Featured, LIFESTYLE,

Pornography and the Christian (Single or Married)

Is watching pornography a sin for married Christians? This was the question one of our followers asked on Twitter.

Honestly, the high rate at which Christians are involved in pornography is quite alarming- more than we are aware of. It’s easy to assume that all these jolly looking people, smiling with their arms clutched to their Bibles are immune to the trap of pornography. This is not true. I’ll share some interesting statistics about porn and the church – just to add some perspective:

  • 70% of Christian youth pastors report that they have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with pornography in the past 12 months.
  • 68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis. Of young Christian adults (18-24 years old), 76% actively search for porn.
  • Only 13% of self-identified Christian women say they never watch porn—87% of Christian women have watched porn.
  • 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation. And 69% say porn has adversely impacted the church.
  • Only 7% of pastors say their church has a program to help people struggling with pornography.
    (Source: Charisma News)

From these stats, we realize that porn is a monster dwelling amongst us – and the church doesn’t seem to be taking any measures to combat it. The high rate of pornography is for a number of reasons- which I will share in subsequent paragraphs.

Firstly, it is due to our denial of its presence and then, subsequent rationalization. You’d hear excuses like: Well, I’m not participating in the sin, I’m just watching.

The second most common cause for the high rate of porn viewers in the church is the “I am married now” excuse. Many people sincerely believe there is nothing wrong in viewing pornography with your spouse.

You are not a different kind of Christian because you are married. You are not just any other spouse because you are a Christian, it is God’s preepts that guides your thoughts and actions, not the society’s. God’s overall desires, the things he frowns at won’t change because you are married, except sex of course, which has to be between you and your spouse. God’s expectation- for us to be holy and to live a life worthy of His calling- is still the same, regardless of our marital status.

From the Bible, we see that your partner ALONE is permitted to be the object of your pleasure. No third party is involved- even if it is through a screen. There are many excuses as to why married people view porn. Some say it’s for enlightenment, education or arousal but REALLY?! There are several other ways this can be achieved.

From the Bible, we see that your partner ALONE is permitted to be the object of your pleasure. No third party is involved- even if it is through a screen. Click To Tweet There are many excuses as to why married people view porn. Some say it's for enlightenment, education or arousal but REALLY?! There are several other ways this can be achieved. Click To Tweet

“…Rejoice in the wife of your youth…may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?” Proverbs 5:18-19

If Solomon’s words are not convincing enough, Jesus Christ, in His first public sermon, said these words:

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” Matthew 5:28 (Any other woman except his wife).

The fact that you are viewing another woman lustfully- in the presence of your wife or with her permission- doesn’t make it acceptable.

Pornography is a gross misuse of the gift of sexuality. The Bible encourages us to stay away from all form of uncleanliness, especially unclean thoughts. We know how that many unclean scenes are played as porn (homosexuality, bestiality, sex between more than two people, sex with minors and all sorts). What happens is when you continually view these things, you allow for impure thoughts which start to breed iniquity. This is why the Bible says to guard the heart.

The fact that you are viewing another woman lustfully- in the presence of your wife or with her permission- doesn’t make it acceptable. Click To Tweet We know how that many unclean scenes are played as porn (homosexuality, bestiality, sex between more than two people, sex with minors...) and the Bible encourages us to stay away from all form of uncleanliness. Click To Tweet

The effects of pornography are often underestimated. Interestingly, Pornography increases marital infidelity by more than 300 percent. How is it then that what is supposed to ‘educate, enlighten and strengthen your bond’ causes enormous problems? It is simply because pornography is a lie sugarcoated to look like truth. Whether you are married or not, pornography is not harmless (as the society makes it seem).

