All relationships have their share of ups and downs, but those that are truly toxic can be draining to the soul. By definition, something that is toxic can be described as being poisonous, destructive, unsafe or deadly. It takes something that was once whole and healthy and begins to break it down. This happens subtly at first, but the ill effects start spiraling out of control until death is looming.
For an alcoholic, it may take years to realize the full effects that drinking has taken on one's liver. This is something that I have witnessed myself in the life of a close friend. There was nothing I could do to help this individual, other than to encourage him to find and maintain sobriety.
Even though he made the decision to avoid alcohol, he still had to suffer the consequences of his choices. Waiting for a transplant was gut-wrenching, and many of his organs in turn paid a price for the damage that had been done. While he did end up receiving the transplant, his quality of life was never fully restored.
A Growing Epidemic
In today's society, there is an epidemic growing throughout the world: pornography. People are being subjected to its harmful effects even without fully realizing it.
We, as a society, have become so desensitized to the tentacles of pornography that we fail to recognize it within our everyday lives.
Sexually explicit content can be found literally everywhere. Most television shows and movies include some form of sexual crudeness—even when they're marked suitable for families. We're exposed to it in music, books, magazines at the grocery store checkout and in calendars on display at the local Walmart. Our kids can be exposed by simply misspelling a website address while completing a school project. Have you ever asked your local school what is actually taught during health class in regard to sex? You might be surprised that topics covered seemingly promote sex outside of marriage, free choice including the right to have an abortion, alternatives to intercourse and more.
Choosing to ignore the problem is only giving the pornography industry room to increase in size. We cannot keep our heads buried in the sand and expect the future generations to seemingly "get it right" in a world saturated with the promotion of unhealthy sexuality.
The Numbers Speak for Themselves
Many are reading this article right now and they are oblivious to the toxicity of pornography. But it is vitally important to recognize the negative impact on individuals, marriages, and families if we are going to be driven to take the steps to do something about it.
A study released by Covenant Eyes in 2018 showed that 57 percent of teenagers seek out pornography at least monthly. In comparison, only 21 percent of teens report having someone helping them to avoid pornography.
TruResearch reported in 2012 that only 12 percent of parents are aware that their child is accessing pornography.
Covenant Eyes also reports 79 percent of unwanted exposure to pornography in today's youth takes place within the home.
Dr. Jill Manning, a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in sexual addiction, pornography and betrayal trauma, took her research to the Senate in 2005. It showed that 56 percent of divorce cases involve one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.
According to the 2018 report by Covenant Eyes, 63 percent of men and 36 percent of women have looked at pornography at least one time while at work in the past three months.
Facts & Trends is a division of LifeWay. In November 2018, they reported, "Four in five pastors (80 percent) say they were approached in the past year by a church member or staff dealing with infidelity, and three in four (73 percent) have handled pornography-related questions."
What's more, fewer than one third felt confident that they were qualified to handle these tough topics. Interestingly enough, only 7 percent of churches have a program in place to help those who are struggling with sexual addiction.
Responding With the Antidote
Pastors no longer have to feel ill-equipped to tackle the tough topic of pornography that is crippling their churches. Using the Conquer Series, churches around the world are offering programs for men (and in some cases, women). It is helping them find hope that they can break free from the grip of sexual sin in their lives.
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