Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

Matthew 5:38–42: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Many of us have known people who, after years of being passive and compliant, suddenly stop acting like a victim. This reactive phase of boundary creation is a first step to get a person out of the powerless, victimized place in which they may have been forced by physical or sexual abuse, or by emotional blackmail or manipulation. We are happy that they are no longer victims. But when is enough reacting enough?

Reaction phases are not the same as maturity; they are necessary but not sufficient for the establishment of boundaries. Even though in finding our boundaries, we might find ourselves reacting. Eventually, we establish connections as respectful equals. This is the beginning of establishing proactive, instead of reactive, boundaries.

In Matthew 5:38–39, Jesus compared reactive persons to those who are freely and proactively setting their own boundaries. Through his teaching, we see that power is not something we demand or deserve; it is something we express. How does withholding a counterstrike after we’ve been harmed show our power? The ultimate expression of power is love. Proactive people are able to love their neighbors as themselves (see Mark 12:31) and respect others (see 1 Peter 2:17). They are able to die to self (see 1 Peter 2:24) and not repay evil for evil (see Romans 12:17). They have gotten past the reactive stance of the law — “eye for eye, and tooth for tooth” — and are able to love rather than react.

When we truly have the power of self-control, another person’s evil does not mean that we “have to” get revenge. We are free to do something more redemptive and more constructive. In that way, we have power to turn bad situations into good ones and not be dragged down into the mire of bad behavior.

This devotional is drawn from Beyond Boundaries, by Dr. John Townsend

Galatians 6:2-5 – “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”

When you marry someone, you take on the burden of loving your spouse deeply and caring for him or her as for no other. You care about how you affect your spouse; you care about your spouse’s welfare and feelings. If one spouse feels no sense of responsibility to the other, this spouse is, in effect, trying to live married life as a single person. On the other hand, you can’t cross the line of responsibility. You need to avoid taking ownership for your mate’s life.

The law of responsibility in marriage is this: We are responsible to each other, but not for each other. The Bible teaches it this way in Galatians 6:2-5: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” and “each one should carry his own load.” The word burden indicates a backbreaking boulder, such as a financial, health, or emotional crisis.

Spouses actively support each other when one is carrying an overwhelming burden. The term load, however, indicates one’s daily responsibilities of life. This includes one’s feelings, attitudes, values, and handling of life’s everyday difficulties. Spouses may help each other out with loads, but ultimately, each person must take care of his own daily responsibilities.

Two extremes occur in marriage when the law of responsibility is not obeyed. On the one hand, a husband will neglect his responsibility to love his wife. He may become selfish, inconsiderate, or hurtful. He will not consider how his actions affect and influence his mate. This is being irresponsible to a spouse.

On the other hand, a husband may take on responsibility his wife should be bearing. For example, his wife may be unhappy, and he may feel responsible for her happiness. Perhaps he feels that he isn’t making enough money, showing enough interest in her activities, or helping enough around the house. So he tries and tries to make an unhappy person happy. This is an impossible project. While a husband should be sympathetic toward his unhappy wife and take responsibility for his own hurtful behavior, he shouldn’t take responsibility for her feelings. They are hers, and she must handle them herself.

Couples have a duty to set limits on each spouse’s destructive acts or attitudes. For example, if a husband has a gambling problem, his wife needs to set appropriate limits, such as canceling his credit cards, separating their joint accounts, or insisting that he get professional help, to force him to take responsibility for his problem. The law of responsibility in marriage means that spouses refuse to rescue or enable the sinful or immature behavior of their partners.

Today’s content is drawn from Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Copyright 2002 by Zondervan; all rights reserved. Visit for more information.

Romans 6:1-2 –“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

Sometimes we may hear that “freedom in Christ” means we are free from specific ceremonial practices of the Mosaic Law; that is, we don’t have to keep the rituals to be connected to God. However, real Christian freedom is more than just freedom from laws. It is freedom to choose life; freedom from fear, guilt and condemnation when we make a wrong choice; freedom to choose love.

By nature, we are not free. We are slaves to the law of sin and death (see Romans 7:14 – 15; 8:1 – 2). As long as we are under the law, we will fail—as much as we try not to and as good as our intentions may be.

If we trust Christ as our Savior, we are out from under the law of condemnation. When God looks at us, he sees the righteousness of Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Legally, we are not guilty (see Romans 8:1). Through God’s grace, the consequence of sin for the Christian is never condemnation or punishment from God. Yet many of us have a hard time believing that grace is free and complete and we can’t do anything to add to it in any way (see Ephesians 2:8–9). We just cannot believe that God accepts us even in our failures.

Under the Law
In God’s grace, the law is intended to be a standard by which to evaluate ourselves. It helps us to see where we need to change. There are at least five major consequences when we put ourselves under the law:

    1. Wrath. God is angry at offenses against him; it is part of his legal system, the law. That is why we need Jesus, the one who takes his wrath away (see Romans 4:15). But if we put ourselves under the law, we will be angry at God and ourselves.
    2. Condemnation. We feel guilty and condemned if we do not do what we should. Yet we have been cleansed “once for all by [Christ’s] own blood” (Hebrews 9:12).

