Ask The Preacher's Wife: Is Watching Pornography Wrong?
Ooooooh girl! You really want to broach a subject that rarely gets talked about in church, is completely taboo, and is gonna make the Church Mothers choke on a piece of Strawberry Church Mother Candy????
Shoooooooooot, girl, you ain’t said nothing but a word! Let’s get right to it!
Note: Someone please call the Church Nurse to administer the Heimlich Maneuver. We do not want Mother Pearlene “Going Up Yonder” any time soon!
First, let me answer the glaring question. NOTHING can separate you from God’s love. Nothing can make you “less” of a Christian.
I’ve addressed salvation in other blog posts, and I will continue to say the same thing, in order for the body of believers to understand how salvation works.
In my response in Ask The Preacher’s Wife, Can I Love God And Still Be Suicidal, I talked about the foundation of our faith:
“Your love for God has nothing to do with the condition of your mental, physical, or emotional health. Your faith, and subsequent love for God, is based on the belief that Jesus, the living incarnation of God, came, lived, was crucified, dead, and buried, was resurrected on the 3rd day, and ascended into heaven to sit with God. THAT’S your faith. DASSIT!
Let somebody hold your mule while you shout right there!
Because you have been saved by grace (accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), the state of your mind cannot separate you from God’s love. Nothing can! It says so in the Bible! If you are a believer in Christ, your faith, and your salvation is not based on what you do, who you are, or the status of your mental health [or what you watch on television].”
I added that last caption if you couldn’t tell.
We are talking about understanding God’s grace and mercy. While we know that nothing can separate us from God’s love, and we recognize that God blesses both the righteous and unrighteous, as believers, we do not want to take God’s mercy for granted. Therefore, we don’t want to continually do things that are out of line with God’s original plan, and simply ask for God’s forgiveness, without true repentance (turning away from sin).
However, as Christians, our faith is lived out through our actions, and it is only by the process of sanctification that we are continually working towards God’s standard.
What Does The Bible Say About Pornography?
Now sis, I have to get The Preacher involved to help answer this question. I am not a theologian, and this topic is so vast, I have requested that The Preacher make a guest appearance on this blog post. This may or may not be his last appearance, depending on how he does. But, go get your popcorn, he may have 3 points and a hoop at the end!
I’d like to introduce to some and present to others, my husband, The Preacher, Rev. Dr. Stanley Hearst, II. Hear ye him!
Greetings to all of the #UsherBoard!
First, let me thank my wife for the opportunity to share my thoughts in this space. I am encouraged by this blog, and the ministry that God has birthed in her, because this is a space where folks can be real, and ask questions that sometimes never get addressed in church, like her post, I am In A Same-Sex Relationship And Struggling To Reconnect With Christ.
JL, your question has so many layers, and is so necessary for discussion because you are not the only one in the Body of Christ watching pornography.
I'm going to do my best in a limited amount of time to respond to your question from this pastor's perspective. I'll start with your concluding question, and I'd ask that you allow me to work out my thoughts from the end of your question to the beginning.
Let me be clear, the viewing of pornography is not in God's will for a Disciple of Jesus Christ!
Does watching pornography make me "less of a Christian?"
The easy answer is NO! There aren't levels to our Christianity in regards to our salvation. Our saving faith is rooted in our confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, and belief in our heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). Nothing more, nothing less. You are not less of a Christian.
"I often feel like I'm committing a sin, and that it's "dirty." Is it wrong?
I would argue that the feeling you’re experiencing is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit inside of you. When we are connected to Christ, the Spirit lives within us, and will always give us an indication/nudging/whisper/reminder when we're outside of God's will.
The fruit of the Spirit can be found in Galatians 5:22-23, and the final characteristic on that list is "self-control."
There is always a battle between our carnal nature, and the Spirit of God that lives within, and God's Spirit is there to check us when it comes to sin. A simple definition of sin is missing the mark set by God, and when a Jesus follower misses the mark, or sins, we should be convicted internally, and moved to a place of repentance (turning away). The scary moment comes when we sin and don't feel anything inside.
If we're going to be honest, there are Christians who view sex overall as dirty, including watching pornography, but still struggle with it.