Pornography increases marital infidelity by more than 300%. How is it then that what is supposed to ‘educate, enlighten and strengthen your bond’ causes enormous problems? Click To Tweet

Here are few effects of pornography (of which married people are not excluded):

  • Pornography leads to a visual distortion of sexuality and a general distortion of the reality of sex.
  • It leads to objectifying of the opposite sex and increased appetite for sexual violence
  • There is less satisfaction amongst the married ones because they mentally compare their spouse to the many actors they have watched – which is such a high expectation to have of anyone. As you would guess, nobody ever meets up, hence the constant dissatisfaction.
  • Pornography is also highly addictive and leads to sexually compulsive behaviours (a decline in one’s capacity to carry out other major tasks in life). This happens because porn actually affects the brain. Studies show that those involved in porn are less connected and less active.
  • • For the believer, there is also the constant guilt which oftentimes affects their relationship with God

These are just a few. The list is endless. However, whether married or single, whether as believers or unbelievers, porn is not as harmless as the society makes it seem. For us as children of God, the expectation is even higher for us- but there is grace to resist. If you are not entangled in this trap, remain free in the liberty Christ has called you to. If you already are entangled, do not despair. God’s grace is available to help and deliver. Seek help AS SOON AS YOU CAN.

Shalom

LIFESTYLE,

Transactional Sex: What’s God Got To Do With It?

Nigerian Rapper, Falz, released a single titled ‘Talk’. In it he addressed a pertinent issue about “transactional sex”, which involves an exchange between a wealthy man (willing to part with his money) and a woman (willing to part with her body). The focus is on women who are willing to offer their bodies (in terms of sex) to wealthy men who are willing to give them money in return.

In the late 90s, transactional sex involved a wealthy man, whose sexual desires could be fulfilled by an economically incapacitated female in exchange for money. However, this narrative has changed- especially in the 20th century. We now have a range of persons- both wealthy and impoverished, who are ready to fulfill any sexual gratification- if they will be paid for it. You may say, ‘this is safe, as far as both parties are in agreement and get what they want at the end’. However, is there ever an end to such transactions?

In my opinion, there won’t be an end, because any profitable transaction (whether legal or illegal) will one day thrive to become a ‘full-scale’ business. In this present dispensation, we have ‘sugar daddies, sugar mummies, baby mamas’- the list of innovations in this enterprise is yet to come to a halt.

What then, seems to be the reasons for ‘transactional sex’ and are they really justifiable? Let us run through some reasons I have in mind:

1. Dissatisfaction with standards of living:

People who offer to gratify sexual desires do it because they are in need of money to make ends meet. However, some are able to cater for themselves financially but are dissatisfied with their current financial status hence wanting more- another term for greed. However, no one on this earth can completely satisfy our desires, because they were not created to.

Only the God who created us knows what we need at every point in our lives and is able to make provisions for such needs to be met. Moreover, we are admonished to avoid ‘covetousness’ and be content with whatever we have because God will never forsake us- even in tough times (Hebrews 13:5).

No one on this earth can completely satisfy our desires, because they were not created to. Click To Tweet

2. The ‘scratchers’ syndrome:

There are those laden with so much money, to the extent that they feel they are the solution to a woman (or man’s) poor economic condition- on the basis that their sexual desires be met. To offer money in return for sex (because the other party is in need of financial assistance) is tantamount to taking advantage of someone’s needy situation and this isn’t right.

As Christians, we are called to be our brother’s keeper, not our brother’s killer. This is not to say that one should have sex outside matrimony- even if it is offered for free; the emphasis is against taking advantage of someone’s disadvantaged situation.

To offer money in return for sex (because the other party is in need of financial assistance) is tantamount to taking advantage of someone's needy situation and this isn't right. Click To Tweet

3. The insurers’ syndrome:

In the late 90s, a number of people (who I term ‘insurers’) focused on guaranteeing their protection or safety in a marriage relationship by finding out if they were individually satisfied with their partner’s sexual prowess and status. It required the male to get sexually intimate with his soon-to-be wife in a bid to know whether she was a virgin or not. It also helped the lady’s family know (to an extent) if the male was impotent or not. Some of the principles guiding such archaic thoughts still live with us today. Some ladies still use sex (in a bid to get pregnant) to trap a guy they’re interested. Others want to be sure that the person they have romantic feelings for can satisfy their sexual desires.

Related Article – SEXUAL COMPATIBILITY

The terms of sex are too complex an issue to be determined by the human mind. The chemistry in the physical consummation between male and female were designed to be completely flawless, and we know that even man at his best couldn’t come up with the idea of ‘sex’ or even create the ‘terms’ and ‘conditions’.

