Ash Wednesday: Run Away From Pornography!




What is Ash Wednesday?
  
Seriously, nowhere in the Bible is Ash Wednesday mentioned and still lent is mentioned nowhere but if you are familiar with theology and how Bible applies to all sorts of things and lives, you already know that some rituals and cultures are easily derived from the same Bible even when they aren’t clearly stated. Ash Wednesday is simply a day that begins the lent period among Christian circles and denominations.

According to Koonse and Emma (2014), Ash Wednesday occurs 46 days (40 fasting days, if the 6 Sundays, which are not fasting days, are excluded) before Easter. Talking about Easter, this is the day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus (this one is directly argued from the Bible). Considering the above definition of Ash Wednesday, it is easy to predict this year’s Easter Sunday to be on 1st April (46 days from today).
 
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The idea of fasting is derived from the 40 days of fasting that Jesus exercised before being tempted in wilderness (Matthew or Luke chapter 4). The concept of putting on ashes as sign of this abstinence (or repentance), grieving, and suffering with Christ comes from Biblical periods when Christians or Israelites would put on ashes and dust as symbols of repentance and mourning (2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8 and Daniel 9:3).

According to Got questions website, lent is intended to be a time of self-denial, moderation, fasting, and the forsaking of sinful activities and habits. Talking about sinful acts and habits, pornography is one dangerous one. And considering that this year’s Ash Wednesday falls on the same day with valentine’s day, tackling something related to love and relationships is even more relevant.
Pornography as a sin!

Seriously, if you have never watched pornography, I wanna say this; congratulations. Yeah, personally, I have ever watched it, and, yes, not once or twice but slightly more than that on different occasions. Sometimes, I even land on it unexpectedly (in some music videos, films or movies, and during web-browsing). 

Thank God I knew from start that it was dangerous even before I knew it was a sin and so I always avoided it; never had it get into me and never should you. But wait! Today, we are not talking about making sure you don’t get addicted to it, but avoiding it altogether. And why that? Because pornography is a sin!

Shocking Statistics about pornography

By the way, did we define pornography? It is portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal. Some social scholars emphasize that the habit applies more to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself and, considering this new look, it excludes such shows as in sex shows, striptease and much more. Can we say that simply having a sexual scene pop up in a movie or song is not pornography? Probably yes. But that’s open to you for debate!

Statistics show that;

·         Every second, 28,258 users are watching pornography on internet, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography, and 372 people are typing the word “adult’ into search engines. About 40 million American people regularly visit porn sites. 35% of all internet downloads are porn related, 34% of people experience unwanted porn on internet in form of ads, pop up ads, and misdirected links. And about 200,000 Americans are porn addicts (can’t do without it).
(Source:www.webroot.com).

·         47% of American families have pornography as family problem, marital infidelity rate increases by 300% due to pornography, 68% of all divorces involve one member being obsessive with porn sites (webroot.com). porn sites receive more traffic than Netflix, amazon, and twitter combined.

·         Seriously, the statistics concerning pornography in Uganda are hard to find. Everyone keeps saying it’s too much and spreading, especially among youths in schools but none gives out exact figures. And, unfortunately, I am not gonna be different and will just say; pornography is a real threat to our society and as more people enroll to start using internet and social media, the threat becomes even more dangerous. 

·         Recently (in 2014), the government of Uganda started (wrongly started) on the journey to deal with this bad habit whereby about 2.7 billion shillings was injected into the project, and the buying of the porn machine at about 300 million shillings, but I think, just as always, the project is or was another venture for the common theft of funds. Anyway, the truth is; we have serious pornography around and its killing us!

What the Bible says about pornography

I really don’t know if you are among those who still argue that maybe pornography is not a sin. Nevertheless, I thought it very important to share with you what the Bible says about it.
Considering the motives behind pornography (consider our definition), then it is even clear to the non-Christian that pornography entails sexual arousal by getting obsessed or by desiring someone or something other than your wife. And what is that called? What am I talking about? I am asking; what do we call having sex with someone or ‘something’ other than your wife? Infidelity or idolatry.