    3. Separation from love. If we feel unloved when we do not do as we should, we are still under the law. God loved us while we were his “enemies” (Romans 5:10), before we were interested in doing as we should. Nothing we do can separate us from the love of Christ (see Romans 8:35 – 39). If we feel separated from God after trusting Jesus, we have put our­ selves back under the law.
    4. Sin increases. If we feel we should do certain things because punishment awaits us if we don’t, we have not “died to the law” (Romans 7:4)—and the law will have power over us. “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase” (Romans 5:20). In other words, the very method by which we are trying to change will produce failure. The more condemning voices we have inside, the harder it is to change a problem. Ask any addict.
    5. No benefit. Whenever we do something because we feel we should or because we think we have to, it is of no benefit because our motivation is not love (see 1 Corinthians 13:1 – 3; 2 Corinthians 9:7). Only when we are free can we love freely.

A Life of Freedom If we are not condemned for what we do or who we are, why not do whatever we want to do? “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1 – 2).

The Bible’s response to total freedom is a refusal to continue to live in destructive ways (see Romans 6:1 – 4). “By dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law” and can now live “in the new way of the Spirit” (Romans 7:6). The Bible teaches that there are two paths — one that works and one that doesn’t. Both are reality: “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

In salvation, we are reconciled to God through Christ (see Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18 – 21). We are free to love and choose healthy ways of living. We do not have to love God or anyone else (see Joshua 24:15). But by looking in the mirror of God’s law, we realize that if we do not choose love, our lives will be empty. We begin to see that a life without fulfilling relationships has little meaning or fulfillment.

In relation to others, when we love them we give them total freedom as God gives us. We accept others, “just as Christ accepted [us]” (Romans 15:7). When they fail to love us or choose not to love us, we do not withdraw our love from them. We may confront them or express our sadness about their choice, but we do not condemn them.

And when we fail, we own our failure. With grace, we do not need to be defensive, for we are not condemned. Guilt says, “I should be different and if I’m not, then I’m bad,” so we get defensive. Grace says, “I see the standard and I’m not measuring up. I need help and love to change so that I can live.” We begin to seek God’s help to change. In a phrase, we “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).

Today’s content is drawn from Beyond Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Copyright 2014 by Zondervan; all rights reserved. Visit for more information.

SOURCE:  Fight The New Drug

With the shockingly quick and easy access to an unlimited, ever-increasing supply of porn these days, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that both science and personal accounts are coming out by the day, exposing the negative impact porn has on peoples’ lives. If you’ve come across these types of articles here and there but still haven’t found the motivation you need to kick your porn habit, we’ve got 40 good reasons for you.

1. Have Better Sex

Perhaps the biggest lie porn sells is that its fantasy world is filled with sex positivity: sexual education, more sex, better sex, etc. What it doesn’t mention, however, is that the deeper a user dives into that fantasy world, the more likely their reality is to become just the opposite. Porn is complicated, the science is simple: the more pornography a person views, the harder it becomes for them to be aroused by a real person or a real relationship. Ditch the shallow counterfeits and put the “sex” back in sexy!

2. It’s like a drug!

On the surface, cocaine and porn don’t seem to have a lot in common but more and more studies are coming out showing that viewing pornography tricks your brain into releasing the same pleasure chemicals as drugs. Much like a drug, when these pleasure chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin pulse through the brain, they help to create new brain pathways that essentially lead the user back to the behavior that triggered the chemical release in the first place, mimicking a drug addiction. Porn is a drug injected through the eyes, and although quitting can feel just as daunting and impossible as quitting a substance, the support out there is making it more possible than ever and the reward will feel just as liberating!

3.  Habits and Addiction Can Escalate

Because of its addictive nature, in order to retain the same level of interest and excitement, an individual usually needs an ever increasing dosage of porn and constantly evolving material. Over time, their appetite pushes them to more hardcore versions just to achieve the same level of arousal. The unshackling feeling that comes from breaking free from addiction before it escalates will empower you to live your life to it’s fullest potential!

4. Improve Behavior 

Sooner or later, users start to find themselves getting aroused by things that used to disgust them or that go against what they think deep down is right. Once they start regularly watching extreme and dangerous sex acts, these porn users are being taught that those behaviors are more normal and common than they actually are. There’s an obvious destructive behavior pattern caused by porn that compromises beliefs, changes ideas and turns relationships sour when pressure is placed on a partner to perform or live up to the standards set by porn. Reversing destructive behavior will happen soon after deciding to cut this hazardous influence from your life.

5. Form Deeper Connections 

The porn industry objectifies people and commoditizes the act of sex. There’s nothing romantic or realistic about porn sex, and it seriously puts a disconnect between the viewer and reality. This makes it hard for them to have an intimate connection with a real person. You’ll only feel complete when you disconnect with porn and connect with real person!

