What Do I Need to Guard My Heart Against?
One area in my life where I have struggled has been with pornography. I would not call it an addiction, but it has been a part of my life since I was about 7-years old when my friend (also 7-years old) who lived next door to us showed me his dad's stash of magazines. I saw my first nude scene in a movie around the same time, and by 9-years old I had watched a porn movie with my 3rd Grade friends. Fast forward 18 years later, and I was confused and surprised that my newlywed wife was offended and hurt that I would want to keep a stash of Playboy magazines in the house. The pain in her face and voice was enough to get me to throw away my Playboys, but I did not understand her pain right away. By looking at those magazines, I was actually communicating to her that she was not pretty and that I needed some "hot ladies" to look at from time to time. That was the pain I was causing her.
How Do I Guard Myself Against Pornography?
Lifestyle change is not easy, but it is possible. I eventually received Jesus Christ as my Savior, but I still had the temptation of getting my hands on pornography. Years ago, I put into place Internet filters on my home computer and smart phone using a service called Covenant Eyes. My wife has the password for this service. Beyond that, I have two accountability partners, men who receive weekly reports from Covenant Eyes about my Internet activities. If a bad report were to pop up, they are to call me and reel me back in. Any attempt to tamper with or delete the program sends a report to my guardians. I love this program.
It doesn't stop there. I refuse to look at anything that objectifies women, Maxim magazine, FHM, swimsuit models, and even women jogging. Miss America? Haven't seen her in years, but I have watched the 2006 Miss South Carolina flub. Hilarious! Victoria Secret's tv special, never watched it. I even had YouTube blocked on my phone and home computer. Seem extreme? Seem nuts? For the love of my life, totally worth it.
Most importantly, I humbly turn to God for strength, and adopt the mindset that this is always a temptation. In the few times I have slipped up, it has been a time when I proudly boasted either to myself or others that pornography is not an issue. When I lose sight of God, it becomes very easy to gain sight of pornography.
Why So Extreme?
I could do more, like stop using the Internet. There are many reasons to take these measures. First, I want to honor God with my actions, and I want to honor the woman He has placed in my life to be my companion, my equal, and my other half. Second, I want to raise my son to be a man who respects women. I was exposed to pornography at a young age. Third, I want to set the standard high for what my daughter expects in a relationship. Fast forward to the day that I die, and I will be content with the sacrifices I made because they will not have been sacrifices as much as they were tickets to living a life worth living.