COVID-19 & Social Distancing
COVID-19 has confined many of us to our homes as we practice social distancing. Our objective in social distancing is to limit the amount of contact we have with people in order to stop the transmission of this virus to others. This means that many junior high, high school, and college students are not busy with school and extracurriculars. Rather, they are at home with limited social interactions and limited things to do. This presents us with grave spiritual vulnerability.
One reason this places many of us in a vulnerable situation is because, ever since the fall of man in Genesis 3, many of our God given longings are inclined towards heinous sins due to the sin nature we inherited from Adam. For example, we have a God given longing for seeking praise, but we are often tempted to seek praise from men and women rather than praise from God.
And, for our purposes in this blog, three God given longings that we have are:
- social interactions with the opposite sex,
- sexual attraction to the opposite sex,
- and sexual interactions with the opposite sex.
These are all God given desires that are to lead us to pursue a member of the opposite sex in a God honoring way so that we can pursue them in marriage in order to have an unique and special companionship and intimacy that God specifically and exclusively reserved for the marital union. This is how God created us, and it is beautiful.
However, because of our sin natures, we use these God given desires in corrupt and immoral ways. One such way is through the use of pornography. We take to the web to find “intimacy” that doesn’t really involve true intimacy. We go to our browsers to have an orgasm without companionship. This is the way so many individuals use these God given desires in heinous and deplorable ways. And sadly, the ruling power over the porn industry, Satan, is aware of this.
Satan Capitalizes On Our Spiritual Vulnerability
Seeing an opportunity to capitalize on our sinful inclinations to use our God given desires in terribly immoral ways, porn outlets are giving away free subscriptions during our time of social distancing. Porn outlets are opening up the dark chambers of their nearly limitless illicit videos and letting folks in to find “relief.” They are aware that we, as people, desire intimacy and companionship, so they are going to deceptively offer it through hours upon hours of fake intimacy.
And just to show you how successful Satan has been in his endeavor to draw the sin nature in man to commit sexually heinous sins via the internet, take a look at this chart:
The chart above shows the percent change in traffic day to day. Just think about this; Pornhub traffic was up .1% on February 25, 2020. You can see how this traffic began to significantly increase day after day as more and more people were forced inside. Traffic peaked, according to the chart, at 11.6% on March 17, 2020, after free subscriptions were offered. This is a significant increase in the use of pornography. The COVID-19 global pandemic that brings physical death is leading to a porn pandemic that brings spiritual death. This is a tragedy that we must be aware of.
A Warning to Christians
Christians, though our sin nature no longer reigns, it does remain. In union with Christ, our sin nature has been crucified. However, that crucified sin nature rears its head everyday seeking to wreak havoc in our lives. It seeks to keep us from doing what we know we ought to do as believers in Christ.
With this in mind, you must remain awake and alert during this time of social distancing (1 Peter 5:8). Do what needs to be done in order to crucify the flesh with its hideous sexual passions (Galatians 5:14). Take great measures that will keep you from gratifying the flesh with its immoral desires (Matthew 5:27-31; Galatians 5:16). And, by doing whatever it takes, flee this type of sexual sin (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Also, get educated on how pornography greatly affects the brain by reading helpful articles. Think through all the different ways you actually sin against God when you view pornography. In one helpful article, a Christian blogger named Challies mentioned these eight ways we sin against God when we view pornography:
- We commit the sin of idolatry
- Idolatry is seeking satisfaction and joy in something other than God. As you view pornography, you are seeking satisfaction and joy in it rather than the one true God.
- We commit the sin of adultery
- Jesus said that looking at a woman with lustful intent is adultery. The sheer purpose of pornography is to illicit lust in those who are consuming it. Thus, if you are consuming pornography, you are committing the sin of adultery.
- We commit the sin of deceit
- When we sin we feel shame. When we feel shame we hide sin. This has been happening since the garden of Eden. And, if you are viewing pornography, you will inevitably feel shame. And once you feel shame, you will hide your sin. You’ll erase your browsing history, and you’ll refuse to confess it to friends and family that can help. This is deceitful.
- We commit the sin of theft
- “60 percent of all illegal downloads are of pornographic content” (Challies). This means that, as you download more and more pornography, are likely downloading material that has been stolen.
- We commit the sin of greed
- Greedy people seek to take advantage of other people for their own gain. When we view pornography, we are taking advantage of a woman or man that is made in the image of God for our own sinful gain. We are using that individual in a very shameful way for the express purpose of reaching sexual climax.
- We commit the sin of sloth
- Paul tells us that we are to make the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:15-16). We are to use the limited time we have here for God honoring purposes. When we view pornography, we are using our limited time in a wasteful and God dishonoring way. This is the worst kind of sloth.
