(Originally Posted on lilfytr.blogspot.com.)
November 29, 2017
This is probably the hardest of the letters to write. And it’s not primarily because it’s the section that would preach most clearly to me, since I’ve often found myself in this position over the past thirteen years. The reason it’s the hardest is because I’m at a loss for how to best go about writing this. I could come with the “you’re helping people stay enslaved in sin” approach, which if you don’t know Christ doesn’t mean anything to you, and if you do know Christ just adds unnecessary condemnation to your plate. However, I could also come with the “Jesus loves you” approach, which if you don’t know Christ won’t change your outlook on this sin, and if you do know Christ it will come across as, “cool, I knew that.” So I don’t exactly know what to say.
Except for this: the Law of God is divided into two portions. “Love God and love people.” This law is universal, and it is not simply for believers. The whole world will be judged for failing to live up to this law. And while the only way to truly love other people is by being confronted by the life-changing love of Jesus (which I will hit on in a few paragraphs), the fact is that we are expected to love people—thinking of them and their good before we think of ourselves and our selfish wants. In fact we were preprogrammed to be selfless and loving, but when sin came in with Adam and Eve, hatred, selfishness, and apathy entered—making love an almost impossible reality. This is why everyone falls in and out of love so easily. We don’t know how to think of others’ needs before our own.
So here’s what I want to say: if you’re a believer, you’re called to love fellow believers, your family, your neighbors, and even your enemies. In short, you’re called to love everyone without question. No one should be exempt from your love. And this love—believer, family, neighbor, enemy—must always be selfless love. Therefore when you are gazing at a person/persons on a computer screen, you are fulfilling your own selfish pleasure and not at all being loving, in which case you are not fulfilling the basic requirement of being a Christian as described in James 1:27. “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (emphasis added). What are pornstars but very literally orphans and widows? By gazing at them and enjoying what they’re doing, you are not looking after them, but looking at them and doing nothing for them.
In fact, if you spend time gazing at pornography, or even lusting after people who aren’t pornstars, here’s what you’re ultimately doing: mentally sexually abusing another person. Or, to put it another way: mentally raping someone else. I know it’s a graphic thought, but this is a serious sin. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This was the intent of God’s Law. It wasn’t just an external act that was to be avoided, but it was a heart issue that needed fixing. If lusting is equal to adultery in the heart, it’s not much farther of a jump to call it mental rape.
However, if you’re not a believer, you more than likely don’t care about following God’s Law. You don’t care about truly loving others. You really want to just get what you can out of this life—selfishly or otherwise. Here’s the thing though: as a nonbeliever, you are judged by what you do. Revelation 20:12 makes that blatantly clear. If you don’t love others as Christ loved, you will be judged for that. However, if you turn to Christ and put your faith in Him, your imperfect love will be placed on Him, and you will be judged by His perfect love. Everyone is judged by what they do: if in Christ, you are judged by what Christ did, if outside of Christ, you are judged by what you have done yourself. If, as most, you are an unloving, selfish person, you will be judged as such. If you trust Christ, you are judged as a perfectly loving person, even though you will occasionally, and frequently, fall.
So let me explain why I can say that Jesus is so loving. He came to earth—from God—as an infant. God in the bod of a totally helpless babe. Selfless. He grew up, never disobeying his parents—loving and compassionate—despite the fact that they weren’t perfect parents. And then He started a ministry of love where He gave hope to society’s outcasts: tax collectors, prostitutes, military rebels. And then, to prove just how much He loved them, He died on the cross that we all deserved. Three days later He rose to prove that His life was spotless, even though He had spent most of His time with society’s outcasts. He never sinned; He loved perfectly; and He is God Almighty.
I plead with you to place your faith in Him and turn from your life of sin.
And if you already believe, please recommit to Him and recommit to living like Him in this world!
I am on this road with you. Let’s walk it victoriously!
Part 4: person behind the camera