I’ve shared my testimony on here before about my previous addiction to pornography and how I was able to break free from it. I can gladly say I am at the best spot right now I have ever been in with this issue. The frustrating part is that viewing pornography is like getting a bad tattoo–even when you’ve moved on, its ugly aftermath remains.
Pornography (and our hyper-sexualized culture in general) conditions men to objectify women. Hold up a piece of paper in one hand a piece of glass used to cover a computer or television in the other…are we meant to have sex with either one of these? Of course not. Yet for most of us men (especially those raised in the Internet age), these have been our training grounds since we were in middle school. It’s no wonder we look at women like they are objects for our consumption.
“Woman = body parts.” Not: woman = human. Any funeral viewing ought to have taught us the truth of our error here. A body really isn’t very impressive in and of itself.
The most frustrating part of all this is that it’s been years since I’ve looked at pornography, and yet my everyday interaction with women is still skewed by this upbringing. Yours likely is too. I did a Bible study on this subject recently with a group of college guys. One of them asked me, “Ok I understand we shouldn’t turn women into objects–that it dehumanizes them–but how do I actually do this when I see an attractive girl walking by on campus–especially one of the many wearing tight clothes and flaunting herself for all to see!”
The truth is, men give more value to an attractive woman. We crack more jokes around them. We smile more. We become flirtatious. Our hearts flutter a bit. I see it all the time, and sadly, I see it in myself when I’m not highly on guard. All of this is rooted in how we’ve been conditioned to turn women into objects. The way to recondition ourselves is multiple-fold:
- First and foremost, there needs to be absolutely zero exposure to more pornography and more lustful images. How will a fire ever go out if wood and gas are continually applied? Read my post on this: Reasons to Stop Looking at Porn…and How to Do It
- Be reminded that when you base someone’s value on their body and disregard everything else, you’ve taken away what makes them human. You have dehumanized them. You have turned them from a human into an object. The more you allow yourself to do this, the more it will take control of the way your brain sees other people.
- Even if a woman wants you to objectify her, don’t cave to her demand. Do not reinforce the lie she is projecting about herself. If you saw someone who thought their existence in life was to be beaten on by others, would you join in when they asked, or would you model to them what they’re living is a lie and that they are worth so much more than that?
- Be reminded that every attractive woman you see is just like your wife, your sister, your mom, your mother-in-law, and your daughter. They are all people with insecurities, quirks, weaknesses, flaws, personalities, and in general who live life! Attractive woman do not appear out of nothingness for you to gawk at, then float back to the land of attractiveness. They aren’t simply pixels on a glass screen or ink on some paper. If you think one is amazing, she’s not. Not like you are thinking of it. She has needs. Needs for intimacy, trust, wholeness, a clean house, a mortgage paid, and lifelong commitment–and if you aren’t her husband, you are not the one to offer her these things.
- (For single guys, I’m not saying to see attractive women like they are your sister–you’d never want to marry your sister! I’m saying don’t base their value solely on their physical attractiveness. This is dehumanizing and sinful. It’s also foolish because you’ll be very sorry later when you realize you’ve based your relationship on all the wrong things. You’ll also be perpetuating the cycle and will continue seeing other women this way long after the sheen has worn off your wife.)
- Be reminded that this isn’t how God sees people. He sees everyone with the same level of value, in His image, not elevating or lowering someone’s value based on their physical appearance.
Men, you were not designed to have sex with pieces of paper, sheets of glass, or any other object. Sex is not a shot of sugar, it’s a part of the full recipe of marriage that includes trust, commitment, and intimacy.
Women are humans, treat them as such.
Women, you are humans, soak in this truth! Be secure in this truth! (And present yourself in this truth…) Billions of dollars are made every day on selling products and services to women they think they need to be valuable. If a woman can turn herself into a doll, more men will find her attractive, and she’ll feel more valuable. She and they will completely disregard what actually makes her human. Casting these things aside, she throws on her costume and mask so that someone, anyone, might approve of her.
Be reminded you are already approved by God. Be reminded that your value comes from being made in His image. That your value runs way deeper than your skin. And that in Jesus, you are made whole and given such incredible worth as a daughter of God that no thumbs-up from a man or from a fashion magazine could even begin to compare to the weight and beauty of God’s authority on who you are.
You don’t need to lose weight.
You don’t need to be prettier.
Men are wrong.
The media is wrong.
The sex industry is wrong.
God is right!
Soak in his love, grace, and mercy.
Psalm 139:13-18 For you (God) created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
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- Ep. 39: Tyler St. Clair (the sequel) on real life church planting in Detroit + the Contend Conference - February 15, 2018
- Looking at porn? Mad about your marriage or singleness? Read the intro to Beyond the Battle here. - February 14, 2018
- What Jesus’s Atoning Sacrifice Means to Me - February 6, 2018