6. Appreciate Your Body

The makeup, surgery, Photoshop and acting that goes into porn gives us an unrealistic view of the human body and sexuality. We start to subconsciously compare ourselves to what we’re seeing, causing overthinking and low self-esteem when it comes time to being intimate. Kicking your porn habit will restore a healthy body image and reinstate the sense confidence that you deserve.

7. Appreciate Those You’re Attracted To

In addition to affecting the way we see ourselves, porn causes us to under-appreciate the opposite sex by training us to see them as sexual objects and not as humans with beautiful and unique features. It’s likely due to the fact that porn promotes a completely fictional version of how people look and behave, and creates a false exciting reality that their partners can never live up to. One of the first positive effects that people report soon after quitting porn is the ability to truly appreciate the beauty of the opposite sex without constantly undressing them in their mind.

8. Prevent Sexual Dysfunction (ED)

This one is for the guys out there. The fact is porn often leads to less sex and less satisfying sex. For a surprising amount of viewers, porn eventually means no sex at all. Regular viewing of porn has been found to affect the brain in such a way that it hinders sexual performance when they get with an actual human being. Porn-induced erectile dysfunction is a real thing in men, a side effect of watching porn that they probably never see coming until it’s too late. The only cure is to quit porn and let their brain “rewire” and return to normal.

9. Stop Supporting Sex Trafficking 

The facts are there: clicking porn directly fuels the demand for sex trafficking. There are a countless victims of human sex trafficking that are forced to have sex on camera. Even in the “legitimate” adult industry, porn stars are frequently victims of violence and drug abuse. There’s no just no way to know the dark origins behind what we’re watching. By refusing to click, you’re refusing to contribute to the demand for sexual exploitation.

10. Porn Promotes Violence Against Women

From making actors participate in unsafe sex to the countless real stories of actresses speaking out about the rape, violence and drugs behind the camera, there is certainly a dark reality to this industry. Porn tries to normalize this exploitation but we’re not buying it. To watch porn is to support a questionable industry that abuses it’s actors in addition to harming those who watch it. Not cool.

11. Porn Can Lead To Violent Behavior

It’s true that not all porn is the same, but the reality is that the majority of even the most mainstream porn is packed full of women being physically and verbally abused—and watching it takes a serious toll on the viewer. Even the non-violent porn portrays a power difference between partners where men are in charge and women are submissive sex objects. But unlike violence in movies where someone gets mad and fights back, research has shown that 95% of the victims of aggression in porn scenes reacted neutral or responded with pleasure. This confuses frequent viewers to believe violence is sexy, and can lead them to hurting women in real life during sex. Unlearning this violent behavior will undoubtedly benefit you, your partner and your sex life.

12. Increase Your Creativity

We believe that in order to be truly creative, you have to connect with deepest most honest parts of yourself. Porn clogs up your imagination with cheap content that disconnects you from feeling real passion and motivation. Once you let explicit images stop distracting you from inspiration, you’ll feel more imaginative than ever! (Read: Why Your Porn Habit Might Be Killing Your Creativity.)

13. Live A More Honest Life

Not every porn viewer lies about their addiction, but most feel ashamed and obligated to hide it. Whether they admit it or not, they know that their partner wouldn’t like the idea of them sexually bonding to a computer screen. When you live a lie for long enough, you start to convince yourself of it as well and the more lies you tell, the harder it becomes to tell the truth about anything. Bring your dirty little secret out into the light and we guarantee you’ll feel more free than ever before.

14. Free Up Some Time

You’ve probably realized by now that porn takes up a lot of your time! Porn viewers spend anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours daily consuming these harmful images. Anyone who frequently watches porn knows that as the years have gone on, they watch harder material for longer periods of time. Think of it this way: if you spent just 10 minutes a day watching porn, that’s over 60 hours at the end of the year you could have spent doing something beneficial to your life! Time is precious; spend it on making memories that last, not on images that disappear with a click.

15. Find Someone Special

In porn, everything from the way people look to how and why they have sex is a lie. Porn viewers often get so obsessed with chasing something that isn’t real that they miss out on actual relationships. Research has even shown that less men are getting married because they feel porn takes care of all their sexual needs. Ditch the lies and go find the the love of your life! They’re waiting for you!

16. Be A Better Partner

Porn doesn’t just affect you, it affects your partner as well. While a great deal of information exists for those suffering from addiction, partners are often left feeling alone with equally real wounds of their own. Partners of porn viewers commonly feel betrayed and neglected when their significant other chooses to share their sexuality with a screen instead of them. When you cut porn from being the third party, you’ll find it easier to build a healthier relationship emotionally and sexually.

17. Become A Better Parent 

The harmful effects of porn don’t always revolve around romantic partners like boyfriends/girlfriends or husbands/wives. There are countless stories, like this one, that show how porn can isolate, consume, and eventually even destroy families. Additionally, children and teens these days  are exposed to hardcore porn at a young age, and many receive their sex-ed from porn which depicts unrealistic portrayals of human sexuality, leading to lifelong issues in the bedroom. Promote healthy displays of affection in your home and promote a porn-free life for your future family.

