasion of privacy?  Is there something that you’re hiding?

 

 

You’re “Worth It!” – A One-Day Seminar for Teens & Parents on Sexual Purity

WORTH IT is a one-day seminar designed to encourage and equip teens and parents towards God’s best in opposite-sex relationships. Through speakers and workshops you will discover your incredible worth, God’s incredible plan, and the incredible joy of seeking God’s best.

Join hundreds of parents and teens for this fun and informative day that likely will change your life and the way you look at God, yourself, and relationships. The day includes the following workshop offerings:

Below is a list and brief bio for all the different presenters, including our good friend Nate Parks.  Patriot’s running back DANNY WOODHEAD and his wife, Stacia, has been added to the list of speakers since the program below was designed.

If we get a group of 10 teens/parents to attend we will qualify for the group rate ($25/person), please contact Pastor Mike ASAP if you are interested and if you’re willing to drive a others in a carpool from the Emmanuel Baptist Church.  Since the program starts at 9:30am and Lynnfield is an hour away we should plan on meeting at the church at 7:50am and leaving around 8:00am.

Raising Sexually Healthy Children

I just read one of the best articles on CNN I’ve ever read.  “Sex ed in the age of Snooki” is a great reality check for parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors and anyone else who cares about children and teenagers.

The author, Ian Kerner, hits the nail on the head:

“On the surface, I’ve got it easy as a parent—my wife and I have two sons. ‘Boys will be boys’ goes the conventional wisdom. We’ve come to expect—and often excuse—their bad behavior. That means it falls on a girl’s shoulders to have the self-confidence and self-esteem to create and protect boundaries in respect to her sexuality. While I think it’s important to teach girls how to be empowered gatekeepers of their own sexuality, I also believe that we have to focus on the boys, not let them off the hook. If girls operate in the male gaze (both actual and internalized), then we need to change that gaze. Boys need to learn how to see girls differently.”

Dr. Kerner provides some really helpful and practical (but not easy) advice for parents who want to raise sexually healthy children.  I strongly encourage anyone reading this post to read the article linked to above (it’s fairly short too, so it’s not a tall order).

And the Bride Wore… whatever color she felt like?

An article entitled “Brides buck tradition and ditch the white dress” on CNN.com caught my attention this morning.  The article praises women who choose to wear greens or blues or whatever color that isn’t white on their wedding day.  Check out a few quotes:

“People are starting to open up their minds a bit,” Rogers said. “It takes a certain bride — usually a second wedding. They’ve already done the white, traditional gown. They don’t want to feel like a first-time bride.”

“[White] is universally hard to wear for so many body and skin types,” she said. “And the average American bride is older now. … The whole ‘I’m a virgin and I’m wearing white’ [thing] is kind of silly now.”

Did you catch that… “The whole ‘I’m a virgin and I’m wearing white’ [thing] is kind of silly now.” Really?!  Unfortunately, that’s a statement shared by many today.

I’m not out to save white wedding dresses, so don’t misunderstand me: what I’m upset about is the disregard for purity in our culture.  Even the word “Purity” is sneered at today (or so it seems).  The white dress is about more than tradition, it’s about valuing your future spouse enough to live in a way that you can give yourself to him/her without any guilt or shame.

In the midst of a culture where second-marriages are no big deal and living together before getting married is kind of expected, the call of God in Romans 12:1-2 shouts out even more powerfully.  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Two recommended resources:  “And the Bride Wore White” is a great book for young women to read about the value and importance of sexual purity.  A few of the girls in my youth group have read this and they all loved it!  “When Young Men are Tempted” is a really good, biblical, and practical book to help teenage guys work through sexual temptations and seek freedom in Christ.

What is Cellular Purity?

Below is a great video on the connection between cell phones and pornography, this is a “must watch” for every parent and youth worker!

For more posts on Sexual Purity and Moral Boundaries check these links out:

  • Previous post I’ve written entitled “Struggling against porn
  • Pornography Harms” is the name of a new site devoted to helpful, informative, credible information regarding the harmfulness of pornography.  Great site!
  • Link for Teens: Teens Against Porn – this is a GREAT site that deals with the allure and the effects of pornography while giving you encouragement that you’re not alone and that through Christ you can overcome this temptation!
  • Link for Parents: The Porn Talk – don’t know how to talk to your son or daughter about sex and pornography?  Check this site out for some ideas and resources.

Last Week at Youth Group: Moral Boundaries

What’s the difference between the fire in a fireplace and a fire that’s burning your house down?  Boundaries.

Is there such thing as a safe fire?  Yes.  And No.  Even a lit candle which is in a jar can burn your house down if that candle is bumped off the table and the flame spreads beyond it’s jar/boundary.

Sex and sexuality are the same way.  God made sex as a wonderful thing… but within its proper boundaries.  On television and in movies sex is used as a shortcut to deep relationships, but God gave us sex as the pinnacle expression of love and intimacy within marriage.

I know many people who have good marriages, but whose marriages are seriously affected because of the previous sexual experiences one or both members had before they got married.  Sexual purity paves the way to intimacy.

The best definition for intimacy I’ve come across is this: “Intimacy is the joy of knowing someone fully and being known by that person with no fear of rejection” (Andy Stanley, The Seven Checkpoints.  Howard Books, 2001. p.81).  I believe we all crave that kind of intimate relationship.  If we listened to the media, we’d think we get that kind of intimacy through sex.  But that intimate relationship comes from sexual purity!

So what are your Moral Boundaries?  Where is your “line” drawn?  How far is too far for you?

In General:

  • The further you go, the faster you go
  • The further you go, the further you want to go
  • The further you go, the more difficult it is to go back

So set clear Moral Boundaries TODAY!  If you wait until you’re alone with your boyfriend/girlfriend to define and defend those boundaries you will eventually go further than you originally want (and further than God wants too!).  Here are four keys to setting clear Moral Boundaries:

  1. Know your own boundaries first, and stick to them
  2. Discuss clear boundaries (if you can’t discuss boundaries, you probably shouldn’t be in this relationship)
  3. Agree on clear boundaries (if you can’t agree on boundaries, you definitely shouldn’t be in this relationship)
  4. Don’t sabotage yourself! (as in: Don’t “hang out” in a house all by yourselves and then wonder why you went too far)

So what do you do if you’ve already gone too far?

  1. Stop! Take a break in the relationship and evaluate whether you need to end it to save yourself.
  2. Drop! Pray.  Confess your sin to God and ask him daily to give you His strength to regain purity.
  3. Roll! Get away from bad influences and get closer to godly influences

Remember God’s love overcomes all sin when you confess and repent.

  • “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:11-12
  • “But God demonstrates is own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8