Porn, The Gospel, and A Letter to My Children

My 1st Encounter With Porn

Even though I wish I could forget, I remember it like it was yesterday. The first time I was exposed to pornography. I was 11 years old and in a bookstore in the mall. As I often did, I ran to the magazine section of the bookstore while mom browsed and grabbed Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine, sat on a wooden stool in that section, and started to thumb through it.

That’s when a group of guys, presumably college students or in their 20’s came by. I knew by words coming out of their mouths that they weren’t there to look at SI for Kids like me. That’s when one of the guys thought it would be funny to kneel down beside me and look at his magazine right next to me, purposely holding the magazine towards me in an attempt to make me uncomfortable or maybe even coax a response. The rest of the guys stood around me.

It might have been Playboy or Maxim, not sure, but I knew it wasn’t something I should be seeing and instantly felt guilty. The naked bodies of women being ‘consensually exploited’ by men around the world were being used by these men to scare me and for their own humor.

I was scared. I felt all alone with those guys. And I felt so guilty and shamed that I don’t believe I ever shared the story with a single soul. But it had happened. Despite my safe environment, my parent’s loving care of my soul, and my innocent desire to read a magazine, I had encountered pornography for the first time.

No One’s Immune

As I think back on that story at this stage in my life I can’t help but think of the children that God may one day bless my wife and I with. That was 2001. This is 2014. If anything has changed since then it is only this: Porn is more and more accessible, more and more extreme, more and more anonymous, more and more affordable, and no one is immune from its debilitating effects. With the stories that flood the news each day revolving around the continued sexualization of our society, I cannot help but think about this.

Porn is more and more accessible, more and more extreme, more and more anonymous, more and more affordable, and no one is immune from its debilitating effects.

It’s very unlikely that in the culture my children will grow up in that they will not be exposed to porn at some point. And so, my number one concern cannot nor should be that I will protect them from exposure (although it is a concern to protect them). My number one concern should be that I teach them what to do with the exposure when it comes in through their eye gate.

Abhor What is Evil

Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” As a daddy I need to get it that my children will be exposed to evil. In fact, they are conceived in evil and will never escape exposure to evil because their very hearts are desperately wicked.

Jesus was murdered because of God’s right hatred for lust, porn, adultery, and all other forms of evil present in our hearts.

But I also need to get it that as a daddy I have been tasked by God to teach them to abhor it and what genuine love is. The love of the cross of Jesus that regards others as better than ourselves and provides salvation and beauty, not death and destruction. My prayer is that God will give me the grace to teach my children what genuine love is before society hijacks their understanding of love. One way of doing this is to model what it looks like to abhor evil, false loves. To be a porn hater. To be an exploitation hater. To be a sin hater. I want my kids to know, before they ever stumble upon porn at 11, before they ever search for porn on their iPods, before they are ever handed a sex novel in high school, and before they ever betray their marriage vows to their future spouses, that God hates what is evil. He hates what is dishonorable. Jesus was murdered because of God’s right hatred for lust, porn, adultery, and all other forms of evil present in our hearts.

Hold Fast to What is Good

Genuine love is not just understanding and hating evil, nor can understanding and hating evil happen until we know and love what is good. I don’t want my kid’s first encounter with sex to be some degrading video of a woman being taken advantage of by a man. I don’t want my kid’s first understanding of sex to be something that is dirty.

I don’t want my children to run from sex; I want them to run to God to understand sex.

I want my children to know that, like everything else, God created sex for good. That sex itself is good. It is beautiful. I don’t want them to run from sex; I want them to run to God to understand sex. Because I truly believe that when you get a sight for what is good and hold on to that, the temptation to run to lesser, maimed distortions of things that God says are evil weakens.

The temptation doesn’t go away, nor will it ever be fully stamped out of their growing hearts throughout their lives, but a sight of Christ’s love for his church, for a husband’s love for his bride, for a church’s love for one another serve as pointers away from what is evil towards what is good. And that is what I pray they will hold fast to!

Porn, The Gospel, & A Letter to My Children

Ultimately I want my kids to see Jesus’ love for their individual souls. I want them to see true love in Jesus. And so, to my future children:

Little child,

Genuine love is this: That Christ laid down his own life for your own soul. That Christ sacrificed himself because of your evil; because of the atrocities of lust, and porn, and lying, and every other kind of sin. And no matter how you have done or will do at hating evil and holding fast to what is good, Jesus died so that he could hold fast to you forever.

Do not trade the everlasting pleasures you will find in Christ for the fleeting  false happiness of this life, the cheapened sex of this culture, or the theft of honor from men and women around you.

As you live your life in this world that is saturated in distorted sex affix your eyes on Jesus. When you are tempted to look, to act, to sin, cry out to Jesus. He is your escape. When you fall, when you sin, look up. He is waiting for you with open arms. When, one day you look down the aisle at your spouse, see Jesus in them, dying for their sins. So that, when he or she sins against you, you may forgive. And when those around you tell you to trade your vows for so-called ‘sexual adventure’, look to the God who created sex and experience the joy that he intended when two come together to be united as one.

Son, or daughter, Jesus died so that you would be united with Him forever, an unshakeable bond of love. And that’s one thing that sex is meant to display– a covenantal bond between two people. Porn is only a meager distortion of what He intended. Don’t sell your beautiful life short by giving in to this evil.

Your mother will fail in showing you what genuine love looks like. I will most certainly fail in showing you what genuine love looks like. But Jesus, no, He will never fail you. He will most certainly never fail you! Whether it’s porn, anger, disobedience, coveting, or some other sin, he’s gone all the way to the cross for you to show you what genuine love is.

So, don’t trust what I have to say about sex. Trust what He has to say. Discover what He intends. Hate what He hates, like He hates. And, oh boy, love what He loves, like He loves– with an extravagant love, a gorgeous love, a selfless love!

Stained by sin yet held captive by his love,

Your papa.

David D Morse

Author: David

Imagining what our world could look like with Jesus at the center. Husband to Jaimee. Papa to August & Bear. Church Planter in Maine.

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