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What to Teach Your Children about Pornography

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, What Fathers Should Teach Their Sons About Pornography.

Psalm 119:9-16

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, What Fathers Should Teach Their Sons About Pornography.

This subject is not a happy one, but a needful and pertinent one. My heart is broken; an open sewer has engulfed America. Men and women are being submerged in an ocean of filth. Today you cannot escape hardcore pornography. It assaults us via cable television, movie theaters, magazine racks, and especially the internet.

Parents must teach young people three truths about pornography if they are to escape its soul-killing, conscience-numbing effects.

Dad, it is your privilege and responsibility to do this for your son. Mom, if there is no dad in your son’s life to do it, then you must. And daughters of course must be taught as well.

If you’re a dad, first teach yourself these truths about pornography, and then teach your son, because you cannot teach what you do not know any more than you can come from where you’ve not been.

God spoke a wonderful truth into the lives of young men and women in Psalm 119:9-16. The problem of pornography is addressed right here.

How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips, I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word.

1. First, Teach Your Child the Danger of Pornography

“How can a young man cleanse his way?” Psalm 119:9 asks. “Cleanse” indicates it’s necessary, and the Hebrew word “way” means “a rut, a well-traveled path, a groove.”

That is, we fall into patterns of thought. The devil cuts a track, a groove in our mind. We have a one-track mind, a muddy mind. The Bible tells us that a young person can take an unclean way and have it cleansed. But the very fact that God tells us it needs to be cleansed speaks of great danger.

Studies Prove There are Physical Effects of Pornography

Physically it will affect your mind. This isn’t speculation. It’s actually scientific. We now have studies by neurologists proving the physical effects of pornography on the brain. The habitual use of pornography literally lays down tracks within the brain. Investigate this for yourself in this resource,[1] footnoted with additional sources you can learn from.

There is much information, but consider: What is the basic message of pornography? That sex can be totally disconnected from love, commitment, morality, and responsibility.

Pornography is Psychological Poison

Psychologically, it will affect your mind. Dr. Victor Kline, a clinical psychologist and expert on pornography, has seen four progressive effects on young men and women:

1. The addiction effect. 

When people view pornography, they become addicted, much like an addiction to a narcotic. Getting hooked, they keep coming back.

2. The escalation effect. 

What satisfied the first time causes them to want the same thing, only more deviant, because they don’t get the same kick as they got the first time, again like a narcotic.

3. The desensitization effect. 

What used to shock, what used to be abhorrent, now becomes normal, even incest, brutal rape, or injury to women. Rap songs—a multi-million dollar record industry—talk about brutalizing women. People become desensitized. 

4. The activation effect. 

The outcome is that the pornography viewer begins to act out these fantasies in life. A man comes home after reading pornography and urges his wife, even sometimes to her harm, to participate in sexually deviant behavior or tries to force that deviant behavior on someone else.

Trained police detectives have found that while not everyone who reads pornography is a sexual deviant, every sexual deviant reads pornography.

In one terrible case in the 1980s, the case of Ted Bundy, some may remember that Dr. James Dobson interviewed the infamous serial killer just before his execution. Bundy said, “I take responsibility for the things I’ve done.” But he said, “They were the result of a fantasy life fueled by hardcore pornography and alcohol.” Again, he said he felt the full range of guilt and remorse for what he had done, but that he had compartmentalized it in his brain. He said hard-core pornography guided and shaped what he did. Bundy is only one among many. The role of pornography in cases like this is undeniable.

Pornography Brings Domestic Damage

Tell your son, tell your daughter, what pornography will do to their marriage. God meant the sexual relationship between a husband and wife to be an act of love. But if a man saturates his mind with pictures and stories of rape, torture, and murder in connection with sex, how is that man likely to treat his wife? Any counselor can tell you the heartbreak pornography brings into homes.

Pornography Brings Spiritual Destruction

James 1:14 says, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren."

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

God warns clearly and plainly that your thought life must be cleansed. And it is the Word of God that cleanses. Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).

2. Teach Your Child That They Have a Decision to Make

Note Psalm 119:10:

"With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!"
Deuteronomy 4:29 promises, "...You will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul."

The scourge of today’s church is half-hearted Christianity. You have to make a decision! “I will, I will, I will live clean.” If your child doesn’t make that decision early, firmly and strongly, he will fall. When I was a college boy, I put this motto on my desk: “He who would not fall down ought not to walk in slippery places.”

As a parent you must say, “Son, daughter, you’re going to have to make a decision—a whole-hearted decision.” The apostle James warned,

“A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways” (James 1:8).
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7-8).

Are you double-minded about pornography? If so, you’re not going to make it.

Daniel, a wonderful young man, was taken away captive from his home in Israel to a completely foreign culture: licentious, wicked Babylon. Yet Daniel kept himself undefiled. How did Daniel do it?

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…” (Daniel 1:8).

It’s a decision you must make. Have you “purposed in your heart”? Every young man or woman must purpose with all of their heart, “I wilI, I will be pure! I will!”

But they cannot do this by sheer grit and determination. It’s not enough to show them the danger. Not enough even to resolve, “I will be pure.” They need help!

3. Teach Them the Powerful Help They Have

Tell them they don’t have to fight the battle to remain pure alone. In addition to prayer and loving instruction from their parents, explain to them the powerful help they need comes from the Word of God.

Teach them these verses:

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth... The Lord shall preserve you from all evil. He shall preserve your soul" (Psalm 121:1-2, 7).

Tell them God would never give them a command, then deny them the tools they need to do it. God never sends us into battle without weapons.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds," (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Tell them He has given them the weapons of prayer and the Word of God, and provided them whole armor of God as their protection. (See Ephesians 6:10-18.)

Tell them in Psalm 119:9-11 they’ll find…

…the danger

9 "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word."

…the decision

10"With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!"

…and the dynamic

11 "Your Word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You."

…of this battle for their soul.

Memorize the Word of God

We must have the power of the Word of God. Your protection—and your child’s protection—will be the Word of God (“Your Word I have hidden in my heart...”)

God’s Word must be hidden in your heart, not in your dresser drawer! Do you make it a practice to memorize the Word of God? When you have God’s Word in your heart, you’re going to find yourself thinking God’s thoughts after Him!

God wonderfully made us so that we cannot think of two things at one time. If you’re thinking about what is right, you cannot possibly be thinking about what is wrong. But you cannot be thinking a thought you don’t have, so you must put God’s Word in your heart.

You can choose your thoughts just like you choose your friends. “Whatever things are lovely… meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

The problem in American homes today is not juvenile delinquency, it is dropout parents. It’s time some of you moms and dads got your Bible, sat down with your child, and said, "How can a young man cleanse his way?" May God help us to be men and women of God.

Lord, help us to restore the years that the locusts have eaten. You said, “And when the enemy shall come in like a flood, then shall the Lord lift up a banner against him.” We pray that your banner will be lifted over our homes. In the Name of Jesus, amen.

[1] See “Issues Analysis: The Effects of Pornography on the Male Brain,”published by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention at