The Layman's Bible

Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation

The Problem with Porn

While reading through Isaiah, I came across a rather strange line.  Isaiah 3:12 reads,

Youths oppress my people,
Women rule over them.
O my people, your guides lead you astray;
They turn you from the path.

I didn’t know what to do with this or what it meant, but it appears to suggest that women shouldn’t lead.  As that thought started to cross my mind, the Holy Spirit put the brakes on it.  God isn’t sexist (despite what some people think after reading the Bible).  So instead, the Spirit posed a question to me, “How could young women come into power?”  Hmm…young…women…on top…PORN!  Isaiah 3 is talking about a nation becoming pornified!  Considering that most countries are falling into sex and porn addictions this message seems like one that needs to be looked at.

The Problem with Porn (Kirk in Tribbles)Before getting in too deep, let’s get a little background on pornography as it relates to God.  Did you know that the law does not specifically ban porn?  Sure, we have , “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) and there is the list of people/things we aren’t supposed to have sex with in Leviticus 18; but nowhere will you find, “Don’t gaze at naked people and folks doing it.”  In fact, I suspect that many members of the Pharisees (just like a growing number of our clergy) used this lack of Scripture to justify some sort of porn addiction on their part.  Obviously I have no idea how that would manifest itself in the days before photos and videos, but considering that Rome ruled Israel, it probably wasn’t too hard to take in a live sex show or buy some penis-covered pottery.  I came to this conclusion when the Holy Spirit reminded me that Jesus actually called out the Pharisees for using their eyes for adultery rather than their bodies in his Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus preached, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do 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).  Looking at people lustfully, aside from undressing people with your eyes in public, is basically how one would describe a person taking in pornography.

But the Pharisees weren’t the only ones looking where they shouldn’t.  Most of the world seemed to have a problem.  In fact, when the church opened up its doors to the Gentiles, they made a few special provisions to the new believers (as Gentiles were not required to follow the Law).  From a letter to the Gentiles we read,

It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.  You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell (Acts 15:28-29).

It seems like such a basic request, “abstain from sexual immorality”; but Greece at the time was so inundated by sexual imagery that becoming a Christian in those days would have been a pretty difficult conversion.  Imagine for a second that you are a saved Grecian.  Your friend invites you over for dinner.  You look at the plate; under the food are pictures of naked dudes, so quickly you look up at the wall- naked lady painting.  Oh crap!  Look in the corner- naked lady statue with big boobs!  Quick!  The ceiling!  Oh come on, guys having sex?  Porn was everywhere!  You may think that you have it rough with porn being all over the internet (and TV getting more sexual too), but for a Mediterranean Gentile it was inescapable.

Now, maybe some of you are starting to think that a life surrounded by porn isn’t so bad.  However, porn leads you into bondage by the pornographer.  As we already read,

Youths oppress my people,
Women rule over them.
O my people, your guides lead your astray;
They turn you from the path (Isaiah 3:12).

The Problem with Porn (Big Tribble)Porn is an awful distraction that leads you away from God’s chosen path.  It takes your time, throws your priorities out of whack, it can take your money, it can ruin your relationships, and it can lead you into more sins.  Paul tells us that we should avoid things which can have power over us.  He writes in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).  Porn is just as much of a slave-maker as smoking, alcohol, or drugs, all of which Paul tells us we should stay away from.

So how do we deal with porn?  Well, for the Christian already pulled in by it there is a tough battle ahead.  Lingering sins and post-salvation strongholds are usually tough to beat, even with God cheering you on.  Paul writes on his experience with the sanctification process,

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Corinthians 9:26-27).

Now, I’m not suggesting self-flagellation, nor do I think Paul was when he wrote this.  At the same time, I don’t think Jesus was suggesting literal self-mutilation when he preached,

If your right eye causes you to sin, 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 sin, 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 (Matthew 5:29-30).

If this was the case, then most Christians would have to have maimed themselves by now.  However, I am trying to prepare you and let you know that you have to be ready to actively fight against beating your meat (or whatever the female equivalent is).  As a note, I find it very funny that immediately after Jesus talks about looking at people lustfully, he talks about eyes and right hands causing you to sin.  Who says God isn’t watching?

I think a big burden falls on what we as a society consider acceptable- and here comes the puritan speech: What we allow out in public affects what we do in private.  What with sexual revolutions, increased tolerance of sexual immorality, sex in advertising, and whatnot- it’s no wonder that people are being drawn into pornography.  God actually saw this coming, so he noted in Isaiah 3:16,

The Lord says,
“The women of Zion are haughty,
Walking along with outstretched necks,
Flirting with their eyes,
Tripping along with mincing steps,
With ornaments jingling on their ankles.”

As you can see, the problem starts with someone flaunting themselves in public.  There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your gender; what’s important is how you act in that pride.  Now I’m all for men and women having the same rights.  However, I do think there needs to be some standards of decency.  For example, we don’t need scantily clad women on our billboards.  Or consider this; most men don’t walk around in their underwear, so why are women wearing crazy short skirts?  We may condemn porn, but our actions only strengthen it.  For those of you women out there, here’s a handy rule of thumb: If you have to worry about how much people will see of you when you’re walking up stairs- your skirt is probably too short.  Oddly enough, this actually is addressed in the Law.  To a people who all wore some sort of skirt God commands, “And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it” (Exodus 20:26).  If your wardrobe is causing your nakedness to be exposed, then you probably need to adjust it.

I really feel for the women getting sucked into porn though; for God puts most of the punishment on them.  Things continue in Isaiah,

“Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;
The Lord will make their scalps bald.”

In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls (Isaiah 3:17-23).

Everything porn money brings will come to ashes.  And what about those girls’ reputations?  No man wants to marry a gal with naked pictures or video on the internet; and with webcams and revenge porn on the rise, many more women will be facing that problem in the coming years.  This too was predicted by the Lord,

In that day seven women
Will take hold of one man
And say, “We will eat our own food
And provide our own clothes;
Only let us be called by your name.
Take away our disgrace!” (Isaiah 4:1)

What may seem like a quick way to make money now will have problematic implications in the future.  If you’re considering starting down the road of working in the porn industry, turn back- Christian or not- you will regret what your life becomes.

But it’s never too late to get out.  The Bible says, “Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5).  Turn to God (or back to God) through Christ and he will forgive you and do his best to clean up your mess.  Jesus died to make you clean in God’s eyes and he continues to pray on your behalf from heaven.  Trust in Jesus and repent of porn (no matter if you’re viewing it or making it); for the Bible says,

Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem.  The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.  Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy.  It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain (Isaiah 4:3-6).

Rock on God!

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This entry was posted on July 23, 2014 by in Bible Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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