Is Looking at Porn a Sin?

This maybe a male-dominated issue; however, with the rise of free online porn, women are also joining the fray. Covenant Eyes did a great study on the issue for those who are interested in statistics. This led me to ask the big question… Is looking at porn a sin?

 

Steven Kuhn II

You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”Matthew 5:27-28
After introducing myself as a believer to my college speech class, I was stopped in the hall by one of my classmates. The nice young man was interested in my faith, but immediately asked me if I believed watching porn was a sin. I answered him saying, “Yes, watching porn is a sin,” but he couldn’t grasp that truth. For my classmate, porn was a part of his everyday life, and he felt that he was incapable of abstaining from that form of entertainment. I believed looking at porn was sexual immorality, and I knew intellectually that if there was immorality in my life that God could free me from it; at the time, though, I was drowning in sexual immorality myself.
An easy answer to “is looking at porn a sin” is “yes,” but there is much to be said about the extreme influence porn has in American culture. Porn stars have successfully reached mainstream celebrity status, and the porn industry is making a bigger impact in teenage and preteen lives than ever before. Video and image porn is readily available 24/7 on our cell phones and tablets, and is easily found in social media applications. Young adults are being encouraged by education systems and the media to freely express their sexuality with very little boundary or restraint. An addiction to porn is also not exclusive to teenage boys; it is an issue with males and females alike. Movies that encourage Godless sexuality without covenant, like Fifty Shades of Grey and Magic Mike, are premiering in major movie theaters and doing big box office numbers.
The church is flooded with Christians that feel incapable of turning from their secret bad habits. I praise God that I no longer struggle with a desire to view porn, but I have great compassion for those that fight the temptation on a regular basis. Breaking an addiction to porn can feel like an insurmountable goal to the tempted.
An addiction to porn is much like Goliath the giant. Goliath went each day before the people of Israel to taunt them, and he cursed their God and spoke death over the people and their futures. Goliath intended to stand in the way of the promises of God for the people of Israel. An addiction can make us feel the way the people of Israel felt–weak and helpless, paralyzed in fear. We have to choose to be David and conquer the giant of addiction through faith in God our Father. It is crucial that followers of Christ turn from sexual immorality. God is holy and we are called to be like Him in our character and personality. We turn from sin for multiple reasons, but the main reason must be that we love God and desire to do what He asks of us.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “You must love the lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”Matthew 22:36-38

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Silas Green

Yes, porn is sin.
Jesus says, “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart”Matthew 5:28
That is pornography’s whole thing: looking at people to lust after them.
One of the common arguments against porn is that it creates a fantasy that real life can never measure up to. But that’s actually backward. The truth is that porn tells a lie, one that distracts you from the thing it can never hope to compete with:
The pleasure of loving God with your entire being.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” – Mark 12:30
That’s everything you are–spirit, soul, and body.
We’re often taught that there’s this big division between spirit and flesh, and we’re forever doomed to struggle with a sin nature that has its claws in our bodies and minds. But what’s really going on is that we are, right now, being conformed to the image of Jesus–our spirits and minds and even our bodies. He is making us whole, and we’re meant to be able to love God with every part of our nature.
Our bodies were created to please God. We are meant to worship God with everything we are and do. This includes sexuality, which was God’s idea in the first place. (The next time someone around you accuses God of being prudish, remind them that He invented the orgasm. He actually thought that this whole crazy sex thing was a good idea.) He created everything to be good, and sexuality is no exception.
The problem with porn is that it twists what God made to be good into something else–something that puts the flesh ahead of the spirit, breaking something inside us that was never meant to be broken. Instead of falling in love, being joined together with someone special in an unbreakable covenant—a private universe of love that no one else can enter, being true to that love and glorifying God in it, and carrying it even into eternity–instead of that glory, what we get is a dull and tarnished thing, dressed up beautifully: the broken image of God on full display, souls bought and sold for far less than they’re worth.
Porn leaves everyone empty. It’s the exact opposite of what Jesus promises:
Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again”John 4:13-14
Consuming porn is like drinking seawater. Yeah, it looks sparkly, but it won’t quench your desire. In fact, it’s poison to you.
And bit by bit, it rewrites you. It changes the way you think until you look at people for what you can get from them instead of what you can give to them. It’s a substitute for love, for joy, even for sexuality, and it leaves you emptier and lonelier and incapable of knowing sex as an act of the spirit the way it was meant to be. It brings the whole glorious thing down into the dust, cuts the wings off human sexuality.
That is sin. “Sin” means “to miss the mark.” And that’s what porn does. It misses the mark of what God meant sex to be–how He meant our fellow human beings to be seen and loved. It misses out on the pleasure God promises at his right hand, and exchanges it for “the pleasures of sin” that last a mere season.
But its effects are entirely healable. We need to know that most of all. No matter if you’ve fallen once, or been addicted for years, there is hope for complete restoration. There is a common illustration many preachers use to talk about the effects of sin. They’ll take a wooden block, pound a bunch of nails into it, and say, “Look, these are your sins.” Then they’ll pull them out, one by one, and say, “This is what Jesus does when he takes your sins away.” Then they’ll show you the block, still covered with the holes and explain that just because you’re forgiven doesn’t mean you don’t have to live with the scars of your sins. Well, if you were healed by a work of psychology or some other natural means, I’d agree. But Jesus doesn’t just heal; he raises the dead. He can take every scar, every empty place left by sin, and fill it. And I promise, when he’s done with you–precious you, his only one–there won’t be a single hollow place left.

