Most of us battling unwanted sexual behaviors teeter between Option A- Resist or Option B-Give In. Which option do you choose?
If you’re wrestling with issues of pornography, lust or masturbation; this episode explores another Option.
Jesus is inviting you to see more, not to see less.
As St. John Paul II put it “there is no dignity when the human dimension is eliminated from the person.”
Let’s unpack the options together to understand them better.
Then, moving towards integrity, let’s pray to see.
First reaction is to look, to indulge. The second reaction is to look away, to avert our eyes in some way.
There’s a problem with both reactions in the moment of temptation
“There is no dignity when the human dimension is eliminated from the person. In short, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.” – St. John Paul II
We need our hearts purified and our eyes opened. Rather than praying to stop your unwanted behavior, pray “Lord I want to see.”
Facebook Group for “Men Who See”
St. John Paul II “There is no dignity when the human dimension is eliminated from the person. In short, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.”
Luke 7 Sinful Woman Anoints Jesus
Jesus asks, “Simon, do you see this woman?”
Luke 18 A Blind Beggar Receives his sight – “When he came near, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8
Matthew 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”
Romans 1 The truth about God is evident all around us in Creation
Genesis 1 God created man and woman in his image
For more on this topic, check our latest article Why Avoiding Lust Can Be a Trap
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
Recently I was with my wife, we were at a at a lake, beautiful place. We got out in a kayak out on the water. It’s just a really, really fun time. But while we were there, actually, as we’re getting ready to leave, my wife had gone to the car and I had returned the kayak and things like that. And as I was walking to our car, I walked by another car where there’s a young woman who was, I guess, getting ready to get in the car. She’s facing away from me, but she took her top off. And I remember just being kind of shocked in the moment that this kind of thing happens to us in different places in our lives, whether it’s we’re online and and all of a sudden, there’s a pop up ad or something else that we come across, or we’re watching a movie or show, or we’re out in the real world and something crosses our path that just it’s attempting situations a difficult situation. So I want to talk today to especially to those who wrestle with ongoing struggles with pornography, or lust, or masturbation, that kind of area of temptation. When it comes to the way that you you see things, most of us have one of two reactions in a situation like that. The first is, is that we indulge, there’s something inside of us that says man, I can’t miss this opportunity. Are you kidding me, this is too good to pass up. And certainly the beauty in front of us. Combined with the the physical feelings that can get stirred up, the sexual feelings get stirred up, certainly are compelling, they draw us towards that situation and does in many ways feel like it’s too good to pass up. So the first reaction is to look to indulge. The second reaction, especially for those of us who are Christians who are really trying to walk with sexual integrity, to honor other people to honor our spouses to honor our marriage vows, etc, etc, is to look away, we you know, we say to ourselves, don’t you know, something like that I was like, don’t look over there, don’t look don’t don’t toe, toe toe toe toe. If we’re online, we’re like, you know, don’t don’t watch this, don’t watch this, we might set up filters and things like that. If it’s in our mind, if the thought the tempting thing is in our mind, what we typically might do is to say, you know, stop thinking about that Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. So the second response is to is to try to look away, to avert our eyes in some ways. And so instead of indulging, we’re resisting, or resisting, this is an understandable kind of back and forth that a lot of us experience. And and I would dare say that most of us who have who have developed a habit of unwanted sexual behavior in our lives, go back and forth between these two, there are times where we resist, or we fight the battle and other times where we give in. And what we want to see over time is that there are fewer and fewer times of giving in, and more and more times of resisting. However, with that said, there’s a problem with both those reactions in the moment of temptation. There’s a problem with both those reactions, either indulging, that’s probably the obvious one for most Christians. Well, that’s a problem because it’s sin. Jesus said, In Matthew five, if you if you lust in your heart after, after someone you’ve already committed adultery with them. So we recognize Okay, that’s the problem there were indulging. But I’m gonna come back to it a little bit later. But there’s also an equal problem or a similar problem, I should say. With the resisting with that don’t look, don’t look, don’t look. You know what the problem is? Because the problem exists, because whether you’re indulging or resisting what I’ve just described to you, there’s a there’s something that you’re doing that the exact same in both situations, or maybe better said, it’s this, there’s something that you’re excluding, or that’s being excluded from the equation in both of those situations. Whether