18. Become A Better Friend

Your porn habit can isolate you from valuable social time with friends and the shame that comes with watching porn can cause you to be distant at social gatherings. When you no longer allow yourself to be a prisoner to this habit, you no longer have to worry about the chains that come with it.

19. Maintain Mental/Emotional Health

Being tied to a consistent porn habit requires you to spend a lot of time alone and can quickly make you uninterested in the every day pleasures of life such as having conversations with real people and being active. Research has shown that frequent porn viewing is connected to mental/emotional health issues such as anxiety and depression. There is a strong victory over these challenges that comes with quitting porn that can be truly liberating.

20. Take Back Control

One in five people who regularly watch porn admit to feeling controlled by their own sexual desires. As a result, many viewers start feeling like something’s wrong with them because they don’t know how to be turned on by a real person. This only leads to watching more porn because it’s the only escape that works. Quitting porn allows you to take back control of your sexual desires and connect with a real person.

21. Don’t Believe the Fantasy

With the exaggerated bodies and rehearsed scenes in porn, viewers can quickly lose perspective on their own natural desires, as well as their partner’s. Unplugging from porn will help you become more in tune with what you and your partner want instead of influencing you to reenact what you’ve seen in porn. Be the author of your own sexuality, not an imitation of something that isn’t even real.

22. Increase Sexual Energy

If you’re watching porn, you’re probably also doing something else that’s giving you a sexual release. Many people deep in their porn habit do this multiple times a day. If you’re too busy venting your sex drive this way, you’re not going to have much interest in real sexual intimacy with a partner. You may have already experienced a lack of drive or the inability to perform with your partner. By quitting porn, you’ll reclaim that natural energy.

23. Increase Overall Energy 

It’s obvious that porn consumes your time and your sexual attention, but do you think about how that doesn’t leave you with energy for much else? A demanding porn habit will definitely drain your body of the mental and physical energy it needs to keep up with the daily hustle of life. By turning off the monitor, you can focus on being productive and making a difference in your life and others.

24. Regain Focus 

People often watch porn as an escape when they become overwhelmed by the daily decisions of life. Quitting porn allows you to assume responsibility and become accountable for your own goals. By getting this distraction out of your life, you can start to focus on the things that really matter to you.

25. Reclaim Self-Confidence

A belief in yourself is a huge casualty of consistent porn viewing. People who feel they are addicted who porn believe they are broken human beings with a damaged capacity to love and feel joy. These negative feelings come from your own negative feelings about porn mixed with your inability to quit, or from any of the negative side effects that go with repeatedly watching porn. By kicking the habit, you begin to be happy, which will fuel your confidence in all aspects of your life.

26. Protect Your Marriage

Addiction to pornography is cited as a major reason couples divorce annually around the world. Whether you are currently married or one day hope to be, it’s a sure bet that porn is a poisonous ingredient in a marriage. When porn is preferred to a healthy sexual relationship with a spouse, the outcome is often a broken home. With a risk as serious as this, it makes sense to remove porn from your life all together and avoid a bunch of issues in marriage.

27. Save Your Money

Porn is a global, $97 billion industry, with $12 billion of that coming from the United States. How much have you spent on it? Even if the answer is nothing, think about it this way: your time spent watching porn could have been spent on either A) making money or B) performing better at work where you could now be making more money. Time is money after all, and by focusing your time on porn you’re being very unproductive to say the least.

28. Maintain Your Natural Sexuality

Porn removes the concept of intimacy from sex. It teaches that sex is about taking selfish pleasure rather than giving love. When you fill your mind with the explicit material porn offers, it takes away the excitement of intimacy and even distorts your sexuality. By kicking the habit, your brain can return to normal and reset your arousal patterns to normal.

29. Protect Your Passions

The more you watch porn, the less you desire the things that previously got you excited. Hanging out with friends, playing sports, making music, etc., all these things lack the “shock factor” that porn gives the brain. Soon, you start to lose interest in anything that doesn’t bring the ultra-arousal of pornography. But not to worry, the sooner you cut out porn, the sooner you can restore a healthy and fulfilling approach to the things you care about most.

30. Prevent Sexual Compulsion/Addiction

Addiction is never a good thing, regardless of what it is. Porn can create a constant need for sex/sexual material that needs to be fueled, but is never truly satisfied. This cycle can quickly grow into an obsession for the viewer, which inhibits their ability to function like a normal person in the company of people, especially the opposite sex, and can also lead to serious harmful behaviors like soliciting prostitutes to act out what they’ve seen in porn. Not making porn a part of your life is a sure way to not step foot down a potentially life changing road.

31. Don’t Bond To A Screen

Oxytocin is commonly called the love hormone or the “bonding chemical” because it plays an important part in intimacy by connecting two people. Because the chemical is naturally released during sex, watching porn triggers the release of oxytocin as well, tricking your brain and essentially bonding you to the computer screen. Keep love real, and don’t take fake.

