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pornography and Matthew 5: 28

02-12-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet

1_blog_5 The past week, I came across several articles in the Christian press about the phenomenon of pornography. Many Christian men struggle with this a great deal. It is well known that the fixation on sex is nowhere as great as precisely in religious circles, where they try to suppress it. If anywhere it is evident that the law stimulates sin (1Cor.15:56; Rom.7:5,8), it is in the realm of sex. While one tries to keep up an appearance of cleanliness, one practices in secret what the mouth condemns. An adverse role in all of this is played by a persistent misunderstanding of Matthew 5:28. There Jesus says:

Yet I am saying to you that every man looking at a woman to lust for her already commits adultery with her in his heart.

These words are interpreted to mean that those who are stimulated by looking at a random woman or fantasize about it, in his heart is already an adulterer. That seems rather absurd. For how would a boy ever be able to develop sexually, without looking at a girl or a woman and longing to have her as his partner? Is that sinful? Is that what Jesus meant to say in Matt.5:28? No, Jesus’ words are a clarification of Exodus 20:17:

You shall not covet the house of your associate. You shall not covet the wife of your associate, his field, his servant or his maidservant, his bull, his donkey or anything which is your associate’s.

This verse is about wanting to have what belongs to someone else. David had already committed adultery in his heart, when he, from off the roof of his palace, had seen Bathseba bathing. Not because he was stimulated by her nudity. Would it have stayed with that, then there would have been nothing wrong. The evil in David’s heart was that he decided to appropriate Bathseba, while she belonged to another man (see: 2Samuel 11:2,3). Is it not tragic how Christians, all along, have been burdened with guilt and are told to fight against the flesh (read: against their sexual desires)? Hopeless, because this way, they often become ‘damaged’ for life. How different it is when we learn to thank God for everything He has created (1Tim.4:4). Then we do not wrestle against flesh, as is taught in many a church. That is unnatural, because “no one ever hates his own flesh” (Eph.5:29). Our flesh needs guidance, that is true, but that direction can only be effectively given, if we love our body and accept that God has created us with longings and desires. Do not fight against this, but “glorify God with your body!” (1Cor.6:20).