And what does the Bible say about infidelity? It’s a terrible sin. See this;

“Put to death therefore your members (not people) which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5, American Standard Version). Ephesians 5:4 clearly puts ‘jesting’ (KJV and ASV) among sins that Christians need to avoid. On the sin of jesting, Christian library defines jesting as “language that has doubtful morality to its content”. The NIV Bible version mentions ‘foolish talk or coarse joking’. The NCV Bible version mentions ‘evil jokes’.

While all the above seem to make it as easy as bad, coarse, evil or simply foolish talks, the surprise is that jesting is mentioned in a context that is totally about sexual immorality, fornication, covetousness, and idolatry (see the preceding and proceeding verses 3 and 5 respectively). And so, let me ask; how do you rate or call the words used by porn stars in the pornography content? Evil and enticing to sinful desires.

Pornography works by creating lust and desire within the user and the worst part of the scenario is that these are not being created by a look at your woman but another (and still the worst; another who may not even be real!). Listen to this; “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).

Jesus emphasized that adultery is not only when someone has physical sex with another man’s woman but even when we look at a woman and desire (or wish) to have sex with her (Matthew 5:27-28). Pornography works by creating the illusion or the desire or the imagination that you are actually the guy or the woman having sex with the woman or the man on your screen. And seriously, that is adultery.

Seriously, the evil in pornography is too broad; pornography destroys your life, makes you addictive, affects your family or spouse and your health. Watching pornography is alone a sign of you celebrating what is happening. I mean, you are indirectly endorsing the activity. Pornography is a sin like all other sins and God hates it.

The health or science and social-related damages that have been caused by pornography in our communities are even beyond measure. The statistics I shared above will give you a glimpse of how deep and destructive pornography can be.

Stopping pornography

Stopping pornography, especially for the addicted ones is not easy (consider all other addictions). However, our perspective here is not about overcoming it on your own as a health threat but with God’s help as a sin. And with God, all things are possible. The journey starts with acknowledging that we have been sinning and longing to change. And this means confession and repentance and the walk in the new life.

Got questions suggests some helpful steps;

1.      Confess your sin to God (1 John 1:9)
2.      Ask God to cleanse, renew, and transform your mind (Romans 12:2)
3.      Ask God to fill your mind with things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable
4.      Learn to possess your body in holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)
5.      Understand the proper meaning of sex and rely on your spouse alone to meet that need (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)
6.      Realize that if you walk in the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16)
7.      Take practical steps to reduce exposure to graphic images. These include; pornography blockers on your computer, limit television and video usage, and find another Christian to support and help you on this journey.
8.      And I personally add; you can even professional help in case you can.
More help and essential steps in overcoming pornography and its addiction can be found here, here, here, here and here

Summary

Ash Wednesday is a good opportunity to share Christ’s suffering and the real beginning of fasting period (lent). In this period, the call is not to publicly declare and show that we are fasting (that may actually be evil; Matthew 6:16-18), but to secretly re-visit our lives and seek cleanliness. Yes, it is a period to reduce or eliminate (elimination is the right mission through Christ) evil and increase goodness or fruits of faith (be kind, help others, forgive more, pray and study the word, proclaim the gospel, and so much more). And if you are wondering about what evil to get rid of in this period, I have really named it for you; run away from PORNOGRAPHY!

God bless you

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Nemeyimana Nemvicx Vicent

Born from Uganda, Nemeyimana Vicent (Nemvicx) has become what people call, "coming from nothing to something". Professionally, he is both a nurse and public health officer and currently works with Mulago National Referral Hospital. In 2016, he wedded his wife and great sweetheart, Amulen Winfred (also a professional Midwife and counsellor). Besides their professions, Nemvicx is an inspirational writer, singer, motivational speaker, author of several digital books. He a theologian and blogger at www.nemvicx.com (The Complete You Ministry).

Contact them at thecompletey@gmail.com