32. Prevent Anxiety

As talked about earlier, porn can be the onset of a number of different anxiety problems. When viewers feel like they have to be watching porn or can’t stop thinking about it, it creates serious anxiety. Not to mention, this anxiety can transfer over to the bedroom and contribute to porn-induced erectile dysfunction. Anxiety can be extremely crippling and most people experience it to on some level from the daily stresses of life as it is. Why add to it?

33. Prevent Depression

We know that pornography and other addictions are used as self-medicating tools which only lead to feeling worse than before. The momentary escape only leads to feeling lower than before. Porn is a negative influence in your life, and an easy way to start feeling happier and more free is giving it the boot.

34. Live Without Shame

It’s pretty simple: no porn equals no shame. The secrecy surrounding your habit can have huge negative effects on your life and shame can quickly settle in. You may find yourself watching things you find disgusting, but can’t seem to stop. When this feeling starts to take its toll, it usually leads to medicating with more porn. You’re guaranteed to feel relief when you break the chains of this vicious cycle.

35. Increase Productivity

Think about what more motivation could mean for you. Do you want to be more ambitious and driven? Are you wanting to achieve your goals? A survey of a Reddit community called NoFap, which is committed to breaking free from porn, found that 67% of those who quit had an increase in energy levels as well as productivity. Put it to the test for yourself. What are you waiting for?!

36. Be Better At Your Job

Besides the obvious fact that porn is a waste of time, viewing it can also make the viewer depressed and anxious, and make them perform worse at their job. In fact, real stories of people being caught watching porn at work prove that more and more people are putting their jobs at risk by looking at porn during work hours. Don’t let this destructive material ruin the things that matter most for your daily life.

37. Prevent STD’s

Researchers have repeatedly found that people who have seen a significant amount of porn are more likely to start having sex sooner and with more partners, and to engage in riskier kinds of sex, putting them at greater risk of getting sexually transmitted infections.

38. Be Proud of Yourself

By quitting porn, you’re taking a stand against a dangerous, exploitive industry and becoming an advocate for positive personal and social change. This is definitely something you can feel proud of. Change yourself, and change the world.

39. Better the World

Every single click made on a porn site is counted by the greedy companies that make that content. Clicking fuels the demand for more, feeding and growing a dark industry that harms society as a whole. For all of the harmful reasons mentioned above, stop contributing to something that ruins people’s lives and supports sexual exploitation. This negative influence doesn’t have to affect you, your peers or the countless people in the industry who are forced, coerced, and abused behind the camera. Take a stand and be the change you want to see in the world.

40. Love 

This is by far the most important reason to quit porn. Above all, porn can seriously come between you and your partner. It distorts the meaning of love and intimacy. The most common true stories we receive are from partners who lost the love of their life due to a struggle with porn that tore their relationship apart slowly but surely. We all want and need love. It’s the most important thing we can experience in life. If fighting for love isn’t the best reason to stay away from porn, we don’t know what is.

Porn kills love, but it doesn’t have to.

Choose love, not porn.

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You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose – Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go!

Dear child, you need to know that the moment you were placed in our arms, and we breathed in your sweet being, our hopes and dreams skyrocketed for you. Our lives would never be the same because of you. And neither would the world.

You see, you were born into a pretty amazing generation, where things seem to move at warp speed and advances in technology happen every second. At an early age you’ll have the privilege to embrace tools and opportunities that technology gives you. Discover and learn and make your mark on the world. Use these tools to build relationships and love others.

We can’t wait to see the places you’ll go and the things you’ll accomplish. Undoubtedly, technology will have a huge influence on your journey. But it can also threaten your future.

Because of this, we have a few things we want to share with you. Please know that with great technology comes great responsibility. What can be used for good can very easily take you down a path you never intended. So as you grow up in this amazing time, we wish for these things for you.

May you have discernment and courage.

You’ll get mixed up of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. – Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go!

Someday on your journey, you’ll see images that don’t seem right, you don’t understand or are just plain weird. Maybe someone will send you a message that’s crude or hurtful or ask you to look at things that make you feel uncomfortable. It might make you feel scared or uncertain or even ashamed.

Whatever it is, may you have discernment to listen to that little voice inside your head that says, “This is not right.” May you have the courage to overcome any fear or embarrassment and come to us. Talk to us. No matter what. We’re here for you, we love you, and it’s ok. It’s truly ok.

May you be able to recognize true beauty and love.

You’ll know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. – attributed to Dr. Seuss

Reality. It’s something you might struggle with later on, as along the way, you’ll be tempted with images and messages that push an unrealistic, unhealthy, and dangerous dream world of what “real” beauty and “real” love are. It’s easy to fall into this trap, to gravitate and take comfort in these images. We tell you this because we know you will be faced with this challenge. It will be all around you.

