Gospel hip hop artist Jahaziel stumbled upon the perverse world of porn at age six, and was addicted throughout most of his teen years. This story is one we unfortunately hear all too often, but thanks be to God in Christ Jesus who is an all-powerful Chain-Breaker! Jahaziel found freedom in the grace of God and through working with United Kingdom’s Safetynet to tell his story, he hopes many more men and women will find that same redemption. Check out his testimony and the music video below:
Twelve years into the twenty-first century, it’s official: porn is ubiquitous. Check out the infographic below if you’re not yet convinced (click the image to enlarge).
If you are familiar with the ministry of pureHOPE, you know that we are about equipping people to pursue purity through the pray/understand/resolve/engage lifestyle. Part of the understanding we need to have is of the cultural terrain around us. Whether we are pastoring, parenting, or just trying to follow Jesus, we need to understand our environment, and it is imperative that we understand the pervasiveness of porn and sexualized content and attitudes around us–sin that so easily entangles. It’s a fundamental part of living a Spirit-empowered life that is not outwitted by or ignorant of our enemy’s designs (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Understanding of “the facts on the ground” provides the proper motivation to acquire the necessary tools and strategies, and the proper context for implementing those tools and strategies in our lives, families, and churches. Check out the following posts for practical, biblically based resources to equip yourself and those around you to pursue purity in a pornified age:
I do believe that the Lord has this particular faction of young women on His heart: the abused turned prostitute. When the gift of sex is broken in a young child, the image of sex polarizes from holy, to unholy: from beauty to evil, from pleasure to pain. The image is tarnished, as they become victims of incest and abuse, each sitting solitarily in their rooms praying for the memories to magically disappear- for innocence to be restored. Hands over their head, buried between their knees against the cold floor. This is where many prostitutes begin their journey.
It’s grim to try and understand why exactly the abused return to a life of sexual entrapment, but we do know what God has to say. “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). And those that cause His little ones to stumble, often times stumbled themselves into the trap that dulls the mind like a drug: pornography. It first appears a “small sin,” a mild impediment on the journey towards eternal life, however, slowly becomes an increasingly lofty barrier that grows superior with each opened window browser. Some stories progress as an addiction obligated to be fed: an easy feat nowadays, I might add. As the addicted stand before the mountain of compiled digitalized sexual experiences, they need more; they need the real thing. Now what?
One in every three girls and one in every six boys are sexually abused by the time they blow out their eighteenth candle. I am not one to provide a hard-fast rule on the progression from pornography viewer to abuser- however the viewing of such material creates an insatiable appetite that causes some to reach into the screen and grasp the experience only to place it on the obligatory shoulders of a child. This is not to say that porn viewers become abusers, but rather that pedophiles have a history of viewing pornography more often than not- and my purpose is to understand the transition from bad to worse and how the worse manifests itself in the victim.
Recently, the Deseret News published an opinion piece by John Harmer, who speaks out loudly against our society’s indifference to the sex trafficking and pornography epidemic. Harmer is only one man, but hopefully his voice will be amplified with this article. It is refreshing to see someone else who recognizes the connections between pornography and the horrendous sex crimes being committed, especially someone who seems to be so in line with the mission of pureHOPE. Harmer uses the specific tragedies of two young girls’ murders to point to the more universal problem of the acceptance of porn. Both girls were raped and then murdered in ways that reenacted hardcore child pornography. Sadly, these are not isolated cases; you can learn more about the effects of porn here.
In the article, Harmer asks, “So who killed Destiny Norton and Sierra Newbold? We all did. We did it with our passive shrug of the shoulders for the continuing production and distribution of materials that cannot be described in this newspaper.” Admitting to this truth is crucial for a change to take place, and we can start by looking inward.
I know not all of us support or view pornography, but that is not enough. To the millions of men, women, and children enslaved in the sex industry, it is not enough that we abstain from buying them. We must be their voices and advocates. In Isaiah 1, we are told to “seek justice, encourage the oppressed.” This is more than an issue of abstinence. It is a command to proactively pursue justice for those who do not have it.
Until we take a stand against the apathy of our culture, things will stay the same. According to Brent Ward, a man who used to be the U.S. Attorney for Utah and head of the anti-pornography unit for the Dept. of Justice, the reason the government cannot help with this issue “is because there is no mandate from the people to deal with it.” We cannot expect our government to fix a problem if our society doesn’t consider it to be a problem at all. Let us begin to seek justice and avoid apathy, gain wisdom and understanding, and encourage others to make a difference. The pureJUSTICE Bible study is a great place to start.
We love labels, don’t we? We use them for just about everything. One couldn’t possibly conquer a grocery list without the guidance of aisle indicators or product tags. They create definite separations between finite categories that indeed need to be separated. Cookies are in the snack aisle; shampoo in health and beauty. Done. Here’s my money. Labels make things simple, clear-cut and require minimal high-caliber judgment on the part of the buyer.
Labels are so prevalent and flat-out necessary that we routinely use them to classify ethics. Sharing is good; stealing is bad. Sincerity is good; lying is bad. Porn is good; sex trafficking is bad. I know what you’re thinking: what an unmistakably, unsubtle way to bring up sex. But here I go.
What if I told you that labels, the very things that allow life to make sense, are also the reason life doesn’t make sense? What if I told you that some of these labels could potentially be the most life-threatening ideal that many of us have learned to embrace? While there is absolute truth, Christ-centered truth, man-made labels involving sex often have shades of grey that craftily sneak below the moral radar. It is easy to believe that porn, prostitution, child abuse and sex trafficking have little to do with one another; however, they may have everything to do with each other, and it’s costing lives as I write.
Pornography is a 96 billion dollar per year industry. Human trafficking: 32 billion dollars per year. These numbers are not mutually exclusive; they are intricately woven into one another to create a web of sexual immorality and profit that is our culture today. To succinctly summarize the far more complex issue on how these trades are related: trafficked women are often trained by porn and used in the production of porn. Due to the fact that women are forced and coerced to perform sexual acts before the camera, therefore being trafficked, the demand for human slaves heavily stems from a desire to view increasing amounts of pornography. While there are women that “willingly” enter into the industry drawn by the gilded depiction of glamour, many of them become victims of abuse, not knowing what they got themselves into- and even then there are not nearly enough volunteers. They need to be manipulated, tricked and stolen. They need drugs to finish up the day. As an appetite for pornography increases, so will the amount of human slaves, because we are constantly imploring, “more.”