What’s Missing

Posted on April 29, 2009 · Posted in Ruling Desires

In the last post we examined the case of a 15-year-son who was caught viewing pornography on the Internet. I described one possible way of addressing this issue and asked what was missing. Jo weighed in with her comment. Her answer – the gospel. She is  right, and she offers some helpful thoughts on this problem. But I want to stress that when we say the gospel is needed, that does not mean there is no further work to be done. As Paul worked with great energy to teach what the gospel meant, so parents must also seek God for the wisdom to bring Christ to their children.

The schemes of the world are crafty and deceptive (Ephesians 4:14 and Colossians 2:20-23). This young man has been deceived by his own lusts and the temptations of the world. Pornography promises what it can never give: satisfaction. So, at the root, this 15-year-old is both guilty and victimized. By engaging in pornography in the first place, he has doubted and disobeyed God. He thinks he has found a more expedient way than purity. But he is also the victim of his own lust. By viewing pornography he has entered the world that Ephesians 2:1-3 describes as belonging to Satan. This world is treacherous and cunning. This world hates marriage, and it hates restricting human sexuality to the confines of marriage. Don’t misunderstand; I am not excusing this young man, but it is important to realize that he is in way over his head. He may think he is viewing pornography simply for his own excitement, but his lusts have led him to the verge of ruin. The images he has viewed are designed to keep replaying in his mind, calling him back to look again and again. He has trusted himself, and it is a misjudgment of epic proportions. What holds him fast to this sin is the anticipation that it offers. The images that he has welcomed into his mind are ones that intend to never leave him.

The solution, as we have indicated, is the person of Christ. The first step toward this solution is to understand what is going on inside this young man. Yes, he is sinning. Specifically, he is sinning by believing the lies of his lusts. He has followed the lure of the world. He is caught in a mixture of lust, deceit, embarrassment, and disgust. Add to this the shock of being “discovered in his sin.”

To bring the gospel to the situation, you must use Christ’s methods. First, use the powerful tool of pleasant words. Proverbs 16:20-24 teaches that pleasant words promote instruction. Especially in this case, you must use pleasant, understanding words. Harsh words filled with self-righteous indignation will do a good job of showing your anger, but will do little to show Jesus Christ. Man’s anger will not produce the righteous life that God desires (James 1:20).

Typically, a parent’s first reaction in this kind of situation is to express hurt and outrage. How could you do this me? But the real issue is between the 15-year-old and God. It is for this sin that he needs Jesus. Yes, lifestyle changes must occur. But first and foremost, this young man must learn Christ. If he makes changes in his life without gratitude to Christ and for Christ, he will again fall prey to his own lusts.

In the next post we will take a look at the conversation that needs to take place.

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