The Draw Of Sin

Why is it we get drawn into sinful things? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend about matters and he started talking with me about some of my writings on the topic of pornography. He told me that he thinks I don’t mention that it’s normally a sin people fall into unintentionally. I can fully agree with this which leads to some thinking on the nature of sin and its draw.

When I was growing up, the D.A.R.E. program was the big thing. This was a program meant to keep kids off of drugs. I never attended a meeting or anything like that, but I was well aware of the organization. There were several commercials done in that age with kids talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up and one common line in them was “No one ever says, ‘I want to be a junkie when I grow up.’ ”

And this is how it is with most sins in our lives. Very few spouses will get up in the morning and say “You know, I think today would be a good day to have an affair.” Someone stopping at the bar for an evening won’t likely be thinking “I really want to be an alcoholic.” Someone who overeats on Thanksgiving too much is not likely thinking “I want to get addicted to food and become really overweight.”

With the last two, it’s not to say those automatically happen. A lot of people do overeat on Thanksgiving and manage to control themselves the rest of the year for the most part. Some people can go into a bar and get a drink and control their alcohol and be just fine. These can just be gateway points.

Here’s something to think about. When we are tempted with sin, we are in some way tempted with something that we think is good. This is not to say that the sin is good. No sin is. This is to say that this is our nature.

The porn addict has a desire to see a beautiful person of the opposite sex naked and has a desire to have sex. None of those are wrong desires. Most teenage boys growing up especially will have those desires and that’s normal for them. Having the desires is not a problem and is no sin. It’s what one does with the desires.

In this, C.S. Lewis gave a great piece of wisdom. Only good people understand temptation. Bad people do not. Bad people give in to it. Good people wrestle against it and can be grieved greatly by it. With her interest in saints in the Orthodox Church, I have told her that the saints are the ones who are most aware of their sin and struggle against it. Take the best saint you can think of in any tradition, and yes, we Protestants need to recognize there are some people who have led lives that we think are exceptionally holy, and realize that as they were dying, they still had sins they were struggling with.

This doesn’t mean that someone won’t want the sin. That is part of the struggle. You will not be tempted with something that is disgusting to you. Most of us will not be wrestling with the temptation to have sex with our mothers, for example. That seems absolutely repulsive to us even if we think our mothers are beautiful and wonderful women.

Some of you might be skeptical of the idea of temptations involving perceived good. What about murder? Usually, a crime is committed for one of three reasons. Money, sex, power. None of these are evil in themselves. It is how they are wanted and how they are used. A person wanting a murder could want justice. Justice isn’t a bad thing. It’s just the murderer wants to be judge, jury, and executioner.

Even the suicide wants something good. The suicide wants some peace from what is going on in their lives. Peace is a good thing. They just have a wrong way of wanting to get that peace.

In some cases, one does need to remove the object of temptation. It’s not in all cases, but some. If you have a problem with overeating, you can’t respond by removing all eating from your life. You’ll soon have another problem. It depends on the object of temptation entirely.

If one is tempted with porn, one should seek to cut things off entirely since porn in itself is a sin. It’s not wise to say that one needs a moderate amount of sin in their lives. In other cases, self-discipline is the idea. It also requires self-examination where you look into yourself and ask “What do I really want?” Don’t settle with a base answer like sex, power, justice, etc. Ask why one wants those things.

Suppose we go back to the guy tempted with porn. What does he want? On a basic level, he wants sex and he wants to see a naked woman, or in this case, women. Having a desire for the naked human female form is not wrong and having a desire for sex is not wrong. Yet we could ask what other things this guy wants. Perhaps he wants to feel like a man. That could be a root of the problem. Then we have to ask why this guy thinks he needs porn to feel like a man. He could ask what it really means to be a man. These are the productive questions.

Many an affair begins innocently. A woman starts talking with a man at the office and then they talk and talk and one day they go out together for lunch at the same time and just happen to go together and they just talk and talk and before too long, they’re in a hotel room together. At the start, she just wanted someone to talk to. That wasn’t wrong. What could we ask?

Why does she want this connection? What does it provide for her that she’s lacking? If she is already married, how is she viewing her marriage? Are there legitimate problems that need work? (And in every marriage, the answer is yes) What can she do to improve it?

Many times, dealing with the actions can be just like dealing with the symptoms of a disease without dealing with the disease itself. We Christians often talk about repentance so much, but that repentance which we rightly talk about is a process. It can be a long and hard and painful process. Repentance does not mean the temptation goes away or one no longer struggles. That we are struggling is really a sign of how seriously we are taking sin. People who don’t care don’t really talk about repentance. If you are feeling guilty for a sin and wrestling with it, even if there is a part of you that still wants it, as far as I’m concerned, you are in the process of repentance.

Finally, have some grace for yourself. Everyone is always struggling with some sin and for many of us, we’ve been struggling with the same kind of sin for years. Grace seems to be a concept we often think applies to everyone else instead of ourselves. Picture what you’re saying to yourself. If you wouldn’t say it to anyone else in the same situation, don’t say it to yourself. Grace is always there for people who are willing to struggle through the walk and God is always there with them even if one doesn’t feel like it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Struggle Of Men

What does a man have to deal with in today’s world? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have seen two different things this past week and yet, I think they’re both related. One is a female friend of mine who posted about what it is like probably for seminarians and ministers who are men. She is not justifying any struggles that they have with pornography, but is wanting us to understand why they turn to pornography.

