Pornography is now a big business in America. Approximately $12 billion is spent every year on pornography. To put that in perspective, the 100 largest missions organizations in America received three billion dollars in a recent year. Pornography is nearly equal to the energy drink market in the U.S. Close your eyes and visualize all the energy drinks in all the gas stations, grocery stores, and Walmarts in America—there you go!
In the last few weeks, a study on pornography among young people by the Barna Group commissioned by Josh McDowell was completed. The results were startling. 76% of young people who identified as Christians sought out porn regularly. Perhaps even more shocking were their views on it. To quote the news story: “…while 52 percent of young Christian adults ‘would say that not recycling is morally wrong, only 32 percent would say watching pornography is morally wrong.’”
In that kind of world, how do we protect our families, our hearts, our churches?
Here are four beginning suggestions:
1. Build technological walls between your family and sin.
No one in today’s world — no one — should have an unsecured, unfiltered internet connection. There are multiple tools available to do this at reasonable cost—or no cost! Invest the time. Get them. Learn them. Use them. Here are my favorites:
- OpenDNS — this software lives on your wireless router (not the computer), so it filters every device connected to your network. Invaluable, and free. Slightly more complicated to install than other programs. Very dependable in blocking. Not as powerful in monitoring and reporting.
- Covenant Eyes — Filtering program for computers and phones. No child should have a smartphone or tablet without it. Not free, but excellent.
- K9 Web Protection — Good, and free. Custom lists, forced SafeSearch, time restrictions, reports. I’m impressed they can provide this much horsepower for free. Multiple platforms available.
- X3Watch — Free phone reporting app, sends your browsing history to an accountability partner. Somewhat weak on what it catches, but free. Barebones option. Also has a paid version of filtering software for computers.
- Purify — this web service (and Chrome extension) shows Youtube videos, and strips away all the sidebars, comments, suggested videos, etc. Excellent idea for those who need to use Youtube, but dislike the abundance of sensuality & vulgarity in the suggested video thumbnails.
- Mobicip — A free version & paid version. Mobicip has apps & filters for all platforms. I’m currently test driving this one on my Android phone and my PC.
2. Pray like crazy.
While we may fight with digital means, the protection of our homes is fundamentally a spiritual battle. Fasting and prayer for your family simply can’t be replaced.
3. Communicate often.
Cultivate honesty and willingness to share about these things by starting early. Talk about it with your children.
Discuss it with your spouse. Men, share this parable with your wives:
Imagine that the Scripture condemns eating chocolate. Not only does it condemn it, but it condemns looking at it or wanting to eat it. Then imagine that everyone ate chocolate. There were books about it. Twelve percent of all websites were about chocolate. TV shows featured it and celebrities discussed their chocolate lives on talk shows. Popular songs discussed chocolate openly. Magazines and billboards featured half-unwrapped chocolate bars. Now, how hard is it not to think about chocolate?
Ladies: “Is it really like that?” is a question you need to ask of your husbands. If he’s honest, he’ll say yes. But the conversation you have after he does will be important.
And you’ll need plenty of the next principle.
4. Create an atmosphere of grace.
I’ll be honest: You can’t build walls high enough to completely solve the problem. You can’t have enough tech tools. You can’t check up enough to prevent the possibility. Odds are extremely high that your husband or your child will see something impure—perhaps even intentionally. What then?
Be very careful how you respond. You have two choices: law or grace.
Paul says the law is clear that “the person who does these things shall live by them” (Romans 10:5, emphasis added). The opposite is also true. The person who doesn’t will die by them. If the atmosphere of your home is one of law—if you’ve created an atmosphere of law, fear, condemnation, ultimatums—then the threat of condemnation will add to the guilt of their conscience and keep them from coming to you. They may try to repent and seek forgiveness from Christ, but they won’t seek you out.
Please take it from me as a man who has struggled deeply in this area, received grace from others, and come through to victory: Grace is more powerful than sin. Law is not, but grace is.
Someday I’ll share my story. For now: grace, my friends. Grace.