Friday, June 12, 2015

Is Viewing Pornography Adultery?

This post was written by Ken.

Is porn adultery? The quick answer is no, but it can be worse than adultery in the damage it can cause to the sinner and the ones he is sinning against: his wife, family and the Lord.

Unfortunately, too many women use their husbands looking at porn as a significant excuse to divorce their husbands without first looking at what the Bible says and without evaluating the many levels of what is called "porn" today. Many in the church think that pornography is the same as adultery; therefore, they have grounds for divorce. This question was asked recently on a post and I loved how Amanda, Cabinetman's wife, answered it ~

I think too often the root issue with trying to classify porn as adultery is a desire to justify divorce. Porn is sin. It needs to be repented of and rejected, but the Bible does not give it the automatic green light for divorce that many Christians believe it does. Biblically, while adultery was granted as an option for justifiable divorce, it was never commanded. As with any sin, repentance and reconciliation is, at the heart of the matter, what God desires. Why do I say this? Marriage is an earthly show of Christ's relationship with the church. We sin and commit spiritual adultery against Christ. Praise God, he doesn't take up our first sin {which He MOST RIGHTFULLY COULD} or second, or third sin as a reason to divorce us from the family of God. 

Porn is not the same as a physical encounter of sex with a real live person. Both are awful sins, but one may do far more damage to a relationship and to one's marriage vows than does the other. Some recently have proclaimed that just a touching a woman inappropriately on the chest is rape.  Where does this nonsense come from and when will it end? If we are going to follow this bad logic down the slippery slope, we will have Christians murdering other Christians in their hearts during angry conversations, even while at church. 

Yes, Jesus did say, 
that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart,”  but then added, “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you” {Matthew 5:28-29}. We don’t have a lot of one-eyed, one-handed Christians roaming around precisely because we understand the hyperbole which Jesus is using to make His point as the new law giver in the Sermon on the Mount. No man can live up to God’s standards and in God’s economy; even the small sin is enough to separate us completely from the love of God for eternity. But this story is not over as Christ Jesus provides an answer for sin and salvation by way of the cross. 

Words matter and the exact structure of those words matter a great deal when it comes to interpreting the Scriptures. Jesus gives us a stern lesson on porn when He tells us that looking at a woman with lust is committing "adultery in his heart." This is not the same as physical adultery as there are many things we commit in our hearts that we may never commit with our deeds in real life. Guarding one's heart is the way to keep from sinning as sin always starts in our hearts; the seat of what we are thinking ~

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:18).
“For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).

All porn, soft or hard core is sin, but we must be careful not to paint every sin of looking at a naked body as "adultery." It is alarming that surveys say 55% of Christian men look at porn at least once a month, but there is a huge difference between viewing a naked body and watching actual sex acts, especially heinous detestable acts. We can't have 55% of Christian marriages divorcing without gutting God's will for marriage and the church.  If we don't find wisdom and discernment in how we judge between sins we can easily fall into sin ourselves; the sins of self-righteousness, unforgiveness and being judgmental, to name just a few. Imagine the wife who rations sex to her husband twice a month because, "That is all he should need," yet is ready to destroy her marriage when she finds he is looking at naked butts or boobs. "Porn!" she screams, "Adultery!"  "Look what Jesus said and now I am getting a divorce."

I can't say it every paragraph, but looking at naked bodies outside of marriage is outside of God's design and will. Husbands are to get their sexual fulfillment within their own marriage bed, and no matter how much a wife complicates this demand of God by defrauding her husband, this can never be an excuse for his sins. God never says we get the green light to sin when someone sins against us. Instead he says we are to repay evil with doing good.

As Believers we are to "turn the other cheek" and to be like Jesus. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: … he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

So what should be the take away from this post. To wives and husbands who find their spouse involved in sexual sins, be wise and let your judgement discern the extent of the sin before jumping to the conclusion that it is far worse than others sins, especially your own sins. Just as touching a person in any sexual way is sin outside of marriage, yet is not rape, so too is viewing any sex outside of marriage sin, but not adultery. No matter what your spouse's sins, you are to shine Jesus to them, and to sanctify him/her by your godly behavior. This means suffering for Christ's sake and the sake of your marriage and family; yet not silently, without calling sin 'sin,' and seeking a solution to stopping it. Instead, we are to act with the mind of our suffering Lord Jesus who took all our sins, because of His great love, so we may be saved. God wants marriages everywhere to stay together, even marriages that are in sin. Keep this in mind if you are seeking the mind of God in looking at divorce. There are far too many great success stories of husbands and wives winning each other from the pit of hell to give up without fighting for your marriage.

If you are involved in porn or any sexual sin outside of marriage, there is no excuse, especially the blaming of your spouse for your sins. But hardcore addictive porn may actually be worse than had a spouse committed adultery because its pervasive tentacles are so hard to cure, and its damage to the brain and relationships so devastating. Yet, if we know anything about Jesus, His salvation covers all sins, and is complete, except for the sin of unbelief.

For those who are locked in the grips of porn, don't think it is a personal sin that does not affect others just because it is hidden. Satan has you right where he wants you, and having given in to porn it will be ten times harder to say "NO" to the next level of porn, and to real sex outside of your marriage when the opportunity presents itself. If you do not understand that it is the little sins that almost always grow into bigger ones unless they are uprooted, you need to study your adversary the Devil and see how he does his evil work in people. Rarely if ever does a big sin happen without first giving the Father of Lies a foothold in your life through regularly practicing smaller sins. Instead, ask yourself if what you are doing meets this test of the Believer and what we put into our hearts and minds. For out of our hearts and what we are thinking flows who we truly are inside.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
 Philippians 4:8