By Michelle Lindsey
I need your attention for a minute or two. I want to talk about something important. It’s so important that it keeps me up at night trying to figure it out. I can promise you this, it keeps your wife up at night too.
There is no easy solution, and it’s a huge problem. A monster of a problem. But God is bigger than any monster, and He cares about you and your marriage, so I am willing to flip on the light and look it in the eye because I have the Creator of the Universe standing behind me. If God is for us, who can be against us.
It’s not just a man problem. It’s a human problem. And your family needs you to stop ignoring it. You need to talk about it because this issue loves to stay so silent. It stays silent because it’s way easier to pretend it doesn’t exist because nobody really knows what to do about it.
It has torn apart relationships. It has destroyed hearts, stolen innocence, ruined intimacy and traumatized children. It has caused so much harm, there is no way to measure it. It’s so out of control, it almost seems pointless to discuss it.
It’s on the laptop, the iPad, the phone. It is accessed through apps, and oftentimes cannot be tracked. It’s always there. Your whole family can access it with just one click. Let’s not pretend it isn’t happening. The way I see it, we have to talk about it in our homes, and call it out. Because it isn’t going away. Not until all things are redeemed. It affects the way people interact with each other. It chips away until it destroys. It’s death by a thousand cuts.
Let’s look at in in light of the Gospel. OK? I’m not here to sling mud or to shame anyone. My home needs the same protection as yours. The first step is bringing it out in the open so it’s not some dark secret anymore.
Sit your family down and talk together about pornography.
Open the floor so your kids can talk to you. They need to have a safe place they can go to ask questions and they need to hear your thoughts on it. And I’m not talking about one sit down discussion so you can lay down the rules, I’m thinking of it as an ongoing conversation. Lead your family in this.
The statistics are staggering. And don’t tell yourself it doesn’t matter if you speak up. According to Julie Hiramine, author of the book Guardians of Purity, “children whose parents monitor their activity closely are 30 percent less likely to be sexually active compared to children whose parents are less strict monitoring their children’s behaviors.” Clearly it matters if you are dialed in.
I understand this might be a difficult thing to bring up with your spouse because she might be incredibly sensitive about this subject. But be brave, and talk about it anyway. I am a wife, and I would rather know if it’s an issue than allow it to slowly kill my marriage. Because it’s a domino effect. When a person is addicted to porn, they begin to change. They retreat. They become distant. They hate how trapped it makes them feel, because deep down, they know it’s not honoring or life giving.
Remember 20 years ago when someone confessed to viewing pornography? The pastor was called and counseling was set up. Friends met for coffee and gave empathy and prayed about it. It was a big deal. I miss those days. Because now it’s nothing. It’s so mainstream that we don’t even freak out anymore. We are frogs, being boiled.
Please, let’s still freak out, but deal with it correctly. With God. With grace. With love. And protect what we love.
Stand up and be strong. Talk with other men in your church and have a plan. Ask them if they have talked with their kids. Connect with your kids on this. As Josh Mcdowell says,
“Rules without relationship = rebellion.
Relationship without rules = confusion.”
Instead of just giving rules, cultivate a relationship that fosters good communication and trust.
Our kids don’t have the tools to handle the pressure of the media. Do what you can. Take your head out of the sand. (Did you know even Pinterest, sweet little Pinterest, offers porn on their boards?)
Feel free to be wild and crazy and cut off cable. Look at playlists on iPods. Monitor wardrobe choices. Install filters on your computer but remember that kids are very tech savvy. They can get around a lot. A filter will protect your younger kids, but older kids can find ways to access pornography, so this is why you must talk about it together.
Point them to Jesus, so they know He is better. He’s also there when we need forgiveness and grace if we find ourselves in the clutches of pornography.
It’s not just about modifying outward behavior, it’s about God changing hearts. We, as parents, are not so far removed from sin that we can’t sit with our kids in the middle of their struggles and point them to the Cross. Christ paid an enormous price for our lust, and this changes how we view sin. And exposes pornography as dark and evil … something we want to flee from. We must not fall back on good parenting, moral uprightness or following the rules as our game plan.
Tell your kids this: We have to meet sin head on, knowing that we are loved and cherished by God. While we know we should follow Scripture and not fall into sin, we can’t seem to live up to what is expected. Oh, but there is One who did. Jesus. And through faith in Him, you can live without fear and without condemnation.
Attack this issue, but deal with your kids graciously because WOW they live in a tough culture. It’s confusing, and scary. Pornography isn’t tiptoeing around your kids. It’s busting right in and screaming for their attention. Make sure your voice is louder.
About the Author: Michelle Lindsey is a Jesus-loving wife of more than two decades and a homeschooling mom of four who blogs about what happens when romance meets reality (with her adult daughter!) at Nitty Gritty Love. You can find more Nitty Gritty Love on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.