by Darrell Young
I had a conversation once with a Christian friend about Internet software that would help us to avoid going to pornographic websites. He made the point that the Holy Spirit gives us everything we need to combat and overcome temptation. I agree with this very much. But then he went on to say, therefore, that we should not use software because it shortchanges the work of the Holy Spirit.
Now we disagree.
Being filled and guided by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit is meant to be the normal reality for Christians. But what if part of the how the Spirit is working is through accountability technology that lets my friend know when I am going to websites I should not go?
Internet porn, its power, its prevalence, and its ease of access are all different now than when I was a kid (in the 70s). Back then viewing porn, for me, was not easy and it was risky. Because of this, it was mostly when I visited certain relatives whose fathers or brothers kept a stash of the stuff that I saw lots of porn.
The technology of our day has changed all of this. It has changed the way young guys (or anybody) get at this material. When someone is “feeding the beast” with Internet porn they are more prone to have their thoughts filled with temptation, to fantasize, to view women as commodities.
Knowing that my accountability partner will be getting a report on my Internet use prevents me from fueling this fire. I still have to guard my heart and keep myself focused on good things. As a fallen human I can go deep into rebellion in the privacy and solitude of my own heart. Programs like Covenant Eyes are not a solution, but they can be a critical part of the help we need. The technology does not change my bent toward dark things, but using modern technological helps to resist modern porn puts me in a more solid place to pursue more healthy spirituality and freedom.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwerfeldein
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Darrell Young is a pastor in Western Canada and the father of four daughters who hopes people see them as people made in the image of God.