About a week ago, I removed the filter from my computer. That means that if I want to, I can watch porn. Throughout most of my life, I’ve struggled with the internet and all the nasty stuff that it provides. Most of the time it’s not really a desire to see the stuff because of its content, but more so because I feel like I’m getting away with something. When I had the filter up and running, I found loopholes and certain keywords that the filter didn’t block and was able to watch what I could through those few words. Eventually, like the baby who figured out how to escape his crib, I figured out how to disable the filter altogether, which opened the door to whatever. And what I realized through it all is that after eight years of struggling with the stuff, I have not made any kind of genuine change.
That’s why I removed the filter.
In a couple weeks, I turn 23. That means I’m a year closer to dating, a year closer to marriage, and a year closer to fathering a son or daughter. This train of thought has actually scared me. Not only are those things going to demand so much of me, but they are going to be a million times more difficult to deal with if I’m still struggling with pornography. Something that crossed my mind a while back was the thought of what will my kids think if they were to walk in on daddy watching naked women on his computer? If I have a son, will he suddenly think that kind of behavior is okay? If I have a daughter, will she think that she has to do those things that I’m watching in order to be loved by a man? Even though I don’t have kids, the thought of having them has stirred a deep desire to change.
And what kind of change would I be making if I still had the filter on my computer, if I was still leaning on my crutches long after the broken leg has healed? At some point during the rehab of the Christian life, we have to walk under own strength.
The filter is helpful, no doubt, but only for a while, like crutches. At the peak of my struggle with the internet, it was oftentimes helpful to have the filter blocking easy-access sites and sending an email to my pastor informing him that I’ve done something I shouldn’t. But not only am I sick and tired of him receiving emails, I’m tired of depending upon the filter to keep me from sinning. Jesus says that adultery, that lust, is something of the heart, something within one’s intent, which means before I even open my web browser, if I’m thinking about watching the stuff, I’ve sinned already.
Therefore I arrive to the ultimate conclusion that the problem I have is not the internet, but with my heart. And while the filter was beneficial by keeping most of the stuff out of my sight and out of my mind, to some extent, I was still giving in to my carnal desires to watch it. And this means that filter or no filter, I sinned before I even looked at the stuff. So why pay $50 for a filter that doesn’t make that internal change?
The damage that I might do to my future wife, to my future kids, to my whole future family might be devastating, at least on the psychological level. Like I said earlier, my son might think that’s just something guys do while my daughter might think that she has to flaunt her body to be loved by a man. And those are heresies I refuse to let them believe.
I wrote a blog sometime ago about the true beauty of a woman and how it is worth fighting for, worth resisting the temptation to watch porn, but I have failed to live up to that belief. For several days in a row I’ll be going strong, but then all of a sudden, if I’m tired or bored or both, which is a very dangerous combination, I’ll open the browser to see what I could get away with. The intent to watch the stuff remained the same. Even though it’s been seven months since that post, I have yet to make that genuine change.
We seem to live and exist with the belief that this life will never end. Heck, that’s why we procrastinate; because doing it tomorrow sounds better than doing it today based on the belief that tomorrow will always be there. But Jesus seems to have thought differently about tomorrow. “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect,” – Matthew 24:44. By being “ready,” I would have to imagine that Jesus is referring to whether or not we’re living Godly lives, if we’re acting as Jesus did here on earth. Refusing to make a genuine change with the urges of my body and the intents of my heart makes me not ready for when Jesus returns. Therefore, I have no better time to make that deep and difficult change than right now.
It is never easy to make a genuine change. Removing a sinful habit from one’s life is like removing a cancer from our soul, a tumor growing within our hearts. It’s an exceedingly delicate and painful procedure, but the good news is that God is the physician of our souls. He knows the human remedies are a bunch of scams and He means to steer us away from them. Like a father instructing his children not to look to their peers for wisdom and guidance, but to the actions of their elders, God steers us towards His wisdom, His law, His love. In that process of following after His ways, and only in that process, is the only possibility of making any kind of true, genuine change.
After our spiritual wounds have healed, our broken legs mended back together, the bandages are removed and the crutches are tossed away because it is now time to rehabilitate and redeem that wound and that broken leg. It’s time, under God’s guidance, to walk on our own strength, to make that internal change by choosing not to sin.