I’m excited to have a guest post from Hugh Houston, pastor and author of Jesus Is Better Than Porn.
Pornography and masturbation almost always walk hand in hand. This was a huge problem for me. I know many people have strong feelings on this subject. It is a controversial subject, even among Christians. As I see it, our primary sex organ is our brain. The excitement begins in my head as I think about my involvement with that person. She is beautiful and I am attracted to her body, thus I become stimulated. According to my understanding of sexuality, this is the only way to reach an orgasm. Therefore, how can I approve of masturbation, if Jesus said it is wrong to look at a woman with the intention to lust after her?
In Matthew 5:28 Jesus said: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
I don’t believe it is wrong to look at a woman and notice she is pretty. But when I look at her with the intention and desire to lust, I have sinned. The only thing I lack is an opportunity to carry out that which my heart wants to do.
From my understanding and my experience, masturbation is impossible without the element of fantasizing and lust, and lust is a sin. Thus masturbation is not something God intended nor something He approves of.
(Let me mention here that “wet dreams” are not something a person intends or plans to do, so I can’t see how these can be considered to be wrong.)
Along this line, C. S. Lewis wrote this in Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis (Vol 3, 758-59):
“For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: send the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity.”
Lewis concludes: “After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of ourselves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.”
I agree with Lewis. Masturbation is unnecessary. It is self-centered. Masturbation brought me temporary pleasure. But as it is a solitary act, masturbation left me feeling empty in the end.
May we see and understand that the Lord provides for all of our needs. We can rely on Him to take care of us in every way. The more we focus on lust, the worse it becomes and the more miserable we will be. Happy is the person who finds their joy in loving God and serving Him as well as their neighbor. Matthew 22:36-40
To learn more about freedom from lust read: Jesus Is Better Than Porn
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