you’re indulging by looking and lusting, or you’re resisting by looking away, and trying not to think about it. What do you what are you excluding in both those situations? Here’s what we’re excluding. When we when we respond in either of those ways. We’re excluding the person, the real person who is in front of us, she or he is not a temptation. He or she is a person, a human being, with a body, a spirit, a soul, mind, feelings, emotions, a family, a past, a future, and the way that we treat them matters on the earth. We’re missing the person. One of my favorite quotes of all time. And this I think just sums it up perfectly is from john paul the second, the late pope john paul the second who the Catholic Church, I think his sense, declared a saint. I don’t know all the details of how that happens, but they revere him significantly. And understandably, he’s just a great mind and wrote some incredible stuff and just contributed so much to us. could say more about that. But he said this, something I’m gonna paraphrase he said, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much, but that it shows too little. Let me repeat that. He said, The problem with pornography is not that it shows too much. But that it shows too little. So rewind for a second. I’m, you know, at that lake, I’m going back to my car, there’s a person who’s facing her car and, and she pulls off her top. And the temptation to look over there to indulge is, is a temptation that is missing the person. It’s just wanting to see body parts. Because what’s the difference between that person before she took her top off and after? There, there is no difference. She is the same human being. Likewise, if all I did in that moment was look away, don’t look dolla dolla dolla, then I would likewise miss this is a human being. Now I’m not saying I should have just looked at her. But I am suggesting that that those the two reactions we have, there’s a pop up on your screen. I remember years ago, I was I was sitting and this is, you know, this is probably at least 1015 years ago, I was sitting at my computer. And this the screen, this pop up came on for screen savers. I don’t even know if they make screen savers anymore. But there’s a part of the came up for screen savers. And they were two images that the the company that made the screensavers were advertising and one was this this cute, cute, cute little puppy dog. And the other was this woman in a in a very scant bikini with a seductive look on her face. So one was a puppy dog. And then one is this woman. And at first my heart started pounding I was you know, that felt this temptation. And I felt that temptation in that moment to click on the on the screensaver that you know, with the picture of the woman on it. That was a temptation. But then in a moment, like the Holy Spirit just kind of opened my eyes and I was like, wait a minute, hold on a second, this company just put out in front of me as a product, a screensaver that they’re basically telling me to choose between a dog and a human person. And they’re inviting me to treat them the same. That what they are, is they’re just something you’re gonna put up on your screen so that you can enjoy, you can indulge, you can treat them ever you want a dog or a human being. And they’re basically telling me to treat them the same. And I remember as I as I, as that thought crossed my mind, like the Holy Spirit directed me to look at the woman’s face. And so I instead of looking away, I looked right in her eyes. And I found myself filled with a sadness for her, filled with a sadness about what’s going on in her life that she is presenting herself in a way in this moment where she’s being equated with just something to be on somebody’s screen. Jesus invites us not to not see somebody, not just to look away, but to grow in our capacity and our virtue and our ability to actually see human beings. That’s what we’re after. That’s the greater goal. That’s a more powerful response to our temptation to last, not to just indulge and not just to, to, to resist by looking away, but by having our hearts transformed. So that increasingly we see people. And once we begin thinking about it through this lens, that what God is inviting us to is to see better, not to stop seeing but to see better. All of a sudden, they’re passages in Scripture that at least for me to start coming alive, they start popping off the page. So one example is is is from Matthew five. So I refer to Matthew five earlier when I said, Jesus says if you lust after someone in your heart, you’ve already committed adultery with them. Earlier in that same chapter, he says, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God well where how I used to read that and go oh, he’s talking about when you know when the kingdom comes, when you know when we die, we’re gonna we’re gonna finally see God. But Jesus doesn’t say that, in that passage. