Pornography, Lust, and Covenant Eyes

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (TNIV)

A scary comment, is it not? Lust is an issue that is all too common to the human condition. But common does not equate normal, and it does not excuse the issue. And yet this is an issue we glaze over. One we won’t or don’t talk about. One maybe we’re ashamed to talk about.

But talk we must. Lust is a real issue. As someone proclaiming faith in Christ, it is risky to stop by a local strip club or an adult bookstore/video store (as if there is anything truly adult about it). But internet porn? That’s safer. It’s anonymous after all, and who does it really hurt?

Think that possibly I’m making a bigger issue out of this then I should? Well, consider the following statistics:

  • Of total internet users, 40% view internet pornography once a month
  • When speaking of 18-34 year old men, that number goes up to 70%
  • One study says 90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed internet porn
  • The average age of first exposure to internet porn is 11 years old
  • Some studies suggest that 1 of 3 internet porn viewers is female

This is just a sample of the statistics floating out there on the issue. And those partaking aren’t on the fringe of society, it’s not just the bad kids, or the deviant adults. For example, multiple years ago I did a small survey of high school guys. Now, these were pretty “good” kids. The ones who made their parents proud and had girls’ parents’ blessings to date their daughters. But consistently 9 out of 10 said they had viewed and/or struggled with pornography. This is not an anomaly, it’s the norm.

For some time now, in my capacity working with students at The Crossing, I have endorsed a program called Covenant Eyes, a web accountability program. I’ve felt so strongly about this because I believe that internet pornography is an especially enslaving sin facing teenagers. And notice, I said “teenagers,” not “teenage boys.” From conversations with parents and from nation-wide studies it is clear that pornography usage is on the rise for females as well.

So if you’re a parent reading this…strongly consider putting this software on your computer.

But that isn’t enough. Because some men, and women, reading this right now are trapped in this enslaving cycle with pornography. And if you’re not actively struggling with it…are you out of the reach of this seductive sin? If you’re answer is yes, I would challenge that you might not know the depth of your ability to sin (specifically if you’re a guy…don’t ever think you’re above this).

I have had this software on my computer for several years now. The accountability logs, which monitor every website I visit, are sent via email weekly to my wife and my two best friends. Do you know why I go to these lengths? Because it’s just not worth the temptation. I’m weak, I’m sinful. I don’t need help. I don’t need extra opportunities. It’s just not worth it.

Directly after the previous passage, Christ says this, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” This is not literal, for we do not need our eyes to lust, we only need our brain. But Christ’s point is this: our sin is a matter of eternal life and eternal death, and thus, we must be willing to go to great and drastic lengths to fight our sin. For those struggling with lust and pornography, this program is a step in cutting off the hand and gouging out the eye.

Check out Covenant Eyes, I beg you to consider investing this small amount of money (8 bucks a month or less) to protect your children’s eyes and hearts, as well as your own. Covenant Eyes has two options: an accountability program (which does not block anything, but sends a report of all activity to accountability partners…I recommend this highly) and a newly designed filter.

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