“Pornography is wrong–Why?” If you work with teens long enough you will inevitably be asked this all-too-important question.
As a mother of sons, you would do well to prepare yourself to answer your son’s questions about pornography–before he asks. Better yet, learn to have open communication with your son, so you are comfortable bringing up the topic of pornography’s influence on him, when you discern the time is right.
I can think of no better way to prepare yourself than to listen to some insights from people who have experience in training young men to think biblically about this controversial topic of pornography.
As a Resident Director at a Christian College my son-in-law, Jacob Ebner, has counseled many young men who struggle with pornography, so I asked him if he could share some insights for mothers regarding this sensate issue. Here is his response:
“The reason porn is so destructive to your son’s body, heart, and relationship with Christ can be found in 1 Corinthians 6. His body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Sexual sin is sin against the body, and since the body houses the Spirit, sexual sin therefore grieves the Spirit.
Pornography presumes that a person has full rights to his own body to do with it whatever he pleases. Whether it be looking with lust on a woman and therefore committing adultery in one’s heart or indulging in illicit sex of any kind, it is treating the blood of Christ with contempt because we have been bought with a price. We are no longer our own: therefore, we are called to glorify Christ with our bodies. Our bodies are to be instruments of righteousness, not wickedness, because we use our physical bodies to worship God.
Pornography offers a cheap counterfeit of what God intended for marriage and sex to be, which is representation of Christ’s marriage to His bride, and His love for the church. Christ’s desire is that the church, His bride, be presented to Him as pure and spotless, washed by His blood. This is our ultimate motivation to remain pure in all that we do (see Romans 6; 12:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)” *
Pornography – Is it Really that Big of a Deal?
In this age of active Internet usage, much of your son’s social interaction will probably take place online. If your son has an account on a social network, I strongly encourage you to have an account as well. You are responsible to keep your son from adopting a culture you know nothing about, so if you are going to allow your son to go online, learn how to use the Internet.
Be sure you son knows you will be “following” him and his friends online. You do not want to appear suspicious or threatening, but help your son understand, that he will be held accountable for how he uses the privilege of social media. Because you pay for your son’s internet access, computer, and electricity, and because you are his parent, you have every right to set up restrictions, or revoke online privileges if he abuses them.
I am continually amazed at how many mothers complain about what their son’s expose themselves to online yet it never occurs to them to monitor their son’s internet usage.
Allowing your son to spend hours of unsupervised time on the Internet is unwise. The best way to keep your son from becoming addicted to pornography is to teach him how, and why, to guard himself, before he finds himself in its clutches. I promise you this; if you do not supervise your son’s internet usage, he will be exposed to pornography.
A reasonable way to protect your son from the seductions he may find online is to require your son to spend his Internet time in an area where the family fellowships, rather than alone in his room.
About 15 years ago, my husband began getting numerous phone calls from tearful mothers because their sons were viewing disgusting pornographic images online. Many of these boys were raised in Christian homes and they justified their activity as a way to remain “pure” until marriage.
Sadly, the door these young men opened would not easily close after they got married. Many of them would weep over their transgression, only to find themselves shamefully back at the computer screen late at night while their precious wives slept in the other room.
Byron Yawn, author of What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him, explains how the man caught in pornography knows full well how irrational his bondage is. However, Yawns says that when well-meaning Christians try to help someone break the bondage of porn by offering consequences, or accountability they are missing what the person really needs is:
-To be reminded that he is accepted by God through the finished work of Jesus Christ
-That he can stop striving to be perfect and start resting in Christ’s perfection.
-God has already forgiven him for his failure to be a perfect human being
-The grace of God will help him repent of the root and not just the symptom
-The cross is the remedy. Sacrificial love and self-sacrifice brought to us in the cross of Christ and free us from the self-indulgent shackles pornography binds to our desires.” for more insights see Galatians 2:16, 21.**
DO NOT BE DECEIVED
Do not be deceived into thinking pornography is not destructive to your son. Scripture is clear on this–1 Thessalonians 4:3 urges us to avoid sexual immorality, for God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness (verse 7). First Corinthians 6:18-20 says to flee sexual immorality, for a Christian’s body belongs to God. And Hebrews 13:4 says to keep the marriage bed undefiled.
The shameful practices involving pornographic material will sow seeds of destruction in your son’s life, and indulging in porn now will steal from him the pleasure of his marriage bed in the future. You, who are wise and led by the Lord, must not look the other way in this matter.
Although the world says there is no harm in allowing your son to indulge in pornography, wisely consider God’s warning in Proverbs 22:8: He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow.*
Any Christian caught in a habitual sin will not be led by the Spirit. (1Thess 5:19). In the case of pornography addictions, consider how your son’s sin will quench the Spirit in his heart. When this happens, your son forfeits the leading of the Spirit in all areas of his life. Think about what this steals from your son. When the Spirit is quenched, he will not:
- Be a passionate Christ follower
- Have the Spirit’s influence in the decisions he makes for his friends, dating relationships, or plans for his future
- Have the joy of the Lord as his strength
God has given you, and your son’s father if he is involved in his life, the responsibility of training your son how to guard his young and impressionable heart. (If you son’s father is not a believer, or involved in his life, I suggest you seek out godly mentors, such as your son’s youth pastor.)
So mom, you would do well to help your son to think biblically about sexual purity in all aspects of his life. And to look ahead to what consequences the momentary pleasures of pornography will bring to him in the future.
Remind your son:
1. How the Lord can one day lead him to a precious, godly woman to marry if He follows the Lord’s plan for his life.
2. Help your son see how disciplining himself in this area now, will keep him pure for her both in mind, and body. And will make him sensitive to the Lord’s leading to a godly woman, when one day he wants to marry.
Along with respectfully teaching your son the far-reaching consequences of pornography, and the rewards of pursuing holiness, remember “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful in its working (James 5:16). So, pray, pray, and pray some more for your son’s purity––in all areas of his life…and for that precious girl he will one day take as his bride.
*Rhonda Stoppe, Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, Harvest House Publishers 2013
**Byron Yawn, author of What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him Harvest House Publishers 2013.