Many times addictions don’t just start on their own. One doesn’t wake up, having never looked at pornography, to find that they are addicted to it. Just the same as somebody who has never had a sip of alcohol will not one moment find that they are an alcoholic. Usually when one realizes that they are an addict of any sort, they can trace that addiction back to find a series of compulsions in the wrong direction which were indulged in and never kept in check. We end up saying and doing things that, at one point, we had sworn that we would never be a part of. Nobody ever sets out (unless they are very foolish) to get themselves addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc. It all starts with small steps in the direction of these larger subjects. I remember when I was in my Jr. High years I thought “I will never be addicted to pornography, or even sex.” But soon I would see a pretty girl on T.V. or in a movie, and then I would decide to check the internet to see if, by chance, there are any pictures where the person is wearing less than what I had just seen on the T.V. screen. It isn’t necessarily pornography, and I was not instantly transformed into a sex addict, but I had just made a small step in the wrong direction by indulging in that feeling or curiosity which we call lust.
When this small step was not recognized, or kept in check, it became much easier to convince myself that looking lustfully at a woman is acceptable the next time the opportunity presented itself. And the opportunities will present themselves, they always do. Trouble loves to convince you that it is not in fact bad, that it is just a way of life, and that others do it, so it must be fine. Who are you to say what others do is wrong anyways? Soon seeing a pretty girl in a small amount of clothes was not really too bad, and the next small step brought me to looking at girls with no clothing at all, and so on and so forth until I found one day that I had looked at pornography at least every day for the last who knows how long, and that as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t stop. This is what defines an addiction.
Of course, in life, or at least in mine, when I come to a point where a choice needs to be made I don’t get a flashing sign falling from heaven telling me which choice is the right one. If this happens to you, you are very fortunate and probably don’t need to be reading this blog. But if you are like me, many times you probably don’t even notice when you are compromising. In other words, when you are making a decision that may start you down a path that causes depression and hurt and all sorts of bad things, you don’t get that sign telling you to stop. The moment passes much like any other moment, and many times there will be no instant repercussions. Then how do we learn to see when we are about to make a wrong decision? This all depends on your view of right and wrong. I know what I believe about right and wrong and it is based more and more on what I read in The Bible and what I have learned while talking to God. I am by no means perfect, and my definitions do not always line up with God’s but my goal is that they do. I am striving for my definition to line up with God’s but I cannot tell you your own. The only way for you to know is to find out exactly what you believe and why.
I have heard that when one does not stand for anything, he will fall for everything. So the only way to combat this is to know what you believe. If you are a Christian you can do this by reading the words that God has given you in the Bible, and by praying to him and asking him to show you right from wrong. If you are not a Christian, I don’t know how you are supposed to know the correct way to handle the choices in life, maybe the government can tell you. When you know what you believe it is easier, when presented with a choice, to make the right one. It is easier to ask yourself, “Will this choice bring me closer to the person I would like to be? Or is it going to take me further away?” If the answer is that it will take you further away, then you need only to make the decision to refrain from that action. I know that not every choice will have such a clear right or wrong outcome, but this is the exact time in which we can rely on God and what he has shown us to be good and right.
Now when it comes to sex it can be hard to know what is right and wrong. Luckily there are a few key points we can always fall back on. If you are not married, and you are having any sort of sex, it is wrong. We don’t need to go into the argument of weather oral sex is sex, or weather this or that kind of touching is really sinful. If you are not married and you are touching boy parts, or girl parts, stop. By all means, kiss your girlfriend or boyfriend, but when you start taking off articles of clothing or slipping hands or other parts inside of pants or underneath shirts and underwear, you are most definitely crossing a line that you should not. But what about when you get married? If you have ever been exposed to sex on the internet or in magazines you know that there are people who call some very strange things “sex”. This is another time when we need to rely on what we have been taught by God. He says to love and respect your partner. If what you desire sexually, involves making your partner feel uncomfortable, you should not be doing it. If it involves anything but making your partner feel that they are respected and treasured then chances are that it is not good. If you are constantly seeking to edify your partner, and to honor God with your relations then surely you will not go wrong.
So find out what you believe and why. If you believe what you believe simply because you were told to, it will do no good when it comes time to make a real decision. But if you are firm in you views of right and wrong you will be able to stand up when others cannot, and maybe even give encouragement to somebody who would have otherwise made the wrong decision.