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. I think he is talking about that. But I think he’s also talking about like, God’s handiwork is everywhere. Romans one says that the gods the truth about God, the reality of God is is is evident all around us in creation. And certainly he’s evident in human beings. We read in Genesis, one that God created human beings male and female in his image. And so is it possible that we could grow more and more able to see so that when whether we’re tempted to lust after a man are tempted to lust after a woman, that we would grow, to be able to see a human being who actually images God, something of God’s image coming through in that person, including through their body. Secondly, another another pastor one my favorites. And you may have heard me talk about this before, we know Luke seven, Jesus is invited over to Simon the Pharisees house, he’s sitting there, and this, this immoral woman comes in and she begins to weep at his feet and to wash his feet with her, her tears and to wipe her at his feet with her hair, and she anoint his feet with this with this perfume. And the Scriptures say that Simon, the Pharisees are sitting there is thinking to himself, okay, I was wondering before, whether this guy was really a prophet or not, because he’s certainly getting a lot of a lot of, you know, talk in the town. And now I can see he’s obviously not a prophet, because if you really were a prophet of God, he would know what’s sort of woman This is that she is a center, he would know what sort of woman This is that she is a center. Well, what was Simon seeing, he was probably more in that camp of resist, resist, resist, look away, look away, look away. And what he was expecting of Jesus was that Jesus would pull his feet away from her, that he would maybe rebuke her and send her away. Why? Because she’s a sinner. And how does Jesus respond to Simon and by the way, he’s responding to Simon’s thoughts, not to what Simon says out loud. The scripture saying Luke seven, that Jesus responds, he says to Simon, Simon, do you see this woman? Now there’s more to the story than that he’s here as a parable and talks about forgiveness and love and things like that. But that line, do you see this woman? I think it’s aligned for all of us. So whether you’re a woman or a man who’s tempted to lust after men, or you’re a man or woman tempted to last after women, I would suggest that the voice of God says to us, do you see this person? Do you really see him or her? I think that that spirit of Lord is is speaking that us. There’s also in Luke 18. There’s a blind man who comes to Jesus. And Jesus says to him, What do you want me to do for you? What do you want me to do for you? And the man says, Lord, I want to see, well, that’s a prayer that we can all be praying. If you struggle with lust, if you start with pornography, if you struggle, fantasy, if you start with, with masturbation, might your prayer instead of Lord help me to stop doing this? Or if you pray that might you add to your prayer, Lord, I want to see helped me to see. Now again, looking again, at what Jesus says about about the pure heart who will see God or we need our hearts purified, we need the death and resurrection of Jesus applied to our hearts, we need our hearts kind of plunged into the blood of Christ and raised up to new life, so that we can see, and that what we can see we can respond to. And all of a sudden, when we do this, we find ourselves. Now we’re on holy ground. Now we’re in holy, holy ground. Our goal is to see more not to see less Our goal is to see reality and to see clearly with eyes of love. So many more passages I could get into here, guys. I think about Jesus, when he says the eyes, the lamp of the body, if the eyes clear, the whole body is full of light. I think here of the importance to of where we look, because there are it’s not all innocuous. It’s not all neutral. I mean, when we watch certain movies, or media or pornography, for sure, there’s a story an untrue story being told about that human being those human beings, they leave out key details. That’s the problem that john paul the second was talking about. with pornography, it shows too little, not it shows too little, it needs to show more. But it doesn’t, it shows kind of a one sided clipped version of a human being that hides their humanity, the fullness of who they are. And so part of this journey for me has also been acknowledging before the Lord and confessing Lord, I’ve exposed myself to thinking and to media, and to images that have eclipsed the human person. So I’ve trained my eyes, I’ve trained my eyes, Lord, when I’m seeing a real human being to not see the truth about them. Lord helped me to see helped me to see, I want to walk in holy ground, all my eyes opened, Lord, would you touch our eyes and help us to see it listen to this is the cry of your heart and you want to grow in this. And your man, I would invite you, I’ve actually started a Facebook group called men who see, I’d love you to be involved. I got to get better about posting more on them more frequently. But I’d love it to be a place of just conversation and mutual encouragement for men, where we can explore these things and argue about it and just dialogue about that share successes and victories and failures and prayer requests and things like that. So if you’re on Facebook and your man, we’ll have a link to that in the show notes. But it’s men who see. And whether you’re a man or woman waiting, I just encourage you to keep on this journey. Let’s keep coming back to the podcast, connect with regeneration. We want to become people who are more full alive, that are more whole, and whose eyes are doing what they’re designed to do. Not lusting. But seeing Jesus, like that blind man. We hear your words, what do you want me to do for you? And we respond, Lord, we confess that we have lost with our eyes. We have used our hearts to conceive of people, not as people but as objects or obstacles. Lord, we want to see, open our eyes to see. We ask him now the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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