“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
Well, we’ve got that one covered. We don’t worship idols by having orgies before golden calves or tossing our babies in the fiery belly of Molech. We don’t bow down and offer sacrifices to Baal or kneel and pray before the goddess Asherah. So the first commandment is not really relevant in our day and age and we can just move on to the next one, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. I believe the sin of idolatry is as rampant today and is it was at the foot of Mount Sinai. Idolatry is at the very heart of pornography addiction. It is the root of all addictions.
In Colossians 3:5, the Apostle Paul says, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” The heart of the matter is that since the beginning of creation, man has said “I want what I want” and puts those evil desires ahead of his desire to please God. Those passionate, seemingly uncontrollable desires to satisfy ourselves is idolatry at its core and it truly is where all addiction begins. Take pornography addiction for example. It begins with one look. That one look, where a man allows his eyes to feast on the flesh and unholy acts of porn, and he is hooked. He allows the power of the fantasy to surge through his brain and his “members” are on board for the ride. That first look at pornography is strange and foreign, yet exciting and leaves a man wanting more. Addiction to pornography doesn’t take years. It only takes that first look. From there it consumes his thought life. He desires a second look. He covets it. Mankind has always wanted what is forbidden. That’s what it means to covet. Pornography offers something forbidden; something outside the realm of reality. And it lures us with its empty promises of passion and satisfaction.
I’ve so often heard it said “I’m not addicted to porn, I just watch it occasionally.” But who draws the line between addictive and casual? There isn’t one! You can’t set up a system of measurements that says addiction to pornography only occurs once a man views it X amount of times for X amount of years. The fact of the matter is that addiction is simply a “persistent [continued] use of a substance [material] known by the user to be harmful [damaging]” (Merriam-Webster). We can all agree that pornography is damaging or harmful. Even secular scientists are admitting the damaging effects of porn on a man’s brain (or woman’s) are exponential and directly correlated to his views of sex, women, intimacy, marriage, love, and more. Knowing this, we can see that if a man looks at pornography, knowing that it is dangerous, and continues to willingly seek after it, whether every day or every week or every couple of months, he is by definition an addict. If he continues to go back to it, he is hooked. My husband has told me there were times in his 16 year struggle where he did not look at pornography at all. In fact, there were times when he thought “I did it! I’ve conquered it!” Only to be drawn back in weeks or months later. Did he start a second addiction? No. It was a continuation of his original compulsions. And he admits that even though he was not physically viewing pornography in those lulls, he was not mentally free of porn. It was still there, deeply rooted in his heart. In the same way, a man who only looks at pornography every 2 months cannot claim to be free of addiction, otherwise he would not continue to return to it. Like a dog to his vomit.
But indulge me for just a moment. Are we not all addicts? This website is dedicated to helping women find healing from the pain of her husband’s sexual betrayal. And I am still committed to that effort. But I also want to help women become the wives, mothers, friends, and sisters that God created them to be. It doesn’t start with our husbands. It starts with us.
What are we addicted to? Food? Money? Appearance? Alcohol? Sex? Gossip? Television? Social networking? Anger? Power? Is there something in our lives that is damaging, yet we continue to do it? Do you know that your family is suffering because you don’t control your anger, yet you continue to have daily outbursts of wrath? Do you know that your words have hurt people, broken trusts, and stirred up strife, yet you continue to gossip about others? Do you realize that you’re using alcohol to calm your mind and ease your pain instead of prayer and God’s Word, yet you continue to drink more and more? Do you see that you’re spending all your time watching TV or social networking and neglecting your responsibilities as a mother and wife, yet you continue to do so? Do you know that you are obsessed with your perfect weight, perfect clothes, perfect hair, perfect children, perfect home, even to the point that you are hurting yourself and your family, yet you can’t stop? Do you realize that you turn to food for comfort even though you see the unwanted pounds increasing, yet you continue to eat? Do you spend money that you don’t have to make yourself feel better even though your family is in financial crisis?
These are all signs of addiction. Remember, to be an addict is to persistently do something that we know is harmful or damaging. If we are all honest and looked at our own hearts and actions, we would all have to admit to being addicted to something. We all struggle with idolatry; having those uncontrollable desires to satisfy ourselves with something or someone instead of using all our heart, soul, and strength to love the Lord our God. If we are honest we will admit that we all need to go back to the basics and work on removing that one thing that is killing us spiritually: IDOLATRY. And if we can love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and keep Him as our God; if we can put to death our members that are of the earth, then we will see our addictions crumble. Only then can we truly be free.