Several years ago, my family was on vacation when my husband received a frantic call from his sister. She was crying so hard that my husband could not understand what she was trying to say. After several minutes, she was able to calm down long enough to tell my husband what she was trying to say: her husband had been arrested for trying to satisfy a pornographic perversion. The story even made the local news. All of us who knew him were in disbelief. The evidence against him was damning. Was this really the brother-in-law I’d known for so many years? Needless to say, the world of our entire family was rocked. My brother-in-law, his wife and family, were humiliated and ashamed, and my husband’s sister went into depression. Anger and a feeling of betrayal were her constant companions. How had this all begun?
Before my brother-in-law was even a teenager, pornography was introduced to him by older cousins. We learned later that our brother-in-law had struggled and fought against an addiction to pornography for nearly 35 years. He felt ashamed and did not want to tell anyone, and to our knowledge, did not tell anyone about his constant battle with this addiction. However, it had left its mark. He immediately lost his job, and nearly lost his marriage. For several months his children were estranged from him. They could not understand what their father had done or why he had done it. They were faced with the same thoughts: who is this man who calls himself our father? How could he have done this to us? How could he have done this to our mother?
Road to Recovery
The road to recovery from this addiction has not been easy. The first year was the hardest. The community in which my brother-in-law and sister-in-law lived was divided. Some were hateful to him, others showed pity. Counseling was sought and tools were given that helped to heal an ailing marriage and an overpowering addiction. Time has helped to heal the wounds of this particular situation, but to this day, this remains an unforgettable and shocking experience for our family.
Years ago I heard a morality tale about a young man at the top of a mountain. As he descended the mountain, he noticed a rattlesnake curled on a warm rock. The snake spoke to him and asked him to carry him to the bottom of the mountain. The young man was hesitant, “But you’re a rattlesnake. You might bite me and I would die.” “I promise I will not bite you. Please just carry me down.” The young man conceded to the request and carried the snake down the mountain. As he put the snake down, it bit him on the hand. “Why did you do that?! Why did you bite me? You promised you wouldn’t!” The snake then replied, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”
Why do people start viewing pornography? My first guess would be curiosity. Unfortunately many in society have developed an unbelievable tolerance to pornography because they believe it’s a natural thing to do. They may surmise that this is a man’s nature. They cannot help themselves. They want to view naked women. They need a “release.” To these surmisers, I would say, “rubbish.” People can and do exercise self-control every day in tempting situations. The trick is to not go anywhere near these situations, and if they arise, get out of there quickly.
A New Target
Currently, the world of pornography has a new target: women and teens. They want to make it more appealing to them and get them addicted to the practice of viewing and reading porn. To these women and children, I would say, don’t touch it! It is the filthiest of the filthy evil bile ever created by man. Anyone who has ever touched pornography in any way, has never walked away a better person because of it. Often those who view it become addicted, and it begins its acidic decay into the brain, affecting work performance, marital relations, and meaningful relationships with people. It sullies everything which matters most: work, family, community.
To give you another sad example of the tragic outcome of pornography: several years ago, my niece married a man who was addicted to pornography. She did not know this at the time. After a short while it became apparent that he was. He would tell her he would not be intimate with her unless she spent more time at the gym. He told her her breasts were too small and encouraged breast augmentation and other cosmetic surgery. He was never happy with anything she said or did. What was happening here? He was comparing her to the latest porn queen, and she was not measuring up. After several months, their marriage ended.
As I said before, do not touch pornography. Don’t think that viewing it one time for kicks or out of curiosity will be a harmless thing to do. Think of the snake. Don’t pick it up. Don’t touch it. It is a damning practice in every way, meant to destroy the beautiful spirits of men and women by debasing them into objects of lust. It only harms. It is the most fatal poison to a normal mind in the way it warps and twists what is beautiful, meaningful and miraculous: the human body and the act of intimacy between a married couple.
If you are addicted to pornography or are starting to dabble in pornography, get help. Don’t delay. The sooner you begin recovery, the sooner you can put your life back in order before you lose that which matters most.