God, in His infinite mercies, created sex as a gift and by-product of a relationship between a husband and wife who loved each other as He (God) had loved them both.

God, in His infinite mercies, created sex as a gift and by-product of a relationship between a husband and wife who loved each other as He (God) had loved them both. Click To Tweet

Seeing that God wills for sexual intimacy to be exercised ONLY within matrimony, transactional sex becomes incongruent with God’s will. Sex isn’t a transaction; it is a gift, and a by-product for two people (a man and a woman) who love each other sacrificially and are willing to trust each other for the rest of their lives- and make a commitment to do so via matrimony.

Seeing that God wills for sexual intimacy to be exercised ONLY within matrimony, transactional sex becomes incongruent with God's will. Click To Tweet
Written by Stephen Fasanye

Read Also – On Transactional Sex

Faith,

What Kind Of A God Leaves 99 To Go After 1?

When we read the parable of the lost sheep, some persons think it is a commendable thing to care so much about a “one”. Some think it is offensive to leave the 99 for 1 which is only 1% of the lot.

Whichever you are,  you can better judge the situation when you put yourself in the shoes of each part involved.

Hence,  this article will require your imaginative mind. Relax, cause it’s going to be a dreamy read.

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbours, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue. – ‭Luke‬ ‭15:4-7‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Phase one: Ownership

Imagine that thing that is special to you: your wig collection, video game,  anything.

Now,  imagine losing one of it,  what will you do?

You most likely will search for it,  even though you have the rest of the collection.

Imagine again, that you are a parent with ten children. What will you do if one goes missing?  Mentally replace the one with the nine? Take the nine out to search for the one? Or leave the nine in assured safety while you go out to search desperately?

For me, ‘my special’ is the notepads I make.  Denim-themed beauties: each of which I spend an average of 7-15 hours making. You can imagine how much intentionality and energy goes into each. After making a collection, I elegantly lay them on my worktop, where nothing will damage any: where also they can be clearly beheld by myself and EVERYONE who visits; I’m so proud of them. Each one is a precious masterpiece that I had a unique experience making.

If I lose one of these,  it is a no-brainer that I will ransack places to find it, knowing the rest is safe, seating pretty on my worktop display.

This is how the parable of the lost sheep plays out. The shepherd went out for the sheep in need of rescue because the 99 were safe.

If you lose something precious, it is a no-brainer that you will ransack places to find it. This is how the parable of the lost sheep plays out. The shepherd went out for the sheep in need of rescue because the 99 were safe. Click To Tweet

Like you will rejoice over finding a precious item that was lost, heaven celebrates over the return of one lost soul simply because the soul was lost

Phase Two: Lost

Imagine you are lost. No one knows where you are and no one is able to contact you. You feel the emptiness,  the grief and loneliness, you want to be found. And found by someone who cares.

The lost sheep could be any of the 100. “One” could be the 1st, 30th or the 100th,  anyone can be lost. In fact, we were all once lost.

The lost sheep could be any of the 100. 'One' could be the 1st, 30th or the 100th, anyone can be lost. In fact, we were all once lost. Click To Tweet

The shepherd going out to find the one shows how much he cares for each. It is not favouritism but love. The lost could be any one of the hundred and he will go irrespective of who that one is.

The shepherd going out to find the one shows how much he cares for each. It is not favouritism but love. The lost could be anyone of the hundred and he will go irrespective of who that one is. Click To Tweet

How heartwarming to know how much God loves us,  even when we wander away.

Phase Three: Left

Have you ever lost a sibling?  Have you been left at a place while your guardian went in search of the sibling? Or cried over the loss?  Did you feel unloved? Or were you concerned for your missing sibling?

If you haven’t experienced this, imagine being left by your guardian who went in search for your missing compeer? Will you feel abandoned? Or will you feel concerned for your missing associate?

Do you think a person who cares about each member of the group, enough to search for a missing one will leave the rest uncared for?

Do you think a person who cares about each member of the group, enough to search for a missing one will leave the rest uncared for? Click To Tweet

Remember my notepads, I mentioned that each is a precious masterpiece. My joy over finding a lost one at the moment I do, does not mean I do not find pleasure and pride in the rest.

