Mercy 14: Mercy for Purity
‘I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.’ (Ez. 36: 25, 26)
The goal of our sexuality is to become good, fruitful gifts to others. That means integrating our sexuality into the whole of our humanity. When our desires and motives for another are subject to what is truly best for that other, then we have become pure.
Catholics refer to this purity as chastity: under the power of the Holy Spirit, the chaste person loves another in the whole of his/her personhood and thus dignifies him/her. That applies as much to singles as to marrieds. Godly self-control enables us to acknowledge a range of desires that issue out of the beautiful, broken mix of our sexuality. We can then surrender our yearning hearts to Jesus (often via confession) so He can help us become a truly good gift for another.
When we bypass His refinement, we can reduce another to our lusts. We subject him/her to our fallen, even diabolical motives. We become blind to what the other needs; it is all about our desires being satisfied, even though we may be deluded into thinking (s)he will be thrilled.
Pornography use is the ultimate disintegrator. It inflames sexual desire while splitting one off from the reality of what a whole sexual relationship requires. Porn blinds its users to the command to love a person as a whole. Porn fractures the lives of all involved; it subverts chastity more than any other force on earth.
In 33 years of ministry to porn addicts, I have witnessed ministers lose their vocations and wives their husbands to porn. Over 56% of US divorces are now related to the porn use of the husband. Porn can turn straight men gay, and teens into impotent passive voyeurs. One study determined that 33% of teen males were Internet porn addicts.
Porn starts with addiction to images and masturbation then escalates into the compulsion for more and varied images. Then comes the desensitization phase where the unthinkable becomes pleasing and morally neutral. In search of more, the addict then leaps from behind the computer screen to actualizing one’s fantasies with real players.
Porn is the antithesis of chastity: this 86 billion dollar industry is the devil’s drug for destroying the gift of our humanity. The Church needs to face the damage done, call her servants to repentance, and pour out rivers of mercy upon the corroded hearts of her servants. That is the only antidote for restoring the purity of our offering, one to another.
To quote a presidential hopeful familiar with sex addiction: ‘It takes a village.’ Overcoming porn use requires a community intent on facilitating many confessions and focused accountability. It will require the discerning and trustworthy face of Jesus through her members. And it will require drafts of mercy for family members who have been burned by the lust of a loved one.
Let’s be the Church for one another; let us refuse hell’s effort to prevail over her members. May mercy restore us as we topple our idols together and resume the journey toward chastity.
Desert Stream/Living Waters: Northern California, Peter Kockelman, Regional Coordinator. Please pray for strong female leaders to rise up and join the teams.
Restored Hope Network: Jennifer Thorne, Pastoral Affiliate, Missoula, MT. Jennifer is a counselor with Teen Challenge and with those dealing with SSA. John McLaughlin, Pastoral Affiliate, Lomita, CA. John is senior pastor at Calvary Assembly of God, an advocate for those struggling in their identity. The church offers and promotes healing.
Courage: Please pray for mental health care professionals as they face ostracism for standing for the truth, may God fortify and empower them to provide authentic Christian care for those with SSA.
Ministries of Pastoral Care: We ask that God would heal all He desires in us, in any way He desires.