You see, if you learn to desire and expect an unattainable idea of perfection and adoration from people who are imperfect and flawed, your relationships will fail.

Dear child, we wish for your relationships to thrive. We pray that you always keep a clear view of what true beauty and real love are, and to experience another’s love someday, untainted. Remember it’s about real people and not pixels.

May you feel protected.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.  – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

As we close this letter to you, we want you to know how much you are loved. And from that love comes our intense desire to protect you. May you always feel that our family and home are a safe haven.

We take seriously our responsibility to protect you from things you’re not ready to handle. You’re growing up in a special time, with the power of technology at your young fingertips. But sometimes it’ll be too much to handle and it’s our responsibility to help you navigate this.

We don’t expect you to know how to make those tough choices—that’s our job. We don’t hold you responsible to know these things—it’s our job to teach you. If we don’t, we are failing you.

We’ll be learning together, which means sometimes you’re not going to like the answers and it will seem unfair. You will not understand at times and that’s ok. This is the part where we ask you to believe us and respect us, even when it’s hard to do.

You’re an amazing kid who will change the world—and we’re not about to let the world change you.

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Sex trafficking: it’s a well-known injustice which affects millions of women and children around the world; whereas porn: a well-known and widely accepted form of “entertainment.”

What’s their connection? Well, let’s take a look at some facts from the experts.

1. Let’s start by defining sex trafficking: according to the Trafficking in Persons Report published by the US Department of State, “When an adult engages in a commercial sex act, such as prostitution, as the result of force, threats of force, fraud, coercion or any combination of such means, that person is a victim of trafficking.” Further, “it’s child sex trafficking when a child (under 18 years of age) is induced to perform a commercial sex act.” In the case of a minor, proving force, fraud or coercion against their pimp is not necessary for the offense to be categorized as human trafficking.

2. Like any commercial enterprise, sex trafficking is a matter of supply, distribution, and demand. Supply: the girls. Distribution: the pimps and brothels. And demand: the johns. Experts are now seeing more and more that pornography fuels the demand by promoting the belief that women are sexual commodities, which is a key belief necessary for sex trafficking to exist.

3. If you watch porn, you are 31% more likely to blame a rape on the victim. Those who watch porn are more likely to believe the victims of sex trafficking, who are being raped, are responsible for their situation.

4. Watching porn is correlated with a 22% increased risk of committing sexual offenses, and this includes being involved in sex trafficking in some way.

5. According to former prostitute turned reformer, Norma Hotaling, “Pornography provides rationalizations for exploiters as to how and why their sexually exploitive behaviors are acceptable. Itnormalizes prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation allowing men to more freely engage in these criminal activities.”

6. When it comes to watching pornography, viewers minds can become very desensitized, which can escalated to new genres, sometimes harder and stranger forms of pornography.

7. Pornography is a training ground for johns. As Victor Malarek comments in his book, The Johns: “The message is clear: if prostitution is the main act, porn is the dress rehearsal.”

8. Police have found that porn can be used and is often used to “groom” children into thinking sex between an adult and child is an acceptable, even enjoyable activity.

9. As for prostituted women, many victims of trafficking say they are shown pornography to demonstrate what the john wants. In fact, 86% of prostituted women say johns have actually shown them pornography in order to illustrate specific acts they want them to perform. More broadly in our culture, women exposed early to porn are shown to (a) be more likely to have rape fantasies, and (b) be more likely to have attitudes that support sexual violence against women.

10. Legal distinctions aside, even if one deems pornography a potentially legitimate business enterprise, the actual recruitment, procurement, or employing of pornographic actors and actresses frequently involves false promises, threats, verbal abuse, and heavy drug use. Going back to the definition of sex trafficking, for regardless of the legalities of the media product, the production of porn in many instances is clearly an example of trafficking in persons.

Laura Lederer, former Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons for the U.S. State Department, says,“Pornography is a brilliant social marketing campaign for commercial sexual exploitation.” Porn is marketing for sex trafficking both directly and indirectly: directly because online and offline hubs for trafficking use pornographic images to draw the buyers, indirectly because of porn’s influence on the culture.

So before we go around pointing our fingers at the pimps or johns responsible for the injustices being done to millions of people around the world through the form of sex trafficking, let’s make changes to our own habits and hearts to stop the demand, because there is a greater connection between porn and sex trafficking than you may initially think.

For more information on this topic, check out the free e-book, “Stop the Demand.

1- U.S. Department of State, “Trafficking in Persons Report 2015,” (accessed January 19, 2016).

2- Ron DeHaas, Luke Gilkerson, Stop the Demand: The Role of Porn in Sex Trafficking, Owosso: Covenant Eyes, 2014.

3- Hearing on Pornography’s Impact on Marriage & the Family: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights, U.S. Senate Hearing: Committee on Judiciary, 109th Cong. Sess. 1 (2005) (statement of Jill C. Manning, M.S., Visiting Social Science Fellow, Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.), 1-3, ManningTST.pdf (accessed April 26, 2014).