In fact,  the rest remain kept in the prestigious and safe place that I allocated to my creation. The shepherd didn’t leave the sheep abandoned,  he left them kept in a territory he knew.

A Pastor puts it this way, The good Shepherd went in search of the lost one while the ninety-nine cheered him on.

The Good Shepherd went in search of the lost one while the ninety-nine cheered him on. Click To Tweet

As God’s sheep,  we remain in Christ as he, the father, pursues the lost. In Christ, we have an inheritance that those outside don’t have access to yet. If we are aware of who we are and what we have in Him: what those outside are missing (though Christ died for them too), we will join our father in reconciling our lost associates to the family.

Written by Bolatito Laniyan

LIFESTYLE,

The ‘All Men want is Sex’ Stereotype

If you know you know, but I mean no disrespect. A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or an idea of a particular type of person or thing. Most times stereotypes are hurtful to the groups they are targeted at. If you are Nigerian and you still can’t relate let me help you: ‘Yoruba people are dirty’, ‘Igbo people are dubious’, ‘Hausa people are violent’, ‘Edo people are witches’,‘Calabar girls are randy’, ‘Urhobo men are irresponsible drunks’…….Let me stop there because I am sure you get the point by now. Those are examples of stereotypes that have been bandied for decades and have done so much harm to our mutual trust and national unity. The prevailing problem with these stereotypes is that they are made based on generalizations and most times generalizations are false representations.

Okay, let us bring it home to the topic. Below are some of my issues with the statement ‘all men want is sex’:

– If all Men wanted was Sex, then nothing else means anything to us

The implications of saying all men want out of their social interactions with the opposite gender is sex is that potentially every man who meets a woman just wants to sleep with her. Trying to fit every man in this box is hurtful and despicable.

Do you realise that if all men wanted was sex, only prostitutes would have male friends. Follow my logic here, why would I as a man waste my time speaking to women who might not give me the only thing I really want, when I know a group of women offering the very thing I want. You would agree with me that if it is all I want, no cost or repercussion is too high. But this is not the case, in fact, if I use myself as an example, sex has never been the reason I have made a female friend. But I am a man and there are many more men like me.

Do you realise that if all men wanted was sex, only sex workers would have male friends. Click To Tweet

As a Christian man, my most important motivation for making friends is shared values and beliefs, not a chance to get into a woman’s pants. But saying ‘all men want is sex’, reduces our motivation as a group to just sex. So it doesn’t matter what a man does, all he really wants is sex. That means any kind gesture by a man in the direction of a woman is for sex.

Saying ‘all men want is sex’, reduces our motivation as a group to just sex. So it doesn’t matter what a man does, all he really wants is sex. That means any kind gesture by a man in the direction of a woman is for sex. Click To Tweet

If you can paint a picture of this in your mind, this world would be a more terrible place than it already is. This leads me to my next point.

–  It Creates a Terrible, Somewhat Beastly impression of Men

Such statements like ‘all men want is sex’, actually portray men in general, in a very bad light. The truth is, sex was created as a gift by God, to be enjoyed in marriage. But on the contrary, sex was not the major reason man was created. This is why some men willfully choose the path of celibacy for higher and nobler causes. This wouldn’t make sense if all men wanted was sex.

Men were created for so much more. The problem is as more men are told that all they want is sex, they buy into the idea and go ahead to live out the stereotype. This is very limiting and obnoxious. We need more men who can be held to higher standards and don’t see every opportunity with the opposite sex as an opportunity to get laid.

The problem is as more men are told that all they want is sex, they buy into the idea and go ahead to live out the stereotype. Click To Tweet

I believe God demands more from men and their relationships than just their abilities to have sex. Especially as Christian men, who have self-control as a virtue. Please let us change the narrative, let us do away with the harmful stereotypes, so that people can be motivated to do better.

I believe God demands more from men and their relationships than just their abilities to have sex. Especially as Christian men, who have self-control as a virtue. Click To Tweet

Thank you for reading, I will like to know your thoughts in the comments section.

LifeGiva.

We are committed to blogging practicable but scriptural wisdom for everyday living.