My friend Sam fell into a bad crowd during high school and I sadly saw him transform from a bubbly, happy kid to a constantly doped-up “player,” and I thought the Sam I knew was gone forever. A few years later, after hitting rock bottom and experiencing a massive conversion, Sam was back with that old, familiar glow in his eyes that he seemed to have lost. We talked one day about how his experience with drugs led to a dulling of all his senses and lethargy towards life. I asked him, “What stops you from going back when you feel tempted?” He smiled and told me,
“I like being free.”
The drug-awareness programs of our middle school days seem to have drilled into our generation a general understanding of the dangers and consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. We can spout some stats and maybe even remember the song they taught us in DARE.
But we’re critically behind on raising awareness towards the dangers and consequences of pornography, which is rightly being hailed as “the new drug,” and there’s no shortage of statistics bearing witness to the addictive and destructive nature of porn. Nine out of ten boys will see pornography before they turn eighteen, and the average age of first exposure to pornography is twelve. Well before our brains are fully formed, we’re molding our ideas of sex, relationships, and love on these images and movies, and it will effect our entire lives if we don’t talk about it.
It’s not just a guy issue—it’s a generational issue, because we are all the walking wounded. Every magazine cover, billboard, or commercial that reduces the human person to his or her body alone is distorting our understanding of the human person and hindering our ability to love rightly. Thankfully there are grassroots programs that have risen to stand against the big business that is pornography. Fight the New Drug has some great resources and blogs (and shirts!) to get the message out. Other websites offer accountability software for you and a friend to help each other out; I wrote about my struggle with pornography and offered some tips in an earlier blog. And if you’re not struggling with porn, you probably have a friend who is. Be that person to bring up the conversation and help others
Of course there’s a shameful aspect to the viewing of pornography and this leads to it being kept as a closely held secret, festering in the darkness of our hearts. Ask for help. Your ability to love rightly will be forever hindered if you don’t. Freedom is yours—you just have to fight for it.
Above all, remind yourself of this simple fact that my good friend taught me years ago:
“I like being free.”