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Even preteens often find themselves caught in the strangling strands of pornography.

When in 1953 Hugh Heffner launched his Playboy magazine, he knew that the nudes and sexually oriented articles he planned to feature would attract a large readership. Described on the cover as “An American Man’s Lifestyle and Entertainment Magazine,” the magazine did lure many to its pages. After that, it did not take long for other similar magazines to follow in Playboy’s successful footsteps. With the explosion of the Internet, this kind of “sexploitation” quickly segued into the pornography now available everywhere.

Pornography is not of the Lord. “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18), we’re told. “All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” Producers of pornographic videos do not care about this. Without restriction, it is now possible for anyone, of any age or gender, to freewheel through the Internet; it takes but the click of a mouse to stray into the full range of sexual deviations that have metastasized throughout the entire realm of human sexuality.

It is estimated that more than 70 percent of North American teens own smartphones. They, and even preteens and adults now often find themselves caught in the strangling strands of pornography or snared by one of its dangerous offshoots, like sexting. They know that what they are doing is wrong; witness how quickly they switch to something innocuous on their smartphone or laptop when they hear someone approaching.

However, knowing something is wrong is just not good enough. Parents must always explain to their children why something is wrong. In the case of pornography, it is wrong because it is reductionistic. By taking sex out of a committed relationship, by separating it from the whole and giving it a disproportionate emphasis, it reduces that wonderful gift of God to meaninglessness. As parents, it is crucial for us to unmask this evil practice to our children and point out to them how sinful producers of pornography attack humans and besmirch Jesus, our Lord.

Someday we will more fully understand the dark forces that lurk behind this and other manifestations of Satan’s power. As Jesus foretold, “There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open” (Luke 8:17).

Until that time may the Lord grant us all the wisdom and the smarts to unmask the lie of pornography.

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