At Least It’s Not Porn

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During college, when I decided to grow a mullet and go to Peru and design my own tattoo, my parents let me. I can imagine them in bed each night reminding each other, “Well, it could be worse. At least he hasn’t pierced his ears.”

For some reason, getting my ears pierced was one of the most extreme things I could do. As long as I didn’t do that, they were happy.

Hair, tattoos, bungee jumping, auditioning for Wipeout. Whatever it was, they could comfort themselves with this: “At least he doesn’t have gauges.”

As long as it wasn’t that extreme, I was good to go.

I find myself saying similar things in regards to lust. Glimpses of nudity and flailing body parts on the screen are OK because, well, it could be worse. It could be porn.

As if God sits in His bedroom, sighing and saying, “Well, at least it’s not porn.”

A recent study by Barna Group found that only one out of every three teens considers viewing porn to be wrong. But research also showed that Christians are more likely to feel uncomfortable about using porn as compared to their unbelieving counterparts. That makes me wonder, do we justify PG-13 and R-rated movies with sex scenes because at least they’re not porn? Are we accepting those scenes because we could be doing worse?

Throughout college, I justified watching sex scenes in movies because “nothing was actually shown” or “everyone else is able to handle it.” I told myself I simply needed to be mature enough to watch what others were watching. I acted like I was a “good Christian” and put my hand over my eyes, but I still peeked through. I kept watching these kinds of movies under the justification that there were a lot more extreme things I could be watching and I was mature enough to handle it.

And the more lax I became on my movie and TV viewing habits, the more I could “handle” the occasional sex scene. It didn’t affect me the same way it used to. I decided it was a sign of growth; my plan was working.

But as I’ve reflected on how I used to think, I’ve become convicted that being able to watch those scenes was never a sign of maturity; it was a sign of desensitization and a way of justifying something I knew was wrong.

Paul is very straightforward when it comes to sexual immorality. In Ephesians 5:3 (NIV) he writes that “there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality” among believers. Not even a hint. The kinds of justifications I’ve been known to make have no room in the language of Paul; sexual scenes that take my mind where it should not go do not fit under the banner of “not even a hint.”

In talking about lust, we cannot mistake desensitization for maturity. We cannot justify our actions through comparison. We must be diligent in righteousness.

God does not say, “At least it’s not porn.”

He says, “Not even a hint.”

Drew BrownDrew Brown knows how to roller skate and loves authenticity and God and life. Read more at drewbrownwrites.com or say hello to him on Twitter @drewbrownwrites.

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