When you go to seminary or enter ministry, you sign up for a hard life really. I went to Southern Evangelical for quite awhile and sadly, thinking back, I don’t really remember anything being said about pornography. Maybe it was and I’ve forgotten it. I don’t doubt looking back that some of my fellow students were struggling with pornography.

Often while driving with my wife down the road, we hear commercials here for men who are struggling with ED. I tell my Princess regularly that I suspect the reason for much of the struggle is pornography. There are men in their 20’s who have to be on Viagra. This is many times because they’ve got so used to airbrushed and fake women in porn that they don’t know how to get aroused by a real woman. That’s too tame for them.

Btw, let’s keep in mind also that many people in porn could be there because of human trafficking. Watching porn can, in that case, be giving power to this kind of thing. I find it interesting that many atheists who complain about slavery in the Bible can have no problem with porn which can lead to sexual slavery easily.

Many men turn to this because, first off, we tend to be very visual and have a high drive. This is not the case for all, but it is our natural tendency. We also live in a world where sex is all around us. You can say that we can turn off the TV and things like that. Yeah. Not going to solve the problem. A man just needs to go to the grocery store. I’m not even talking about the magazine rack. Men are drawn to beautiful women and in our day and age, women do dress to be beautiful.

I am not saying that is wrong at all! Women should do that! Women are beautiful and that should be celebrated. If a man cannot control himself, that is the fault of the man. Of course, there is a difference if a woman is trying to deliberate show herself off. There is a fine line here where both sides need to be considerate of the other.

Men often feel the pressure and pornography will make a man feel like a man. This is something all men long for. All men want to be men and if a man feels aroused, he certainly feels like a man. The problem is it’s all fake. It really requires nothing of the man. It is not a challenge. All he has to do is click the right web sites on his computer today.

In the past, women complained about being treated like objects, and rightly so, but today the women are often objectifying themselves. It’s too easy to go out and give everything you have to a guy immediately or have these topless marches and put yourself out there on display. If anything, this allows women to be treated more like objects. Abortion on demand doesn’t make it any better. Now men don’t have to worry about consequences, like children.

Many good guys have suffered from this. This past week I have seen good guys struggle with being single. It really touched me, because I do remember those days. What really irked me was hearing women talk about how they just wanted a nice guy who cared about them and their feelings. Never did believe it. Good men often get overlooked and the guys who are often some of the sleaziest do not.

These men really struggle.

Getting married doesn’t necessarily end all the problems. It can help, but many times our society has taught women that men are dirty perverts because they think about sex so much. While for the most part, we do, that’s not because we’re perverts. This is a good thing that God made and He made men and women to enjoy it.

For we men, there’s great misunderstanding on how essential this is to us in marriage. Often a man will complain about getting duty sex where the wife just goes along because she knows her husband needs it, but there’s no real desire on that part. For a man, duty sex beats no sex, but it’s not really satisfying. Men want to be wanted. They want to know they are appealing and attractive and bring joy to their wives.

A man will often measure himself by his accomplishments and for a husband, one of those is bringing joy to his wife. If a man brings joy to his wife everywhere else, but he doesn’t seem to in the bedroom, he feels like a failure. This is really such a great area in men’s lives that many women just don’t understand. (An excellent place to go to is the XY Code by Paul Byerly. He writes from a Christian perspective to help women understand men.)

Here’s the good news for you wives. If you do desire and pursue your husband, you will make this so much easier for him. You have great power. It’s really hard for men and they struggle more when they don’t feel desired and they’re trying to work with this burning question of their own masculinity looming in the background. (Women wanting help in this area can be blessed greatly by going to To Love, Honor, And Vacuum.)

Men struggle today and I am convinced our society is in a war against men. Masculinity is looked down on in our world. Men are in a struggle to determine if they really are men and sadly, they think going out and having sex will prove that they are. It won’t. It can give that feeling no doubt, but the best way to be a man is to properly love the women in your life, and this includes even if you are single. You do not have to be sexually active to be a man after all.

For those of us who are Christians, that means definitely avoiding pornography which treats women as objects and doesn’t require any challenge of going out and winning the heart of a real woman, a real accomplishment. It is far better to win the heart and then body of a real woman than to go out and do nothing to get a fake one, and sadly the fake one can make it harder to act with the real one. Also, save sex for marriage. Make a covenant with the woman first and then enjoy the fruit of the covenant.

And women, we men should understand you, but understand where the men you encounter are coming from. I know many men who struggle with porn and wish that they didn’t and are working to overcome it. (Women can struggle too, but this post is about men.) Your husband also is not a pervert because he thinks about sex so much. This is the way God made men and they function best when kept happy. What they really want is not just a release, but they want you. They want to feel close to you and accepted and loved by you and sex does that best.

It’s a hard time to be a man in today’s world. The church needs to recognize this as well and be there for men, especially those struggling with pornography. Condemn the action, but remember the man can often be a victim of his own desires.

In Christ,
Nick Peters