Porn. Secrecy. Ash. By: Shane James O’Neill

HIDING
Watching porn is a very secret activity. It’s one of those things we desperately don’t want people to know we’re doing, and we certainly don’t want them to catch us doing it. There’s a kind of apparent shame in feasting our flesh on the flesh of someone who hasn’t given themselves to us. It’s the:
Height of consumerism.
A virtual rape.
Utter selfishness.
Clicking from person to person, we fill up our lust, taking whomever we want, however we want them, until we’ve satisfied ourselves… At least for a little while.

PROVISION FOR THE FLESH
When I was 15 I kept printed out porn in one of my laundry drawers. I liked looking at it, not even for the sake of acting out. I just liked to look at it.
I came home one day and my parents called me into their room. It was the kind of call that warned me to expect something serious. The kind of call that instantly makes you tense and afraid. I even remember the dark hallway, leading to their room. Their room was bright. As though the lighting itself was waiting to expose something I didn’t want shone.
I hated all of it.
The porn was on the bed. My parents were there, sitting on the bed beside it, with their feet hanging off.
We talked for a while. They were sad and alarmed. They knew they needed to act; they were trying to figure out where I was at.
I remember my dad asking, “Shane do you look at this often?”
“No dad, I just like to have it.”
“Then why, Shane? Why do you like to have it if you don’t use it? What about having it matters if you don’t look at it?”
My response, “I like to keep it, as a provision.”
Weird, right? What kind of 15 year old talks about having porn as a provision? Strikes me now as weird. Especially because I don’t know why I said it. I don’t know why I said that word. Provision.
Later – maybe a few hours, maybe a few days – a Bible passage dropped into my mind.

“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.“ (Romans 13:12-14)

I had been quoting Scripture… At myself!

I was afraid of being seen. Of being exposed. I was keeping provisions for “works of darkness”… “for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

I loved it and just wanted to have it near by. Like food or water, I thought I needed porn on hand to survive.

I was not consuming Jesus, I was consuming something entirely different.

PORN AND ASH

The flesh is such a ravenous thing: Always hungry, the more it eats, the more it grows, the more it wants. As Captain Barbossa said, from Pirates of The Caribbean, after he and his crew took Cortez’s cursed gold and began to spend it:

“The food turned to ash in our mouths, and all the pleasurable company in the world could not slake our lust. We are cursed men.”

Porn offers life, but turns to ash — even as you use it.

THE GOSPEL

You and I deserve to be thrust into the light, exposed as shameful abusers. To be mocked and maligned in our nakedness, before the world.

But Jesus was instead.

He didn’t sacrifice himself to shame you. He sacrificed himself so that he could know you.

He was abused for you. He was mocked for you. He is the only one who is able to sit in your shame and hopelessness with you. He went through the Cross so that he would know your darkness.

Jesus went through the Cross so that He could give you a resurrection.

STOP HIDING

It’s time to stop hiding in darkness. “The night is far gone, the day is at hand.” The food that we consume will continue to turn to ash. Our relationships will continue to be only skin deep. People are more than bags of flesh. It’s time to put on the Lord Jesus Christ — His Cross and Empty Tomb — and steward the image of God in others, instead of exploiting it.

We’re not 15 anymore. Time to grow up and put on Christ.

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Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for ProvenMen Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.

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