This post is dedicated to all the beautiful women who have helped me to be the man I am today; who loved me beyond what their natural eyes could see. Celebrating Women’s History Month.
It started in grade school. Just a peek through supposedly closed eyes into the lurid details of a Hollywood sex scene. No harm right (Wrong!)Boys will be boys. But wait…after several more peeks and several years later friends are bringing magazines to school and I am shocked and seduced into looking at men and women reveal something intended to be private for the public. Not just once but multiple times. My curiosity drove me to look again and again but it provoked no appetite to know the reasons a young woman would bare her body in a magazine for a gawking lust filled strangers to see.
Years after I would struggle with the enticement to view not only women’s bodies but women’s bodies performing as objects for men’s twisted fantasies. And this is the saddest part about porn and what makes it essentially vile and wrong is that it turns a woman into an object. Never in all of those times that pornography lured and enthralled me did I think: this woman on this page…on this screen…is a person. A person with emotions and intellect; joys and fears. And ultimately not only did I dehumanize her but I dehumanized myself. By seeing her as an object I limited my capacity to love. I began to see not just women but all people in terms of what they could give me. In short my ability to connect relationally was seriously short circuited.
Objectifying women is not limited to only the sexual. I realized how much this thought pattern had invaded my mind even more so once I got married. To see my wife as an object-sexual, emotional, domestic-and not as a person is a result of years of emotional detachment and wallowing in a pit of selfishness.
Many times I tried to quit cold turkey and through sheer willpower to resist the temptations to look at porn but there was no breakthrough until one night while reading my bible I realized this: it’s not about resisting temptation as much as it’s about loving your neighbor. Basic stuff right but most of the time this teaching-this mandate from Christ is often excluded from our sexuality. This is how it works in my own life. Every woman I come in contact with (whether offline, on screen, or online) is my neighbor for whom Christ died. Do to others what you want to be done to you. Every woman who is involved in pornography is somebody’s daughter. I know I don’t want people to treat my daughter as a sexual object.
It’s not just about the practice of viewing pornography. It’s about the objectification of women. Both sins of commission because one huge sin of omission: not loving. Basic but it really is about love and love can free you from anything.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40 ESV)
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 ESV)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7, 8 ESV)