Man concentrating on his laptop at night

Wesley Wood

Is looking at porn a sin? For the longest time I did not think so. Then again, I never really thought about it. What is so terrible is that it still plagues me from time to time. It is an addiction, worsened by being a mid-twenties, single, male adult. I have taken some action to counteract it, including adding the Covenant Eyes porn blocker to my own computer and ridding myself of my smart phone. Extreme?
“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”Matthew 5:30
Back when I was a Christian Atheist I would look at porn and think nothing of it. It was just a way to release stress or something to do when bored. No one ever condemned it besides my parents. Church never talked about it and all males did it, as far as I was aware. The two authors above have already laid out why it is wrong. I figured giving you all my own story might make this all more relatable.
Porn was introduced to me way back when I was in 6th grade–early 6th grade, from what I recall. Sure, I had found a girl cute in class, but I had never seen or even thought of porn at that point in school. A kid had brought a magazine from home to the lunch room. I thought it was weird and tried to forget it. I am unsure how much later, but I ended up googling naked women on the home computer. My parents found out and rightfully were freaked out that their 12-year-old son had found this. Mind you, this was in 2001ish, so all of this was a brand new thing to have online porn. I don’t recall having any issues with it again until high school.
In high school, I would get home before anyone else. My mom was off at college, dad at work, and my siblings got off school an hour later. This meant I was home alone, just enough time to jump on a computer. Mind you that the kids’ computer had a blocker and rightfully so. I ended up going on my parent’s computer, not thinking they would find out if I cleared my history. They figured it out. Porn went away again, since it was no longer an option. Until I moved out.
Once I moved out, I would look at it daily. Every single day. Not thinking anything of it. In retrospect, I realize how it caused me to treat women I was romantically interested in differently. They were not equal in my mind. This all came to a head when I was dating this girl for a couple years, and at 23 she busted me. Hard. She revealed how it was a sin and how it was uber disrespectful and actually explained a lot about my actions towards her. She couldn’t trust me because of my actions: the actions I took from looking at porn. In the moment, I did not see this, but in retrospect it is clear. We should have gotten married, but we had to break up due to trust issues. That really sucks to admit. What is sad is–now that I know the truth about porn and its affects–seeing it affect other males. Imagine finding out about the Matrix, but you can’t explain to everyone else that they are in the Matrix, as it would seem nonsensical to them. That is my world.
To sum this all up: porn is a sin. It also affects anyone who looks at it, whether you care to admit it or not. Denying the truth doesn’t make the truth a lie. I do recommend having an accountability partner and a blocker on your phone and computer. Covenant Eyes on the computer is gold, and Net Nanny on smart phones works great.
“The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.” – Revelation 17:4

What do you think? Is looking at porn a sin?

Wesley Wood

Wesley Wood is an aspiring film director. He would love to make GOOD films to help spread God's word and help Christians grow.

3 Comments

  1. MB on May 4, 2015 at 8:47 am

    This is a Christian website that offers free courses and mentoring to help you through addictions, including pornography, self-harm, drug abuse, gambling and mental illness. It has been of great benefit to people close to me.

    http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com

    God bless.

  2. Pierrot on May 1, 2015 at 4:31 am

    This is hard struggle . Porn is an addiction of this new tecnology era. The easily access transform the habit in the drug of more potential than the quimical illegal drugs .
    Honestly i’m still fighting with this curse , even i was accepted the truth of our Lord Christh , The Messiah . This addiction continues from the teenage times until today .
    Some days you win , some times you lose , i want to win definitely and this text is a strong reinforcement for this battle .
    Thank you so much for this and for the brothers that fight against this too , the grace of the Father our stay with all of us .

  3. Mickey on April 30, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Well written written by all contributors. Thank you for addressing this. On the surface it seems like a waste of time to ask the question. I can tell you that the simple examination of Matthew 5:28-30 one can learn a lot about thier habits and how they may or may not be sin. Porn goes directly against these versus. Rather than repeating someone’s contribution I’ll simply add that I personally struggled greatly with pornographic addictions because I hadn’t defined what I was looking at to be porn. This semantic formality of viewing stills of naked women who weren’t having sex but were nude somehow made it past my tollerances. Admittedly, I still felt the Holy Spirit convict me but I continued on. I justified it by saying that I deserved the pleasure since I was staying committed to virginity. Now it’s a stain on my life that nearly ruined my marriage. Only God delivers someone from this kind of addiction. Everyone who’s ever been addicted to anything says “I never thought it could be me.” Only God can deliver us from this.

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