4- Hearing on Pornography’s Impact on Marriage & the Family: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights, U.S. Senate Hearing: Committee on Judiciary, 109th Cong. Sess. 1 (2005) (statement of Jill C. Manning, M.S., Visiting Social Science Fellow, Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.), 1-3, ManningTST.pdf (accessed April 26, 2014).

5- L.J. Lederer, “Sex trafficking and illegal pornography — Is there a link?” Enough is Enough, (accessed January 20, 2015).

6- “Johns Acting Out,” Stop Trafficking Demand, (accessed January 20, 2015).

7- Victor Malarek. The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It. (Toronto, Key Porter, 2009), 196.

8- “Training Tool,” Stop Trafficking Demand, (accessed January 20, 2015).

9- Shawn Corne, John Briere, and Lillian Esses, “Women’s attitudes and fantasies about rape as a function of early exposure to pornography,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 7 (1992): 454-461.

10- Ron DeHaas, Luke Gilkerson, Stop the Demand: The Role of Porn in Sex Trafficking, Owosso: Covenant Eyes, 2014.

11- Israel Gaither, Linda Smith, Janice Shaw-Crouse, Thomas Stack, Lisa Thompson, Shelley Luben, Laura Lederer, Patrick Trueman, David Shaheed, David Kuehne, Donna Rice Hughes, Judith Resiman, Mary Anne Layden, Patrick Fagan, William Struthers, and Ron DeHaas, “Porn Has Reshaped Our Culture,” Speech, Convergence Summit, from PureHope, Baltimore, April 17, 2011. (accessed April 26, 2014).

By Bill Perkins

The High Cost of Silence

The pervasive sin of Internet pornography is taking hold in our churches…and most leaders aren’t doing much to address it.

Several years ago I performed the marriage ceremony for a young couple. Both had grown up in Christian homes and done well professionally. She had won the state’s “Best Teacher” award, and he was a successful salesman. They completed six weeks of premarital counseling with me and also met numerous times with a professional therapist. They seemed on course to have a healthy and fulfilling marriage.

But things were not as they appeared.

Six months after their wedding I received a phone call from the bride. “Bill, I just found out Jason is addicted to porn.”

“How did you find out?” I asked.

“I pay the bills and noticed some unexpected credit card charges,” she said. “I asked about them and his explanation made sense. I mean, I wasn’t even suspicious. And then one day I was looking for something on his laptop and out of curiosity, checked his browsing history. What I saw made me sick. I then did some research on the credit card charges and discovered they were to an online company with a bogus name—it’s a porn site, and he has been paying for adult video-chats.”

“Did you ask him about it?”

“I asked,” she said. “Initially, he denied it. But when I started to power up his laptop, he came clean. He admitted he had been hooked on porn since he was a teenager.”

I wish I could tell you their story ended well, but it didn’t. Nor do most of the stories I hear from the men and women who contact me after reading one of my books or hearing me speak. I wish I could say most pastors and church leaders are aware of the extent of the problem and have a system in place to educate, counsel, and protect their parishioners from the growing influence of pornography. But as someone who travels across the United States speaking in all flavors of churches, I don’t believe that’s the case. I suspect if church leaders were more aware of the high cost of porn in the church, they would more aggressively mobilize the resources needed to combat the problem.

Hiding Creates a Greater Problem

When something is forbidden, or banned on grounds of morality, it becomes taboo. Nothing in the church is more taboo than sexual sins.Indeed, the hallmark of Christian virtue is sexual purity. The Bible repeatedly tells us to abstain from sexual immorality and pursue purity (1 Thess. 4:5; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 1:14; 2:11; 1 John 2:16). And so as believers we should set a high biblical standard of sexual purity and condemn sexual sins.

The problem is, when we hammer away on the evils of sexual sins people decide not to talk about them at all. And since it’s not talked about, everyone assumes there is no problem. Or, if there is one, it’s with other people.

Since pastors are expected to live lust-free lives, they also refuse to discuss their personal struggle to remain sexually pure. No wonder—if a pastor admits he’s got a problem with porn, regardless of how limited the problem may be, he could be fired and blackballed.

Moreover, the taboo nature of sexual sins in the church makes them more exciting to commit. While doing research for one of my books on addictive behavior, I conducted a telephone interview with a leading expert in the field of sexual addictions. He told me, “I believe evangelical Christians have a greater tendency to fall into sexual addictions than any other sub-culture in the United States.”

When I asked him why, he said, “Because sexual sins are so taboo in the church people find them more exciting. Once they commit a taboo sexual act, they refuse to tell anyone. Their belief that they have done something bad creates guilt which leads to shame. This shame generates pain which they try to medicate with more sexually taboo activity. The deeper they fall into sexually deviant behavior the more closely they must guard their secret. The longer the behavior continues, the more addictive it becomes, and the more it destroys their core being.”

While just his opinion, he told me this without knowing that I am a Christian who writes from a Christian perspective. His thoughts underline the possibility that churches, by refusing to address the problem of porn in the church, are actually creating an environment that fosters porn addictions.