Historically the Church has done a poor job talking about sex. So many in the Church learn about sex from the world, and we know the world’s ways are antithetical to the Kingdom.
God created us as sexual beings, and because we don't discuss the divine origin of sex, the purpose of sex, the beauty of sex, the mutual satisfaction that should be found in sex, we leave it up to those who don't believe in God to define what sex looks like for us, and eventually we arrive at pornography as we know it today.
I'll address this last point, and then turn it over to Lady Mel.
"So sometimes I like to watch porn to "spice it up." Of course I'm married and sometimes it helps my husband and I keep things fun in the bedroom."
Pornography (sexually explicit videos, photographs, writings, or the like, whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal) is not new-- from hieroglyphics in Kemet (Ancient Egypt), to paintings on bathhouse walls in Rome, to the first picture taken in the early 19th century, to the first motion picture made in the early 20th century. Whenever there was a medium invented to share information, porn would soon follow.
I believe the reason that pornography has such a stranglehold on believers is because we have not been taught about sex from a biblical perspective, and our conservatism (passed on to us though a Christianity infected by white supremacy), paralyzes us from being liberated, or praying for others to be liberated from bondage.
Also, porn stirs up the spirit of lust (an intense sexual desire or appetite) inside of us, and because the Church has been such an unsafe space for many, people deal with lust without any guidance or support.
Sex was created by God (Genesis 1:28), and the stated purpose was to "Be fruitful and multiply." Reading in between the lines we also can gather that pleasure was attached to the creation of sex as well, and God's original design for covenant relationships is discovered in the next chapter. "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they became one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:24) There was no shame because there was no sin.
Sin comes into the picture in Genesis 3, turns the world upside down, and Satan takes his place as the prince of this world. Satan's desire was to be God (Isaiah 14:13), and because of this everything that God does, Satan wants to do, but with the opposite intent.
God is good; Satan is evil. God is love; Satan is hate. God is the truth; Satan is the father of lies. God created sex to be enjoyed in the covenant of marriage, so Satan takes sex, perverts it, and encourages humanity to do whatever we feel like doing. From this encouragement from Satan, the counterfeit, pornography is birthed, and with that industry comes exploitation, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, the dehumanization of women, and a twisted understanding of sexual relationships.
I would conclude this by saying Disciples of Christ don't need pornography to "spice it up," but rather love, respect, communication, therapy if needed, and the knowledge that God created sex to be a beautiful act shared between a married couple.
I hope this has answered your question and you can begin the process of examining your heart and mind about your understanding of God’s design for sex.
That’s my boo right there! Go head Husband…witcho fine self!
Pardon me, back to the question.
Now, that we can understand this from a biblical perspective, I just want to reiterate a few important points about this, that The Preacher touched on.
First, many of us have to readjust our perspective about sex in general. Because we haven’t been taught about sex from a biblical perspective, we go into marriage with unhealthy and unrealistic expectations about sex. This can cause issues of guilt, inadequacy, and disgust, when trying to establish a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship with our spouses within marriage.
Secondly, because historically, our church and black cultural practices stifle healthy discussions about sex, many couples enter marriage without knowing how to openly communicate with their spouses about it. Lack of communication can lead to resentment, anger, and internal guilt.
Therefore, if you and your husband are struggling with communication, especially in this area, locate a licensed marriage counselor, therapist, or sexologist (yes, they do exist), and get some guidance. Learning how to communicate effectively is key, especially when it comes to sex.
Also, I encourage each of you to get a check up with your primary care doctor to make sure each of you are sexually functioning at peak levels, because let’s be honest, you can’t act like a rabbit if something is array, which causes you to act like a tortoise (Somebody understands what I’m saying).
Finally, pick up the Bible and read! I know you’re like WHATTTT?
Yes girl! Song of Solomon is THEE book to read about sex. That’s where all the sex is discussed. Even…ORAL SEX!!!
My prayer is that you will be encouraged by this response and begin to reevaluate your understanding of sex and intimacy, without feelings of guilt or shame. God made us sexual beings for a reason, and God’s intent is for us to enjoy sexual intimacy with our spouses in marriage.
Note: Yes, I’m talking to the married folk. Sex outside of marriage is a different conversation for a different day.
Love you for real!