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Man Unable to Rationalize Pornography

I had a friend some years ago who would simply not let Jesus in, at least not all the way. He was a good Christian by all outward appearances. He was a faithful elder in his church and a devout husband and father. He had a reputation for honesty, courage, and integrity. But he once confided in me that he was conflicted about his use of pornography.

He said he wasn't addicted, and there was no reason not to believe him. He could go weeks without indulging, he said. It didn't affect his relationship with his wife. It didn't interfere with his church work or prayer life. It was to him a little recreational pleasure that he indulged in now and then, especially when he wanted to reward himself after working long and hard for his company or his church.

"I've justified it in my mind a thousand times," he explained, "and I could out-argue anyone who wants to give me all that bull about potential addiction and/or it ruining your marriage. Well, to be frank, it's only made my marriage easier, since I don't pester my wife as often, and yet I don't do porn so much that I don't have any ardor for her when she's ready."

"Still," he concluded, "I feel so unclean."

That didn't make sense to him, since he had so persuasively rationalized his behavior. At first he thought it was just left-over guilt from his fundamentalist upbringing. But he noticed he didn't feel residual guilt about other post-fundamentalist behaviors, such as drinking wine or going to the movies. Still, pornography continued to make him feel "unclean."

I suggested that this feeling might be the prodding of the Spirit. "Why don't you just give it up?"

"I've thought about that," he replied. "But here's the most irrational thing. If God does want me to give it up, I know he wants it because it's ultimately good for me. Yet the thought of giving up porn cold turkey—just stop and no more—that's one of the most frightening things I can imagine right now. And I don't know why."

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