The Apostle Paul addressed the power of the taboo when he said, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase” (Rom. 5:20, NIV). His statement is certainly true when it comes to sexual purity—just tell someone something is wrong and it suddenly excites the flesh (Rom. 7). And so as the church fights for purity we need to recognize the message we’re sending could be creating a bigger problem.

Does that mean we should lower the moral standard? No, it doesn’t. But it does mean we need to avoid placing sexual sins in a category in which they’re so aberrant that those who commit them are anathema. We need to create a place where all sins can be discussed and dealt with. I don’t mean we should have a weekly meeting where everyone stands and confesses their sexual sins. Rather, we need to create a setting where everyone knows someone in the church with whom they can discuss their struggle. We need to follow the admonition of James and confess our sins rather than hiding them (James 5:16).

Crippled Leaders

I could quote to you statistics about what percentage of surveyed evangelical pastors have visited an Internet porn site in the last month. Or I could quote a statistic which declares how many pastors are porn addicts. But frankly, I haven’t seen a legitimate survey with such information. The ones I’ve seen didn’t provide a large enough sampling to convince me they are reliable.

But I don’t need stats, because I’ve talked with enough pastors to know plenty of them are tainting their souls with Internet porn, as are many lay-leaders. This creates a problem, not just for the pastor and leaders, but for the church as well.

Last year, I received an e-mail from a church leader asking for my advice. He told me someone had spotted porn on the pastor’s computer which resulted in his resignation. The pastor claimed he had visited a site just once. And even though an investigation of the computer by an expert had uncovered only a single image with no evidence of Internet porn surfing, the man had to quit his job.

The church was devastated and serious questions were raised about the sexual morality of the remaining staff members. The pastor couldn’t get another job and may end up stepping away from vocational ministry. In addition to his losses, the reputation of the church was tarnished.

Of course, for a pastor to maintain sexual purity, he needs a band of brothers with whom he can be open and honest. A man who is cultivating those kinds of friendships sets an example for the staff and church to follow. And a pastor who isolates himself and refuses to deal with his struggles with sexual lust, builds a church that does the same thing. In other words, churches follow the example of their leaders.

Porn is an enemy that will infiltrate and destroy churches from the top down, and it will do so without a blink of remorse.

Addicted Women and Teens

According to a May 18, 2010, survey conducted by Today’s Christian Women Online, 34% of their readers admit to intentionally accessing porn. The results of this are staggering. More women are getting involved in cybersex, more women than men convert online conversations into real-life affairs, and more women are accessing porn while at work.

If those stats didn’t get your attention this next one will. According to Family Safe Media, the largest group of viewers of Internet porn is children between ages 12 and 17. In spite of this staggering statistic, most of the Christian parents I speak with deny their kids have or would check out a porn site.

Several years ago I had a speaking engagement at a city-wide men’s breakfast on the East Coast. The point man for the event picked me up at the airport and drove me to my hotel. On the way, he mentioned that an image of a dancing naked woman had appeared on the home page of his desktop computer at home and he didn’t know where it came from or how to get rid of it. I told him somebody probably visited a porn site and it followed them home and decided to stay.

“It wasn’t me,” he said.

“Then it must have been your wife,” I said.

“No way!” he insisted.

“Then it was probably one of your teenage sons.”

At this point he became indignant and assured me his sons never visit porn sites. “They’re Christians who go to a Christian school and attend a strong church,” he said.

Later that night, I had dinner with the man, his wife and another couple. The topic came up and the other couple insisted their three teenagers have never visited an Internet porn site either.

Did these parents know for sure their kids hadn’t visited a porn site? No, they didn’t know for sure. They based their conclusion on the fact that they were all good Christian kids. These two couples are like a lot of believers who think a Christian school and good church serve as a spiritual prophylactic guarding their children from the evils of the world. Unfortunately, by making sexual sins taboo and refusing to talk openly about them, those institutions often have the opposite effect on kids. Those two sets of parents may have been right about their kids. I hope they were. But it’s more likely their children know they’ll be severely punished if they admit such behavior and so they hide it and pretend sexual lust isn’t an issue for them. That keeps everyone happy.

Such misguided thinking is fed by the refusal of most churches to talk openly about the issue of Internet porn. People conclude since nobody else at church has kids or moms who dabble in porn, then it must not be a problem for their family either.

Churches Making a Difference

Fortunately, there are churches in which the pastor and leaders openly admit their struggles with sin. These are the churches that provide counseling and support groups for people to safely discuss and deal with their struggles. They talk about sexual sins just like they do other sins, depriving them of the power they have when they are considered taboo. They offer resources that enable everyone in the church to filter what they can access on the Internet while also providing accountability.

Our strategy to achieve sexual purity has to be like a laser-guided missile. These weapons constantly adapt to the changing terrain as they zero in on their target. Because the moral terrain is constantly changing, we must be adept in adapting as we pursue our target: sexual purity.