- We commit the sin of sexual assault
- “A person who drives a getaway car for a band of bank robbers will rightly be charged with murder for anyone who is killed in committing the crime. The person who voluntarily watches sexual assault for the purposes of titillation is rightly guilty of that sexual assault. And a nauseating quantity of pornography is violent in nature” (Challies).
- We commit the sin of ignoring the Spirit
- When Paul writes about the importance of fleeing sexual sin and impurity he says, “For God has not called you for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thessalonians 4:6). To ignore the warnings the Holy Spirit gives before you view pornography, and even while you are viewing pornography, is a sin against God.
- We commit the sin of idolatry
As a child of God, it should grieve us if we sin against our Heavenly Father in these ways! So resolve, by the power of the Spirit, to refuse to sin in these ways by staying as far away from pornography as possible.
Also, think through reasons you should exit out of your browser and never look at porn again. Challies helps us here as well:
- The cost to your soul
- The cost to your neighbor
- The cost to your church
- The cost to your family
- The cost to your mission
- The cost to your witness
- The cost to your savior
As you can see, pornography costs a great deal. Most people vastly underestimate this truth! Meditate on the costs of committing such a sin and be renewed in your zeal to fight it.
And lastly, think through the warnings of Scripture. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament have significant warnings against sexual sin. Proverbs tells us that sexual sin leads to death (Proverbs 5:5-6). The New Testament shouts that those who are sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:3-5; Galatians 5:19-21). With these warnings in mind, wage war against the sin of viewing pornography like it is seeking to strip you of the salvation that is offered in Christ; for that is exactly what it is seeking to do!
A Warning to Parents
Parents are entrusted with the spiritual well-being of their children. In light of this, parents need to be diligent in protecting their children from the soul ravaging nature of pornography. So here are some things you need to know as a parent (these stats are from a Barna survey conducted from 2014-2016, and the use of pornography has only increased since then):
- The following percentages of men say they view pornography at least once a month: 79% of 18-30 year olds; 67% of 31-49 year olds; 49% of 50-68 year olds.
- The following percentages of men say they view pornography at least several times a week: 63% of 18-30 year olds; 38% of 31-49 year olds; 25% of 50-68 year olds.
- The following percentages of women say they view pornography at least once a month: 76% of 18-30 year olds; 16% of 31-49 year olds; 4% of 50-68 year olds.
- The following percentages of women say they view pornography at least several times a week: 21% of 18-30 year olds; 5% of 31-49 year olds; 0% of 50-68 year olds.
- 55% of married men say they watch porn at least once a month, compared to 70% of unmarried men.
- 25% of married women say they watch porn at least once a month, compared to 16% of unmarried women.
These stats say a lot of things, but the one thing I want you to think through is the use of pornography amongst both men and women. Pornography is no longer a “male” thing to do. An increasing number of women are viewing pornography as well. In light of this, you need to be protecting ALL of your children from pornography. It would be wise to talk to your children about these things. Chances are, if they are over the age of 11-12, they have been exposed to pornography. In regard to this, Challies said:
At age 11, the average child has already been exposed to explicit pornographic content through the internet. 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to internet-based pornography during their adolescent years and 22% of the vast quantities of porn consumed by people aged under 18 is consumed by those aged less than 10. Significance: Parents are nothing short of negligent if they take no steps to protect their children from being exposed to pornography.
Parents must be the front lines of defense when it comes to guarding their children’s souls against pornography. This is especially the case right now during this global pandemic.
A Final Word
Blogs like this are never pleasant to read. They turn the stomach and overwhelm us with sorrow. Yet, it is necessary to discuss these things because this is reality. So, just to offer some comfort, I want to give some words of encouragement.
First, though our sins are like scarlet, in Christ, they have been washed white as snow. Though we will have to give an account of our lives (every click on pornography) on judgment day, we ultimately will not be condemned if we are in Christ. This is the good news of the gospel. Christ bore our sin in his body on the cross. Praise God!
Second, a Spirit dwelt believer can put any sin to death. This is the beauty of the indwelling Spirit. He enables us to die to sin and to live to the glory of God. He gives us the power to say no to pornography and yes to righteousness.
Third, the throne of grace is called the throne of grace for a reason. We, as children of God, can approach our Heavenly Father to receive grace and mercy in a time of need. If you fall into the sin of viewing pornography, do not recoil away from the Lord. Flee to his throne to receive grace and mercy.
Fourth, if you are a parent, you will be held accountable for how you shepherd your children. Ultimately though, your children will be responsible for their own sins. Do what you can to protect them spiritually (there are a lot of helpful resources our there to protect your children by the way) and then entrust them to God.
This blog is entirely too long so this is where I am going to end. I do hope and pray that this will be helpful in many people putting the sin of viewing pornography to death!