Pornography and the Heart
|The woman caught in adultery. (John 8: 1-11)|
This recent article rightly points to pornography as a factor to an increasingly lax attitude toward marital infidelity among younger adults:
In July, Ashley Madison—the infamous cheating website whose 37 million clients were exposed by a hacker last year—launched a new ad campaign aimed at rebranding the commercialization of infidelity. According to The Atlantic, the changes include a new tagline—from the in-your-face, “life is short, have an affair,” to the perhaps more subtle, “Find your moment.” The company’s president explained the rebrand as an effort to “evolve, grow and attune to modern sexuality in 2016.”
While Ashley Madison’s creators might be trying to revamp the public image of cheating-for-hire, the vast majority of American adults still disapprove of cheating on a spouse. But that might be changing among younger generations, according to new research from Paul Hemez at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) at Bowling Green State University.
Hemez used data from the General Social Survey (GSS) to examine adult attitudes about marital infidelity, including changes in attitudes since 1973, as well as by age, gender, education, marital status, and race in 2014. He found that since the early 1970s, American adults have generally become more disapproving of infidelity—with disapproval increasing by 20 percent between 1973 to 2008 when 84 percent agreed that it’s “always wrong” for a married person to have sexual relations with someone other than their spouse. However, in 2014, the proportion of Americans who agreed that extramarital sexual relations are “always wrong” declined to 79 percent (see Figure 1).
(Millennials, Infidelity and Porn by Alysse ElHage at Family Studies)Some might think pornography is a harmless form of entertainment, but for the Christian, it is a much graver sin than the world regards it as; it is lust, and we must not forget or water down what our Lord says about it:
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27, 28 AKJV)
I believe another culprit for the decline in American adults disapproval of marital infidelity might be the divorce, marital unfaithfulness, and disrespect for marriage they've seen from previous generations. This doesn't minimize the wickedness or devastation pornography does to a person's heart and the sad consequence of its impact on marriages and families, but it's also a fruit of unrelenting attacks upon marriage by modern society.
Sadly, today in American culture we have two candidates for President which have sexual scandals attached to their families: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Those of us who were adults in the 1990's very well remember the humiliation Pres. Bill Clinton brought to his wife, daughter, and the United States while in office. I'm not going to rehash the scandals here, but I do want to remind folks of how he disrespected his office and loved ones. I'm doing this in order for us to (hopefully) learn from the past, as one's morals do matter when elected to public office.
We now have a presidential candidate for the GOP, Donald Trump, who has been connected with family scandal. It's common knowledge he's been married three times and has bragged about his weakness for beautiful women. I sincerely hope and pray he has changed and will be a good husband to Melania Trump, who sadly has her own scandalous baggage with pornographic photos taken while she was a model. (I am not going to link to them here, but they aren't hard to find on the web.)
So, how has America come to such dire straits? Maybe part of the blame is us - the Church. We need to call sin what it is and repent of our laxity and toleration toward it. We also need to model chaste behavior before our children and neighbors. But above all, friends, we need to be bold in sharing the Gospel with others. You don't need a bullhorn (though I appreciate those who do proclaim repentance and salvation loudly!), but a holy, chaste life will speak volumes to others. Plus, you can make a practice of including a Bible tract or a quote from Scripture in Greeting Cards or notes to friends and loved ones.
We all have a gift from the Lord we can use to point others to Christ. Don't be afraid to use it, especially in front of those who are unchurched.
In conclusion, I believe there is still hope for America and it's found in the light of the Gospel. Let's not become discouraged, but instead let's repent of our apathy and toleration of wickedness. Then we can boldly go forth proclaiming Jesus Christ is King!
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid." (Matthew 5:14 AKJV)May we, God's people in America, once more shine light into the darkness. Amen.