“And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.” (Mark 7:37)
Sexual immorality is one of the most pervasive and wide-spread sins of this age. In a godless society, possessions and power are the sought after for status. One sinfully desires to possess a beautiful spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend to show off to other people that you were able to attract this kind of “property”. This emphasizes the outside of people, the corruptible part, and dictates that the young are more beautiful than the old and wise.
The objectification of people is a sin, and is the most invisible thing to most people. Magazines glamorize young stars and beauty as being the most sought after thing in society. This creates low self esteem because the majority do not consider themselves to be as beautiful as the person on the cover of a magazine, which leads people to compromise their morals in order to belong. In other words, in order to secure a more attractive boyfriend/girlfriend, insecure people will compromise their morals with sex, alcohol or drugs. Unattractive and insecure people also turn to magazines and videos to pretend that they are performing sexual acts on beautiful people, and their fantasies form the basis of deep sexual immorality.
We live under the rule of the mighty dollar, and money and the devil employ people to display themselves as sexual objects in videos, magazines, billboards, and all forms of media. Even the seemingly innocent use of a man or woman in an ad can be a temptation to adultery because one is encouraged to think that this person is available. The devil is clever, and able to tempt people in a way that seems part of normal reality. The true sin of any age is the toleration of all kinds of perversity because the people who exercise it are rich. The fashion industry, for example, is largely based upon flaunting the sexuality of women.
Though I was very popular and fairly good looking, I turned to voyeurism in my teens, as a way of avoiding acting out my fantasies on real women. Also, I did not want to get a woman pregnant and have to get married and trapped in DeKalb (a small town). Of course, this was a complete lie to myself. Photographs are representations of real people. No matter how much we think that they are separate from us, when we bring these people in the photographs into our imaginations, in one sense, that is, in the sense of our minds, we are “relating” to them as if they were actually in the room with us. The effect of any sin is to separate a person from God, but it also separates the person from other people.
When I was young, access to vile pornography was very difficult, but there are no degrees of sin. The act is the same, no matter what is being done in terms of sexual immorality. Sexual immorality is a surrender of morals and common sense to act out sex acts as a rebellion against the taboos of society. This also degrades all the people who participate, but the perception of men is that it is the woman who is being degraded by the men who are performing these acts upon them. This is extremely illogical, but sin is not logical. Pornography is a billion dollar industry in North America. By far, males are the ones who drive this market, but women who participate are also the ones who help perpetuate it.
One does not have to go to pornography to see the extent of sexual immorality in all media and the culture itself. Current popular TV shows deal with homosexuality (Will and Grace), shallow sexual affairs (Ally McBeal), sex (Sex and the City), and on and on. Jesus said that when we think about having committed adulterly, we are guilty of having committed it. “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). People are not sexually assaulting virgins in the street as in Sodom and Gomorrah, but one cannot avoid the thought that if these shows are popular, the minds of the viewers may be committing acts as vile as the Sodomites.
Sexual immorality has its addicts and mental slaves. Even people addicted to Hollywood stars are part of this culture of sexually immorality addicts. In the Bible, fornication is a vile sin, which involves having sexual relations with someone who is not your spouse. This is very common in our society, and at points in my life before I was saved, I was promiscuous. So-called “free love” was a common concept in the 60’s. Of course, in a Biblical sense, there was nothing free about it. The sexual act is supposed to make you one with your partner, and if you have many partners, are you split into many pieces?
I lived in a house with many unmarried couples (a hippie commune), and there was a lot of switching partners. Also, in Vancouver, where I went to live for two years, there was one party where almost everyone in the room had slept with almost everyone else of the opposite sex in the room. It was the kind of chaos that the devil loves. Relationships were broken, and many people could not talk to other people. The thought that anything was “free” about it is a complete mistake. The relationship between men and women had been terribly cheapened. There was no commitment and no responsibility. Supposedly it was pleasure seeking, but bad feelings between many people existed below the surface and created a lot of guilt. In my own opinion, there is no worse feeling than this type of “guilt”. It is a guilt that is ignorant of sin (because the people don’t acknowledge they have sinned), and feels badly about something that the person cannot even name. I believe that guilt like this is your soul weeping, and it is a warning that the devil owns you. But before one is saved, it is almost impossible to convince someone of this.
In the Bible, one belongs to one’s parents or to one’s spouse, so promiscuity is a betrayal of either your parents or your spouse. This sin devalues the human being and makes one no more than an image or an object with only the function of arousal and submission to sex. It is completely carnal, without any of the spiritual commitments and oneness of marriage. And it draws out the rage of God against this selfish carnality. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
In physical addictions, such as heroin or alcohol, the temptation is always there, but sobriety can remove the effects of the poison over time. In sexual immorality addictions, the images of the acts and pictures of acts or people are in the mind, and become part of long term memories. These images can affect all relationships, including with one’s spouse. This occurs because one has an insatiable lust to acquire and see more pictures, and to increase the collection and the pollution of your brain.
It also occurs because the objectification and degradation of women in your mind drives you crazy in terms of your relationships with real women. It is not unusual for anger and irrational responses to occur because one has let a demon in by all the perverse seeking after sexual immorality. The end effect in a marriage is that it tests every level of trust and mutual respect. The spouse feels totally alienated, and even put down by the need to see the degradation of physically attractive people who your spouse can never come up to.
When I was at my lowest level, an addicted voyeur with a bad attitude, diagnosed with depression, Jesus saved me. He buried the images under a ton of love, and gave me peace for almost the first time in my life. This addiction had been almost life long as a (rebellious) reaction against my mother. It has taken three years for the Lord to heal me and one of the ways that he has done this has been by way of “sleep” therapy: the Lord visiting me in my dreams and cleansing me, and renewing me in a wonderful way. I know it is his work in me and not just “good dreams” that I am experiencing. God is truly good and does “all things well” as it says in his word. (Mark 7:37) I would encourage you all, if you are in a position where your mind has been cluttered with immorality, to ask God to visit you in a wonderful way, because I can certainly say that he will if you ask him (Matthew 7:7).